Perhaps the biggest mistake for Rolling Stone was trashing the first Led Zeppelin album. When it comes to classic rock, Led Zeppelin is at the top of the list and the album was later listed as No. 29 on the magazine’s Top 500 albums of all time. But at first, they didn’t see the genius of the collaboration.
“I think that what needs to be noted is that the magazine was two years old when this article came out,” said one representative in the Rolling Stone podcast. Basically, a college student reviewed the album and sent in his notes on it. Clearly, Wenner had no idea that this would be a major mistake.
The joke about this mistake was later referenced in Cameron Crowe’s film, Almost Famous, which was the true story of his experience with Rolling Stone. The article was actually a reprint of an article in the writer’s student newspaper. The article essentially tore Jimmy Page and the music to shreds.
The writer even compared the critique to the Yardbirds’ B-sides. A lot of people thought that Led Zeppelin were “hacks.” Ironically, the writer stands by the review to this day and still hates “the Zeppelin.” For whatever reason, the magazine also invited the writer to review the second album.
But, it’s possible the harsh review inspired the band to work harder.