Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti

Art & Culture

An Epic Classic Rock Album & History

Physical Graffitea Carpe City East Village

About Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti

 & why it made the Carpe City list

  • These St. Marks Place twin tenements are best remembered for their place on Led Zeppelin’s sixth studio album, Physical Graffiti.
  • Formed in 1968, Led Zeppelin is considered one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Memorable songs include “Stairway to Heaven,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Kashmir.”
  • The eight-minute “Kashmir” can be found on Physical Graffiti, a double album released in 1975. It’s regarded as one of the group’s most celebrated albums and has sold over 8 million copies in the United States.
  • As to why he chose this spot, cover art designer Peter Corriston said he was looking for un-obstructed buildings that were symmetrical and had unique details. He then came up with the idea to have different sleeves that could be placed under the main cover to see various pop culture figures in the buildings’ windows.
  • The ingenious inner sleeve design earned a Grammy nod for Best Album Package in 1976. Among the featured “tenants” were Neil Armstrong, Elizabeth Taylor and even Robert Plant in drag.
  • Fun fact – The Rolling Stones’ music video for “Waiting on a Friend” off of the Tattoo You album features this very building.  Peter Corriston helped design that cover art as well!
  • Over the years, a few businesses that occupied the buildings have done their best to pay homage to the location. One was a used clothing store with the same name as the album and the other a café, Physical Graffitea, on the ground floor at 96 St. Marks Place.

Carpe City Trivia

Led Zeppelin Video Kashmir (Live at Knebworth 1979) (Official Video)

Who's the man on the stairs?

Looking past the famous faces that adorn the sleeves on the record, you’ll notice a lone, unidentified man sitting on the stoop between the “F” and “I” of “GRAFFITI,” holding what seems to be a dog. Like any other obscure mystery, this has excited fans and online forums alike, with theories buzzing everywhere. Some think he’s the hermit from the Led Zeppelin IV cover who somehow made his way to the city.  Others believe he’s a tenant in one of the buildings, but he’s most likely just drummer John Bonham popping a squat.  A little anticlimactic, that one is.

Rip Off Riffs!

In 2016, the rock ’n’ roll community was in utter disbelief when Led Zeppelin was accused of stealing the opening chords for their perennial hit “Stairway to Heaven.” Allegedly, Jimmy Page lifted the iconic introduction from an obscure ’60s instrumental by the band Spirit. The jury is still out, but really, it wouldn’t be the first case of a classic song being the work of someone else. You’d be surprised just how common it happens.

  • “Dazed and Confused” also by Led Zeppelin borrowed heavily from Jake Holmes’ folk-rock song of the same name.
  • “Come Together’ by the Beatles was taken to court for copyright infringement due to its similarities to Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me.”
  • “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet allegedly stole from Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” Pop candidly admits he and co-writer David Bowie took the riff from popular Motown beats
  • “Surfin’ USA” by the Beach Boys was later given a Chuck Berry songwriting credit after it was unearthed the song was a slight reworking of his track “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
  • “Creep” by Radiohead was inspired by the Hollies’ “The Air I Breathe,” so much so that the band members successfully sued for infringement.
  • “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith was deemed a little too similar to “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty, and Petty was subsequently given a co-writing credit for the smash hit.
  • And lastly, because we know how much you dig Vanilla, “Ice Ice Baby” was a rip off of Queen & Bowie’s “Under Pressure.”

We found some collector’s pieces on Amazon

Physical Graffiti Double LP, Original recording on Amazon

By: Owen Norris

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