April 1969: Led Zeppelin’s First U.S. Single Hits Its Chart High

"Good Times, Bad Times"
Photo Credit
Atlantic Records

50 years ago, Led Zeppelin’s first single hit its chart high on the Billboard Hot 100, and as highs go, it was pretty darned low, but... Well, c’mon, let’s keep our expectations in check, shall we? After all, we’re talking about the first single from their first album, and it was released at a point where they’d played less than two dozen shows in America.

All things being equal, the fact that it charted at all is pretty damned impressive.

Read More: January 1969: Led Zeppelin Debuts with "Led Zeppelin"

Produced by Jimmy Page and written by the band as a whole, “Good Times, Bad Times” was the opening track of Led Zeppelin, and let’s face it: it was one hell of a way to introduce the band. Bassist John Paul Jones has said in the past that the riff for the song was among the most difficult to write in his entire career, and Page’s guitar solo was pretty distinctive in its own right, having been achieved by feeding the output from his Fender Telecaster through a Leslie Speaker.
That said, “Good Times, Bad Times” was never favored by the band as a live staple. Indeed, if you go back and check out Led Zeppelin’s set lists over the course of their existence, you’ll see that the song was almost never played in its entirety, instead being melded with “Communication Breakdown.” Still, its placement on the band’s debut album made it a perfect track to serve as the opening number when they performed at the O2 Arena in 2007.

Read More: Paul Stanley of KISS: "Led Zeppelin in '69 was Transformative"

What’s that? You say we never got around to mentioning exactly how high “Good Times, Bad Times” actually got on the chart? Say, you’re right! And we were kind of hoping that you’d forget about that, you little...

Okay, fine: “Good Times, Bad Times” topped out at No. 80 on the Billboard Hot 100, which - truth be told - ain’t all that hot. Still, it’s a song that’s remained a classic rock radio ever since, and the band managed to rise about the single’s low chart placing and go on to become one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

In other words, we’re pretty sure they got over it.

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