In terms of LZ records, this one lands somewhere in the middle of favourites. I was never blown away by it, though there are some great songs, most notably, Kashmir, which would fit in my top five Zeppelin tunes. Clearly, I am on the minority position here:
"Physical Graffiti was the first album to go platinum on advance orders alone. Shortly after its release, all previous Led Zeppelin albums simultaneously re-entered the top-200 album chart.Oddly, this record contains a tune called Houses of the Holy, which does not appear on the eponymous record.
"In March 1975, Billboard magazine's reviewer wrote: "[Physical Graffiti] is a tour de force through a number of musical styles, from straight rock to blues to folky acoustic to orchestral sounds." Similarly, Jim Miller stated in Rolling Stone that the double album was "the band's Tommy, Beggar's Banquet and Sgt. Pepper rolled into one: Physical Graffiti is Led Zeppelin's bid for artistic respectability." Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was less impressed, writing that except for side two, the material often wanders into "wide tracks, misconceived opi, and so forth", and "after a while Robert Plant begins to grate". Reviewing the album for BBC Music in 2007, Chris Jones described it as "a towering monument to the glory of Zeppelin in their high-flying heyday".
"In 1998 Q readers voted Physical Graffiti the 28th-greatest album of all time; in 2000 Q placed it at number 32 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever; and in 2001 the same magazine named it as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time. In 2003, the TV network VH1 named it the 71st-greatest album ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 70 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". The album is also listed in Robert Dimery and Stevie Chick's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2005)." [source]
I have a vivid memory of buying this record. My sister had a few Led Zeppelin records (Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin IV, The Song Remains the Same, In through the Out Door), but she never owned a copy of this one. I wanted to hear it, so I decided to pick it up one day. I carried it with me back to residence.