In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re highlighting some of our favorite drum tracks of all time.
Led Zeppelin, “Over The Hills And Far Away” (1973)
In my experience, this favorite from Led Zeppelin’s fifth album, Houses Of The Holy, usually garners its praise based on the guitar work of Jimmy Page. The introduction starts with an acoustic melody that goes from a plucky beginning into a real riff, providing crunchy power chords in the choruses and showcasing Page’s six-string and 12-string guitar interplay. Then come those high Robert Plant vocals, as he sings about another great quest or some such. The work of both musicians is commendable here, but for me, it will always remain a buildup to what I’m really waiting for—John Bonham on drums. He announces his arrival with declarative snare hits and cymbal crashes, setting the song on a track that it follows until the end, with John Paul Jones helping to maintain the rhythm as Page and Plant go off on welcomed tangents.
Many times I’ve cued this song up and let the anticipation rise to the 1:27 minute mark before air drumming the fuck out of it, and I never regret the ensuing euphoria. I only wish that drum line could last a bit longer.