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Led Zeppelin’s Top 10 Songs Not Named “Stairway to Heaven”

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10. “What Is and What Should Never Be”

The whole soft-loud-soft gimmick is an old trick that’s still favored by teenage garage rock bands across the globe. But when it works, it really works. “Gigantic”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and “Cut Your Hair” all tickle the spine in the right ways each time as they were originally intended. What separates those examples from “What Is and What Should Never Be” is that Zeppelin’s jam isn’t exactly a sudden punch, but an enjoyable tumble. When fans and critics point out the band’s universal chemistry, they’re usually alluding to moments like the chorus here. The way Bonzo and Jones toss the battle horn to Page and Plant in the chorus, eventually turning the spotlight to each member’s strengths… yeah, not everyone can do that. It should be noted that this was one of the first songs to be credited to Plant, who used the opportunity to lust after his wife’s younger sister. I’d like to say, “We’ve all been there,” but my fiancĂ©e reads this site every day, too. In a word, this one’s “sexy”; in two words, it’s “sexy cool.” –Michael Roffman

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