Miss O’Dell: Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton… by Chris O’Dell and Katherine Ketcham

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s almost like a fantasy book. You are a fan and suddenly you get thrown into the world with The Beatles as friends and co-workers. You move from the Beatles to the Stones, CSNY, Bob Dylan and the list kept growing. 

I will say this… as a Beatle fan, this book gave me insight that I never had before. Chris O’Dell happened to meet Derek Taylor (press officer of the Beatles) in Los Angeles in 1968…she worked for him for a few weeks in LA as a PA. He told her she should come over to London to check out the new company that The Beatles were starting called Apple. He didn’t promise her a job but she took a chance and sold her records and borrowed from her parents to go to London. She was like Alice down the rabbit hole, O’Dell stumbled upon a life even she could not have dreamed of.

She took a chance and went over and that started her career working at The Beatles record company Apple. It took her a few months to get hired full time but after the Beatle’s inner circle knew she could be trusted she was there. She met Paul on her very first day. She said all of them were extremely nice and made her feel welcome. She spent the first few months showing up at the office and making herself useful and securing her place. She was especially close to George as a friend and later Ringo as a little more. 

Chris O'Dell George

After all was said and done…she had 3 songs written about her. Two by Leon Russell called Hummingbird, Pieces Apple Lady, and George Harrison’s Miss O’Dell. She was also the “Mystery Woman” on the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street cover. She was in the Joni Mitchell song “Coyote” with the line He’s got another woman down the hall…the song about Sam Shepard who Chris O’Dell and Joni Mitchell were seeing. She ended up singing on the Hey Jude recording in the final Na Na chorus.

She was one of the first if not the first female tour manager in rock. The tours she worked on were The Rolling Stones, CSNY, Santana, Bob Dylan, Earth Wind and Fire, Jennifer Warnes, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins, Echo and the Bunnymen, ELO, and more.

We also get a glimpse into the personalities of Bob Dylan, Jagger and Richards, CSNY (and the disfunction), Eric Clapton, and more. 

Chris O'Dell's Rockstar Life Revealed

Like all of us through life…she made some cringe-worthy decisions. I’m not trying to play it down but most of the time everything worked out in the end. She was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. She remains close friends with Pattie Harrison, Ringo Starr (her son’s Godfather), and many of her old famous acquaintances.

This is not a kiss-and-tell book and she doesn’t trash people which made me happy. The only person to come out of this book bad at all is Eric Clapton who was admittedly jealous of Pattie and Chris’s friendship. After the Stones tour, she got into drugs really bad but managed to quit them only to start up again. She, later on, became a drug counselor and helped people. 

This book is for more than just Beatle fans…it gives you what life was like on the road in the 1970s. Some of the highlights in the book for me were: 

  • How the Apple Office worked including the Hell’s Angels visitors
  • How even the biggest stars had deep insecurities
  • Bob Dylan forgot his harmonicas before the Isle of Wight concert and Chris O’Dell arrived by helicopter to give them to him.
  • Keith Richards sending her to pick up a “package” in LA in the middle of a tour
  • Reading about David Crosby’s complaints of no “cross ventilation in his hotel room”
  • When Roger Taylor of Queen realized that she was Miss O’Dell from George’s song.
  • Insight into Pattie Boyd and Maureen Starkey who is hardly covered in Beatles books
  • Reading about how Bangledesh started and how George got his musician friends to participate. 
  • Being on the roof during Get Back brief concert

Chris O’Dell: I think being a Beatle became very difficult for them. They had a different set of problems than the Stones and CSN&Y.  They didn’t tour that much, they couldn’t go out of their hotel rooms, and they lived in a bubble. I think breaking up for them, and I can only guess, was a relief and very difficult at the same time.

Chris O’Dell:  It was like being let go in Disneyland. That’s what it felt like. It’s like here are the keys to Disneyland, go and enjoy yourself. And I was constantly aware that I was watching history in the making and that was exciting. So every day had some, or certainly every week, had something, a twist to it that made it really exciting

Chris O’Dell now: I am happily remarried to a wonderful man who supports me and accepts me as I am. My twenty-three-year-old son is amazing and gives me some credibility as a parent! I have a private practice in Tucson, specializing in addiction and mental health counseling.  My two dogs are happy and life is just better than I would have expected. 

Excerpt from the book: On being in a room with Mick and Keith before the 72 tour. 

“Listen to this fucking article in Rolling Stone about Harrison’s Bangladesh concert,” Keith said. He started reading from the article.
“The Concert for Bangladesh is rock reaching for its manhood.” Keith raised an eyebrow. “Under the leadership of George Harrison, a group of rock musicians recognized, in a deliberate, self-conscious, and professional way, that they have responsibilities, and went about dealing with them seriously.”
Keith looked at Mick and then at me. “Do you believe this shit? But wait, it gets better. Harrison is “a man with a sense of his own worth, his own role in the place of things… with a few parallels among his peers.”
“Bollocks.” Keith laughed, tossing the magazine on the coffee table. “What a fucking load of shit.”
I knew that Keith wasn’t really amused. He could be terribly insecure.
What a paradox Keith was- a sweet sensitive soul who wrote songs about needing love to be happy and yet he lived his life as if he couldn’t give a shit about anything.
But at that moment I wasn’t too interested in Keith’s feelings. I sat at the far end of the sofa, my legs and arms crossed, smoking a cigarette and drinking my Scotch and Coke as if it were straight Coke. I was pissed. Sure, I knew they were just being competitive, but I couldn’t stand listening to them make fun of George. I wanted to jump into the conversation and tell them to leave him alone. But what could I do? I worked for the Stones now, not the Beatles. This is weird, I know, and particularly strange in the context of the Stone’s remarkable longevity, but at that moment I had a sinking feeling that I was beginning my climb down the ladder. I’d started at the very top with the Beatles and now I was on the rung below. I found myself thinking at that moment that the Stones were sometimes a little too raw, too raunchy, too negative. I liked their music, and I liked each of them individually, but if I had to choose, the Beatles would win.
“You know,” I said, trying to smile but having a hard time of it,
“George is my friend.”
Mick looked over at me as if he had forgotten I was there. “Oh yeah, Chris, you’re a Beatle person, aren’t you? Sorry about that”
We let it go, then, but after I dropped Mick at his house and headed home through the dark canyons, I felt a sudden, intense longing to see Pattie and George. Mick was right. When it came right down to it, I was a Beatle person.”

Miss O’Dell

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the war
Or the rice
That keeps going astray on its way to Bombay.
That smog that keeps polluting up our shores
Is boring me to tears.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to fear
From the waves
Or the rice
That keeps rolling on right up to my front porch.
The record player’s broken on the floor,
And Ben, he can’t restore it.
Miss O’Dell.

I can tell you
Nothing new
Has happened since I last saw you.

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the hip
Or the dope
Or the cat with most hope to fill the Fillmore.
That pushing, shoving, ringing on my bell
Is not for me tonight.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Favorite Rock Lyrics 2

Everyone seemed to like the first one so I thought I would bring it back. I did list many of the lyrics that you suggested in the comments on the other post…SO… this post was written by all of us…and uh…the ones that actually wrote the songs!

Bob Dylan

Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear, it’s not dark yet but it’s gettin’ there... Bob Dylan

Rolling Stones

The sunshine bores the daylights out of me…Rolling Stones

Who

I asked Bobby Dylan, I asked The Beatles, I asked Timothy Leary, but he couldn’t help me either, they called me the Seeker…The Who

Grateful Dead

Cows are giving kerosene, the kid can’t read at seventeen, the words he knows are all obscene, but it’s alright… The Grateful Dead

band

You take what you need and you leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best… The Band

Trogg

Wild thing you make my heart sing you make everything groovy… The Troggs

Springsteen

There were ghosts in the eyes of all the boys you sent away… Bruce Springsteen

ACDC

Rich man, poor man, beggar man thief you ain’t got a hope in hell, that’s my belief… ACDC

Beatles - Rocky Raccoon

The farther one travels the less one knows the less one really knows …The Beatles

Leonard Cohen

My friends are gone and my hair is grey I ache in places I used to play …Leonard Cohen

John Lennon

Whatever gets you through the night … John Lennon

Replacements

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung …The Replacements

Led Zeppelin 1976

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face and stars fill my dream I’m a traveler of both time and space… Led Zeppelin

Kinks

Girls will be boys and boys will be girls, It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world, except for Lola La-la-la-la LolaThe Kinks

Queen

She keeps her Moet et Chandon in her pretty cabinet “Let them eat cake”, she says just like Marie AntoinetteQueen

van morrison almost independence day

Shammy cleaning all the windows singing songs about Edith Piaf’s soul… Van

neil young after the goldrush

You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon… Neil Young

Simon and Garfunkel concert Ohio University 10-29-1968

Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again…Simon and Garfunkel

Led Zeppelin: The Biography …by Bob Spitz

This is the second Led Zeppelin book I’ve reviewed in a row…hope you are not getting too tired of it. I’m moving on to something else with my next book.

This is a good book about Led Zeppelin by Bob Spitz. This book surprised me when I read it. The reason is that Spitz wrote a biography of the Beatles that felt uninspired with no new info…I was thinking this one might be the same. Well, I was wrong…this book is the best book I’ve read on Led Zeppelin and that includes Hammer of the Gods and others.

The book uncovered things I didn’t know and gave a different point of view on instances that happened. There are constants about the band that run through every book about them. John Paul Jones was the constant professional and multi-instrumentalist of the band. John Bonham was an incredible drummer but could flash in a violent rage at any minute. Robert Plant the optimistic never say die singer who would change after his family’s bad car accident. Jimmy Page was the absolute leader of the band until he couldn’t function in that role because of the different chemicals he was taking.

Below is a Swan Song band Detective with a weary Jimmy Page asleep on the couch behind them.

Detective Band
Detective… A Swan Song band with Jimmy Page fast asleep at the photo session.

One thing that was known about the band is that they had an inferiority complex about The Rolling Stones. This is explored more in this book. They couldn’t understand why the press and celebrities hung out and liked the Stones and not them… although Zeppelin outsold them. The answer to that was pretty obvious…other bands such as The Who could shrug off bad reviews and go on…Led Zeppelin would call the critics out from the stage. The press was also threatened by manager Peter Grant and touring manager Richard Cole to give good reviews. Zeppelin also barred the press for years…so it wasn’t a big mystery here except to them.

On the 1977 tour the press was given some rules by the band:

  1. Never talk to anyone in the band unless they first talk to you.
  2. Do not make any sort of eye contact with John Bonham. This is for your own safety.
  3. Do not talk to Peter Grant or Richard Cole – for any reason.
  4. Keep your cassette player turned off at all times unless conducting an interview.
  5. Never ask questions about anything other than music.
  6. Most importantly, understand this – the band will read what is written about them. The band does not like the press nor do they trust them.

Hmmm….wonder why they weren’t as liked as much as the Rolling Stones by the press and public? They also became more separated from their audience in the later 70s.

The book also focuses on their vanity label Swan Song. Drugs had taken over by that time and no artists were really cared for except Bad Company who was hot right out of the gate. Any questions from a Swan Song artist would fall on deaf ears because no one was really running the label. By this time, Grant carried a bag of cocaine and dipped it out with a bowie knife. He stayed secluded at his mansion surrounded by his security cameras… like in a scene out of Scarface.

The band was the top band in the world but in 1975 it all changed with Robert Plant’s car accident that left him recouping for months while his wife was hurt more seriously. In 1977 a guard that worked for Bill Graham stopped a kid from getting a Led Zeppelin sign off their door…all hell broke loose. That was Peter Grant’s son. Grant rounded up his “security” people and beat the guard and they almost popped his eye out.  After that happened they played what was to be their last show in America. A few days later Robert Plant’s son Karac died of a respiratory virus.

All in all, it was a good book and I would recommend it to any rock fan. I am a fan of the band, especially the albums between Led Zeppelin III and Physical Graffiti. I wasn’t a big fan of the bombastic blues songs as much as the light-heavy moments. The book tells you how management built walls around them while being surrounded by violence, threats, and later on drugs.

Favorite Rock Lyrics

Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.

The Who | Music legends, Music pics, Rock and roll

Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)

What isn't shown in The Beatles: Get Back — Class A drugs, Yoko baiting and  the dodgy accountant | Times2 | The Times

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles

Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Frank Sinatra - Rolling Stone

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb

How Peter Gabriel Conquered the World With 'So'

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.

Grateful Dead - Wikipedia

Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead

Revolutions: Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" - YouTube

I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well… Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash photographer reveals truth behind San Quentin Prison shot

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash

Bruce Springsteen – The Highlight Reel (1973-1975) – Pretty In Sync.

We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen

Why Hank Williams Won't Be Reinstated in the Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.

The Band Shares Previously-Unreleased "The Weight" From Royal Albert Hall,  1971 [Listen]

I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band

lynyrd skynyrd - one more time

I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet

Bob Dylan

She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan

Bob Seger

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger

TW

In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys

Ricky Nelson

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson

Kinks

Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks

Johnny Burnette Trio – Train Kept A Rollin’

Grease your hair and get the leather jacket…this will be a 1950s weekend at powerpop. I wanted to start it off with a bang. Power Pop Friday will return next week. I know some will see the post and go to the Zeppelin or Aerosmith versions automatically but this version is just as nasty in many ways.

I first heard this song by The Yardbirds and then by Aerosmith. The song was rollin’ in the 50s as well with this Johnny Burnette take of it. I’ve never heard a version that sounded bad. It’s like Johnny B Goode…a rock and roll classic.

Paul Burlison, the Trio’s lead guitarist, had dropped his amp and knocked one of its vacuum tubes loose. When he played through it, he found that his guitar made a new, menacing sound, fuzzy and distorted, and though he repaired the amp, he started deliberately loosening his tube to recreate the sound. That is where the tone started with this song. The song failed to chart.

The song was written by Tiny Bradshaw, Howard Kay, and Lois Mann, it was originally performed by Tiny Bradshaw’s Big Band in 1951. Johnny Burnette recorded a rock version in 1956, and The Yardbirds popularized the song with their rendition in 1965.

Aerosmith covered it in 1974, often playing the song as their encore in their early years. In the ’60s, Steven Tyler was on the same bill as The Yardbirds for some early shows before Zeppelin.

It was the first song Zeppelin played at their first rehearsal in Soho, their performance of it at the Texas International Pop Festival in 1969 was captured on tape and they were still playing it on their final tour.

On August 14, 1964, Burnette’s unlit fishing boat was struck by an unaware cabin cruiser in Clear Lake, California. The impact threw him off the boat, and he drowned. He had a son named Rocky Burnette who had a hit in 1980 with Tired of Toein the Line.

Watch for Bettie Page in this one!

Train Kept A Rollin’

I caught a trainI met a dameShe was a hipsterAnd a real gone dameShe was prettyFrom New York CityAnd we trucked on down that old fair laneWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

Get along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayGet along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

Well, the train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-movin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

We made a stopIn AlbuquerqueShe must’ve thoughtThat I was a real gone jerkWe got off the train at El PasoOur lovin was so good, JackI couldn’t let her goGet alongWell, I just couldn’t let her go

Get along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayGet along, creepy little womanGet along, well, be on your wayWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go

The train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longThe train kept a-rollin all night longWith a heave and a hoWell, I just couldn’t let her go-oh-oh

Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin… by C. M. Kushins

The book has a forward by Dave Grohl. I liked the book, it keeps you interested and doesn’t slow up. It’s a look at seventies rock and roll and it will make you realize how much has changed now…not only in music but in the real world.

I’ve always thought Led Zeppelin had a dark cloud that followed them..reading this book reaffirms that feeling. I always admired John Bonham as a drummer. I think Moon and Bonham were the best drummers of the seventies and I would pick them as my top two favorites of all time. They both were different from each but had a feel like no other. They didn’t have the precision of Ginger Baker or Neil Peart but they changed their band’s sound completely.

The book goes over Bonham’s early influences like Gene Krupa. One of his first rock drummer influences was Keith Moon because of how Keith pushed the drums to the forefront. Bonham also liked Ginger Baker and would go see him in his band Air Force.

The author does focus on Bonham but you get a Led Zeppelin bio with it also. It’s a good book and I did learn a lot about him and the band that I didn’t know. Plant and Bonham were from the rural  Midlands, a major difference from London studio pros like Page and Jones. It was an interesting mix.

It seems like Plant and John Paul Jones were a little more down to earth as people and didn’t get caught up long-term with drink and hard drugs that Bonham and Page did. This also states what other books say…Bonham didn’t like being away from his family and was two different people on tour. He would be fine until liquor was added…then he would turn into The Beast.

One reporter describing Bonzo said: “Loathsome…Keith Moon with all of the dynamite and none of the charm.” There are many stories about him but not many are too humorous. He once drank two bottles of champagne on a flight…went to sleep in first class. When the stewardess served dinner, the other passengers begged her not to wake John up. When John woke up…he realized he urinated on himself and called for his drum tech Mick Hinton who was in coach…Hinton gave him some more pants and Bonham then instructed Hinton to take his wet seat in first class while Bonham went to coach in Hinton’s dry seat.

Peter Grant and the rest of the band sometimes got two rooms each in hotels. One as a decoy so Bonham couldn’t find them at 3 in the morning in a drunken rage. He did seem to be a good father and husband though but just didn’t like being away from his home.

One funny story happened when John took his son Jason to see The Police. Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers were really polite and excited to meet Bonham…Sting, being cocky and pretentious was very distant and cool.  Bonham accidentally  stepped on Sting’s foot and Sting said “Hey man, don’t step on my blue suede shoes.” Bonham looked at him and said “I’ll step on your fu**ing head in a minute.”

I would recommend this book to any Led Zeppelin fan. The author does go into his drum technique for any drummers out there and what size kits he used. We all know how this story ends but it shouldn’t have ended that way. In 1980 Led Zeppelin was mounting a comeback and was rehearsing for their first American tour since 1977. Bonham arrived at the first rehearsal and had been on a drinking binge.

Bonham died after drinking what amounted to 40 shots of Vodka in a 24-hour period.

John Paul Jones:  “Benje and I found him. It was like,  let’s go up and look at Bonzo, see how he is. We tried to wake him up… It was terrible. Then I had to tell the other two… I had to break the news to Jimmy and Robert. It made me feel very angry – at the waste of him… I can’t say he was in good shape, because he wasn’t. There were some good moments during the last rehearsals … but then he started on the vodka.” 

Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song

I’m currently reading a book about John Bonham called Beast: John Bonham and the Rise of Led Zeppelin. So it’s possible you may see another Zeppelin post soon. This song starts like a herd of Vikings coming to pillage your town.

This song was on Led Zeppelin III released in 1970. At the time it was not immediately loved like the first two albums. One reason is that it wasn’t as bombastic as the other two. It mixed in some acoustic numbers along with harder numbers. This album paved the way for their future of mixing light and heavy together that they would master on Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy.

In the Immigrant song…the band played Iceland and Robert got the idea from there. The line “The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands” would stick with them as The Hammer Of The Gods was a line to describe them as well as a book by Stephan Davis about the band. Plant’s love of history played into the lyric, as he was thinking about explorers like Marco Polo and how they must have felt in their travels.

Led Zeppelin would open their concerts with this song for a couple of years. Zeppelin is hugely popular now with fans and critics alike but it took a while for the critics to be interested. Many didn’t like the fact that they made it so fast and the huge amount of money they were making. Rolling Stone Magazine ran many critical articles about them…accusing the band of hype.

This song was released as a single in some markets. A rare thing in Zeppelin’s world. It peaked at #16 on the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #4 in New Zealand. It was not released as a single in the UK. The band didn’t want any singles released but Atlantic did occasionally much to the band’s frustration.

This song was written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Zeppelin has been singled out for being one of the first bands in “Heavy Metal.” Page does not like that tag. “I’m not really sure where we got that tag, there’s no denying that the elements of what became known as heavy metal is definitely there within Led Zeppelin. But the reality of it is that this is riff music, and riff music goes back to the blues — the electric blues of the ’50s and what was going on down there in Chicago.”

He even refused to be interviewed on “That Metal Show” because…guess why? Because it was called “That Metal Show” so he refused because of the word Metal. The host of the show was Eddie Trunk and he said: “He refuses to do anything with the word ‘metal’ in it. Now, ‘That Metal Show’ was way beyond metal, as anybody who watched it knew. We did all kinds of stuff, but he wouldn’t, he wasn’t having it. It was crazy.”

Robert Plant: “We weren’t being pompous. We did come from the land of the ice and snow. We were guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be canceled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal. The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. ‘Immigrant Song’ was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different.”

Immigrant Song

Ah-ah, ah
Ah-ah, ah

We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow

The hammer of the gods
Will drive our ships to new lands
To fight the horde and sing and cry
Valhalla, I am coming

On we sweep with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the western shore

Ah-ah, ah
Ah-ah, ah

We come from the land of the ice and snow
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow

How soft your fields so green
Can whisper tales of gore
Of how we calmed the tides of war
We are your overlords

On we sweep with threshing oar
Our only goal will be the western shore

So now you’d better stop
And rebuild all your ruins
For peace and trust can win the day
Despite of all your losing

Ooh ooh ooh, ooh ooh ooh
Ahh ah, ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh, ooh ooh ooh

Led Zeppelin – Nobody’s Fault but Mine 

This is a great Zeppelin song off of my least favorite Led Zeppelin album…Presence. The making of this album began after the first real setback happened to the band. It was the first one of many that were about to come.

This song was inspired by American Blues singer Blind Willie Johnson, who played in the 1920s. Plant and Page took credit for the song on the album.

After Physica Graffiti the band was on top of the world until Maureen Plant, wife of Robert Plant, was driving a rented Austin Mini, Robert beside her in the passenger seat, their three-year-old son Karac and six-year-old daughter Carmen in the back seat, along with their friend Scarlet, the four-year-old daughter of Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page were driving on a Greek island of Rhodes. The car Maureen Plant was driving skidded and spun off the road, nose-diving over a precipice and into a tree. When Robert had landed on top of Maureen, the impact shattered his right ankle and elbow and snapped several bones in his right leg.

Maureen had suffered a fractured skull and broke her pelvis and leg. Karac had also broken a leg, while Carmen had broken her wrist. Scarlet was the only one to escape with just a few cuts and bruises.

The American tour was called off while Robert and his family healed. With the band’s touring plans put on indefinite hold, it was decided to get to work on the next Zeppelin album. Plant, his wheelchair, and crutches were traveling to Los Angeles, where Page was waiting for him in a beach house in Malibu Colony. Plant started to feel that Page and manager Peter Grant were insensitive to him and his family, only thinking about Led Zeppelin’s future.

Most of the writing for this album was finished before John Paul Jones and John Bonham got there. Jones doesn’t look back on this album with much enthusiasm…he said he learned about baseball at that point because he would watch it with all of the downtimes. He picked a great one to watch…the 1975 World Series with the Red Sox and the Reds.

After this album, they would start a US tour in 1977…only to be stopped because of Robert Plant’s 5-year-old son (Karac Plant) dying. This almost destroyed the band…not to mention Plant and his wife. After Karac died of a stomach virus, Robert had more say in the band. What was once a Jimmy Page controlled band became more slanted toward Plant. This was apparent on their last album In Through The Out Door before John Bonham died in 1980 and the band was over.

The album was released in 1976 and was #1 on the Billboard Charts, #1 in the UK, and #16 in Canada. It did well in the charts but didn’t sell as well as their other albums.

John Paul Jones:  “It became apparent that Robert and I seemed to keep a different time sequence to Jimmy. We just couldn’t find him. I drove into SIR Studios every night and waited and waited… I learned all about baseball during that period, as the World Series was on and there was not much else to do but watch it. I just sort of went along with it all, the main memory of that album is pushing Robert around in the wheelchair from beer stand to beer stand. We had a laugh, I suppose, but I didn’t enjoy the sessions, really. I just tagged along with that one.”

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

Oh, nobody’s fault but mine
Nobody’s fault but mine
Trying to save my soul tonight

Oh, it’s nobody’s fault but mine

Devil. He taught me to roll
Devil. He taught me to roll
How to roll the lot you like

Nobody’s fault but mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Brother. He showed me the gong
Brother. He showed me the ding dong ding dong
How to kick that gong to light

Oh, it’s nobody’s fault but mine

Got a monkey on my back
M-m-m-m-monkey on my back, back, back, back
Gonna change my ways tonight

Nobody’s fault but mine

How to kick that gong to light
N-n-n-n-n-no, nobody’s fault

Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er

I know some Zeppelin fans who hate this song with a passion. For me it showed the band had a sense of humor instead of just glowing red eyes, naked children climbing rocks, and symbols that looked like ZoSo.  Jimmy Page had an interest in the occult and Robert Plant often wrote mystical spiritual lyrics…so this one comes out of the blue.

Is this Led Zeppelin’s best song? No, not even in their top 50 but a fun romp through reggae or their version of it anyway.

I bought the single at a yard sale when I was around 10 and there was something wrong with it. On one side “The Crunge” was printed and on the other…D’yer Mak’er was there. The only problem was that the labels were reversed. This was before I knew anything about Led Zeppelin. For years I thought D’yer Mak’er WAS called The Crunge and the opposite. It was not until later when I got the album Houses of the Holy that I found out. I then thought they had the album listing wrong. I wish I still had that single!

The song was one of the few singles released by the band in America. They never released a single in the UK while they were still together. The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in Canada in 1973.

The title, frequently mispronounced as ‘Dear Maker’ or even ‘Dire Maker’, is actually meant to be pronounced “Jamaica” in a double-edged reference to the old joke that Robert Plant told in a Rolling Stone interview and also the way in which locals pronounce the name of their Caribbean island. I looked this up on the title… D’yer Mak’er (intended to be pronounced with a British non-rhotic accent as “jah-may-kah”)

Plant has confirmed that the title “D’yer Mak’er” does, in fact, come from a bit of Cockney humor, which usually goes something like this:
Cockney Man 1: My wife is going on holiday.
Cockney Man 2: D’yer make ‘er? [“Jamaica,” but pronounced quickly so that it sounds just like “Did you make her?”]
Cockney Man 1: No, she’s going on her own accord.
The allusion to Jamaica made sense for the song: “D’yer Mak’er” is Zeppelin’s reggae move.

John Paul Jones didn’t like the track and he said that Bonham didn’t like reggae period.

John Paul Jones: “John was interested in everything except jazz and reggae, he didn’t hate jazz but he hated playing reggae he thought it was really boring.”

JImmy Page: “I didn’t expect people not to get it. I thought it was pretty obvious.”

D’yer Mak’er

Oh oh oh oh oh oh,
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry, ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry, oh oh ah ay
Baby please don’t go

When I read the letter you wrote me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it told me, it made me sad sad sad
But I still love you so
I can’t let you go
I love you
Oh, baby I love you

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Every breath I take, oh oh oh oh
Oh, every move I make
Oh, baby please don’t go

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
You hurt me to my soul, oh oh oh oh
You hurt me to my soul oh, oh
Darling please don’t go

When I read the letter you sent me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it brought me, it made me sad sad sad
But I still love you so
And I can’t let you go
I love you
Oh, baby I love you, oh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh
Oh, baby
Babe, please, please, please, please
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh, baby
Oh oh, oh I really love you, baby

A Concert of The Mind…Fantasy Park

***Dave from A Sound Day has a new feature Turntable Talk…he will have an article by me today about Why the Beatles are still relevant…hope you get to read it.***

Fantasy Park: 1975 – Twin Cities Music Highlights

Imagine a concert in 1975 with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and more. Well, it happened! Sorta. Rod Serling did all of the radio promos. It would be one of his last projects…he would pass away before it aired.

It was a 48-hour-long rock concert (Fantasy Park) that was aired by nearly 200 radio stations over Labor Day weekend in 1975. The program, produced by KNUS in Dallas, featured performances by dozens of rock stars of the day and even reunited The Beatles. It was also completely imaginary, a theatre-of-the-mind for the 70s.

The “concert” was made up of live and studio recordings by the artists with live effects added to make it sound legit.

The show had college students hitchhiking all over America hoping to get to Fantasy Park. In New Orleans when the concert aired, the IRS came knocking on the doors of WNOE trying to attach the gate receipts to make sure the Feds got their cut! Callers were asking where they could get tickets to this amazing show.

The show was so popular in Minnesota that they played it again in its entirety the next year…now that people knew it wasn’t real and weren’t looking for tickets. The greatest concert that never was.  Fantasy Park had their own emcee and special reporters covering the weekend event giving you the play-by-play details along with some behind-the-scenes updates.

The concert would always be halted due to rain on a Sunday morning to allow the locals to get in their regular (usually religious) programming and the whole event always ended promptly at 6 pm on Sunday.

Now people look for the full 48-hour tapes of the show. They are a hot collector’s item. Rod Serling passed away on June 28, 1975.

Bands at Fantasy Park

Chicago
Elton John
Led Zeppelin
Joe Walsh
Cream
Shawn Phillips
Pink Floyd
Carly Simon
James Taylor (& Carol King)
Poco
Alvin Lee
Eagles
Linda Rondstadt
Dave Mason
Steve Miller
John Denver
Beach Boys
War
Grand Funk
Yes
Deep Purple
Rolling Stones
Cat Stevens
The Who
Rolling Stones
Moody Blues
Marshall Tucker Band
Allman Brothers Band
Seals & Crofts
America
Joni Mitchell
Doobie Brothers
Loggins and Messina
Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young
Bob Dylan
Beatles

Here is 10 minutes of it here.

Led Zeppelin – Rock And Roll

The title says it all with this song. It is one of the best Zeppelin pure rock and roll songs. As with most things with Zeppelin the drums made this song…John Bonham was the key element to their songs just as Keith Moon was to The Who. The two drummers helped shape the sound of their respective bands more than most.

This song came about when the band was working on “Four Sticks” at the Headley Grange mansion they had rented in Hampshire, England to record the album. With a pretty much unplayable drum pattern, John Bonham got frustrated with the session, and tensions rose. In a pique of anger, he started playing something completely different: a riff based on the intro to the 1957 Little Richard song “Keep a Knockin.'”

If you want more Led Zeppelin…yesterday Dave from A Sound Day had a post on their first album.

The band was not a singles band in any sense but this one peaked at #47 in the Billboard 100 and #38 in Canada in 1972. They didn’t release singles in the UK in the band’s lifetime.

The album did much better…it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, and the UK in 1971.

1971 was maybe the best year of rock albums ever. A few months before this one…The Who released Who’s Next, The Allman Brothers – At Fillmore East, David Bowie – Hunky Dory, The Stones – Sticky Fingers, Doors – L.A. Woman, Alice Cooper – Killer, and many more.

Jerry Lee Lewis did a cover of this song with Jimmy Page…I like the short opening raw riff Jimmy plays.

Jimmy Page: “We were recording something else when John Bonham started playing the drum intro to ‘Keep a Knockin’ by Little Richard and I immediately started playing the riff for ‘Rock And Roll.’ Instead of laughing it off and going back to the previous song, we kept going. ‘Rock And Roll’ was written in minutes and recorded within an hour.”

Robert Plant: “We just thought rock and roll needed to be taken on again,” “I was finally in a really successful band, and we felt it was time for actually kicking ass. It wasn’t an intellectual thing, ’cause we didn’t have time for that – we just wanted to let it all come flooding out. It was a very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing, what we were doing.”

From Songfacts

As the title suggests, the song is based on one of the most popular structures in rock and roll; namely, the 12-bar blues progression (in A). The phrase “Rock and Roll” was a term blues musicians used, which meant sex.

Robert Plant wrote the lyrics, which were a response to critics who claimed their previous album, Led Zeppelin III, wasn’t really rock and roll. Led Zeppelin III had more of an acoustic folk sound, and Plant wanted to prove they could still rock out.

Infused with creative energy, they put “Four Sticks” aside and started working on this new song, which they called “It’s Been a Long Time.” Jimmy Page blasted out a guitar part, and the bones of the song were completed in about 30 minutes.

The band often used this either as an encore or to open live shows from 1971-1975.

Ian Stewart, known for his work with The Rolling Stones (he was almost a member of the group, but their manager didn’t think he looked the part), played piano on this track. Stewart was on hand because Led Zeppelin was using the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording unit to record the album, as the Headley Grange mansion didn’t have a studio. Stewart was sent as a technician to assist with recording, but he came in quite handy on “Rock And Roll” when they needed some serious boogie-woogie piano.

Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones played this at Live Aid in 1985. It was the first time they played together since the death of John Bonham in 1980. Tony Thompson and Phil Collins sat in for Bonham on drums, which didn’t go over well with Page and Plant. When the band reformed for a benefit show on December 10, 2007, it was with John Bonham’s son Jason on drums. This was the last song they played at the show, which raised money for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund.

Besides Live Aid, the remaining members of Led Zeppelin played this on two other occasions. When Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen turned 21 in 1989, they played it at her birthday party. They also played it at Jason Bonham’s wedding in 1990. Jason is John Bonham’s son, and he sat in on drums on both performances.

This has been covered by many other artists, including Def Leppard and Heart. In 2001, it was recorded by Double Trouble (Stevie Ray Vaughan’s backup band), for their 2001 album Been A Long Time. Susan Tedeschi sang lead on the track.

All four band members got writing credits for this. Many Zeppelin songs are credited only to Page and Plant.

This was the first Led Zeppelin song used in a commercial. Cadillac used it to kick off a new advertising campaign in 2002 with the tagline “Breakthrough.” The company was going for a hip, new image, since their audience was slowly dying off. The spots aired for the first time on the Super Bowl, and sales rose 16% the next year.

The lyric “It’s been a long time since the book of love” is a reference to the Monotones’ 1958 hit “Book Of Love,” which is also referenced in “American Pie.”

Since the death of his father, Jason Bonham has filled in behind the drum set for various Led Zeppelin reunion gigs. He told American Songwriter this is the hardest Zeppelin song to play as, “a lot of people out there try and play it, and really it’s a two-handed shuffle all the way through, playing the sixteenth notes, it’s not just boom bap-boom-bap-boom- bap, it’s boom-boom-bap-bap-boom-boom-bap-bap on the snare and the hi-hat. It’s a hard one to play properly.”

Stevie Nicks added this to her live set in 2001. 

Rock and Roll

It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled
It’s been a long time since I did the stroll
Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back, let me get it back
Mmm, baby, where I come from

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time
Yes, it has

It’s been a long time since the book of love
I can’t count the tears of a life with no love
Carry me back, carry me back, carry me back
Mmm, baby, where I come from, whoa, whoa, oh

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Oh, oh, ahh, ahh

Oh, it seems so long since we walked in the moonlight
Making vows that just couldn’t work right
Ah, yeah, open your arms, open your arms, open your arms
Baby, let my love come running in, yeah

It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Yeah, hey, yeah, hey
Yeah, hey, yeah, hey

Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah
Ooh, yeah, ooh, yeah
It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

Howlin’ Wolf – Killing Floor

I just posted a song by Howlin’ Wolf a week or so ago but I’ve been listening to him lately so here is another. This song comes with an interesting story between Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

When Jimi Hendrix came to England he made a huge impression right away. At a Cream gig he requested a chance to jam with the band. No one in those days asked to do this because Clapton was “God” on guitar to many people…plus Cream as a unit were super talented. Jack Bruce later said that Jimi was a brave person to do that because Cream were all top notch musicans.

Jimi plugged into Jack Bruce’s amp and broke into Killing Floor. Clapton was blown away by it because he never mastered the song. Jimi was ripping right through it at breakneck speed. According to Chas Chandler…Clapton just dropped his hands and was shocked.

Wolf released his version in 1964 and it was written by him.

Hubert Sumlin played guitar on the original version. He said that Wolf played the field, with several ladies in his stable. One of them, a woman named Helen, was so fed up with his philandering that she got a shotgun filled with buckshot and fired at him from a second-floor window.

So, the killing floor is a metaphor for depression, in Wolf’s case triggered by a woman who was so mad she was literally trying to kill him.

Led Zeppelin later used this song as the basis for The Lemon Song.

Eric Clapton:

“I remember thinking that here was a force to be reckoned with. It scared me, because he was clearly going to be a huge star, and just as we are finding our own speed, here was the real thing.” 

“It was amazing,”“and it was musically great, too, not just pyrotechnics.” 

From Songfacts

In this song, Howlin’ Wolf sings about how he should have left his woman a long time ago, imagining how much better he would have it if he went to Mexico when he had the chance. Now, he’s down here on the killing floor.

Wolf wasn’t the first to use the phrase “killing floor” in a song; the Mississippi blues musician Skip James recorded “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” in 1931. James’ version was re-released in 1964, a year before Wolf recorded his “Killing Floor.”

Artists to cover this song include Albert King, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Rush.

Killing Floor

I should have quit you, a long time ago
I should have quit you, babe, long time ago
I should have quit you, and went on to Mexico
If I had-a followed my first mind
If I had-a followed my first mind
I’d been gone, since my second time

I shoulda went on, when my friend come from Mexico at me
I shoulda went on, when my friend come from Mexico at me
But no, I was foolin’ with ya, baby, I let ya put me on the killin’ floor
Lord knows, I shoulda been gone
Lord knows, I shoulda been gone
And I wouldn’t have been here, down on the killin’ floor
Yeah

Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love

One of the most recognizable riffs in rock and roll. This one was also one of their most popular songs. It wasn’t ever one of my favorites by them but I did like it.

It was a rare thing for Zeppelin to release a single…but this was released as one except in the UK.  This song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in Canada in 1970.

The lyrics are based on a 1962 Muddy Waters song written by Willie Dixon called “You Need Love.” Led Zeppelin reached an agreement with Dixon, who used the settlement money to set up a program providing instruments for schools. All the members of Led Zeppelin get a writing credit along with Willie Dixon now.

Robert Plant has said that Steve Marriott was an influence and you can hear it really strong in the Small Faces rendition (I have it at the bottom) of You Need Love from 1966…and good 3 years before this was recorded. Marriott was one of the best singers of that or any era.

Jimmy Page played a theremin, a bizarre electronic instrument he liked to experiment with consisting of a black box and antennae, famously heard on the 1966 Beach Boys song “Good Vibrations.” The sound is altered by moving one’s hand closer to or farther from the antennae and was used to create the fuzz that alternates back and forth through the speakers.

Image result for theremin jimmy page

John Paul Jones: “The backwards echo stuff. A lot of the microphone techniques were just inspired. Using distance-miking… and small amplifiers. Everybody thinks we go in the studio with huge walls of amplifiers, but he doesn’t. He uses a really small amplifier and he just mikes it up really well, so that it fits into a sonic picture.”

From Songfacts

This blistering track from Led Zeppelin’s second album contains some of Robert Plant’s most lascivious lyrics, culled from the blues. It’s not poetry, but he gets his point across quite effectively, letting the girl know that he’s yearning, and ready to give her all of his love – every inch.

The massive drum sound was the foundation of this track, so Jimmy Page recorded it in the big room at Olympic Studios in London, which had 28-foot ceilings. One of the engineers, George Chkiantz, got the sound by putting the drums on a platform and setting up microphones in unusual places: a stereo boom eight feet above the kit, two distant side microphones, and a AKG D30 placed two feet from the bass drum. “For the song to work as this panoramic audio experience, I needed Bonzo to really stand out, so that every stick stroke sounded clear and you could really feel them,” Page said in the Wall Street Journal. “If the drums were recorded just right, we could lay in everything else.”

Jimmy Page served as Led Zeppelin’s producer, and on this song, he let loose in the studio, using all kinds of innovative techniques, particularly in the freeform section about 1:20 in, which was the result of him and engineer Eddie Kramer “twiddling every knob known to man.” This part is often referred to as “the freakout.”

One of the more intriguing sections of this song comes at the 4-minute mark, where the distant voice of Robert Plant sings each line (“Way down inside… woman… you need… love”) before his full-throated vocal comes in. This is known as “backward echo,” and one of the first uses of the technique, but it happened by accident: A different take of Plant’s vocal bled over to his master vocal track, so when Page and engineer Eddie Kramer mixed the song, they couldn’t get rid of it. They did what most creative professionals do with a mistake: they accentuated it to make it sound intentional, adding reverb to it so Plant sounded like he was foreshadowing his lines from afar.

Led Zeppelin didn’t release singles in the UK, where it was considered gauche, and in America, they didn’t issue any from their first album. “Whole Lotta Love” was the first song they allowed as a US single, and it became their biggest hit, going to #4 (their only Top 10 entry) despite a 5:33 running time. Many of Zeppelin’s most popular songs, including “Stairway To Heaven,” were not released as singles.

Led Zeppelin used this as the basis for a medley they performed in their later shows. They had lots of songs by then, so they used the medley to play snippets of their popular songs they did not want to play all the way through. They incorporated various blues songs in these medleys as well, notably “Boogie Chillen” by John Lee Hooker, which was often followed by what they called “Boogie Woogie, by Unknown,” and “Let’s Have A Party” by Wanda Jackson. They would put this in when Robert Plant would yell, “Way Down INSIDE.”

When this song became a hit in America, the UK division of the band’s label, Atlantic Records, pressed copies of a shortened version of the song to release there, but Jimmy Page quashed that idea when he heard the 3:12 truncated edit (“I played it once, hated it and never listened to the short version again,” he told the Wall Street Journal). The band issued a press release stating: “Led Zeppelin have no intention of issuing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ as a single as they feel it was written as part of their concept of the album.” The American single is the same version as found on the album.

This was recorded on an 8-track tape machine at Olympic Studios, London in April 1968, but Jimmy Page waited to mix it until the band came to New York on tour in August because he wanted Eddie Kramer, who had relocated there, to work on it. To the delight of deconstructionists, Page later released the eight split tracks of Whole Lotta Love, along with the mixdowns, on the Studio Magik – Sessions 1968-1980 CD compilation. These stems reveal an entire middle vocal section that’s totally different and the “da da” vocal about two beats behind what was released. In the drum tracks, during the rolls, you can hear John Bonham groaning.

The line, “Shake for me girl, I wanna be your back door man” is a reference to the “back door man” of blues cliché (popularized in a Willie Dixon song). This guy enters and leaves through the back door to avoid detection, as the lady is using him to cheat on her boyfriend or husband. This adds an illicit edge to the storyline.

After Page started fooling around with the theremin in the studio, it was open season for experimentation on the track; he started messing around with his guitar by detuning it and pulling on the strings, and Plant did his part by going to the extreme high of his vocal range. 

Page, Plant, and John Paul Jones played this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father. Jason joined the band again in 2007 at a benefit concert for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund, where they played this as the first encore.

In 1997, this became the only single Led Zeppelin released in the UK when a 4:50 edit was issued to celebrate the band’s 30th anniversary. The singles chart was dominated by acts like the Spice Girls and Puff Daddy, and this release got little attention, reaching just #21.

Guitar World noted Page’s use of the wah-wah pedal during his famous solo, securing its place at #17 on the magazine’s 2015 list of greatest wah solos of all time. Jack White has cited it as the greatest guitar solo ever recorded.

Jimmy Page played the loose blues riff for the intro on a Sunburst 1958 Les Paul Standard through a 100W Marshall “Plexi” head amp with distortion from the EL34 output valves.

Alexis Korner hit #13 UK and #58 US with his mostly instrumental cover of this song in 1970 with his studio group CCS. King Curtis also did an instrumental version that went to #64 US that year. A vocal cover by The Wonder Band reached #87 US in 1987. Tina Turner recorded it for her 1975 album Acid Queen, and the London Symphony Orchestra also covered it. 

The remaining members of Led Zeppelin played this at their Live Aid reunion in 1985. Along with Tony Thompson, Phil Collins sat in on drums. Collins was the biggest presence at Live Aid. He played a set in London, flew to Philadelphia, played another set, then stayed on when Zeppelin took the stage. Jimmy Page was not happy – he thought Collins butchered it.

This song was performed by Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics during the hand over to the host of the 2012 games, London. Prior to the performance there was some concern about the track’s somewhat family unfriendly lyrical content, but Lewis tactfully changed the words from “every inch of my love” to “every bit of my love.”

They appeared alongside English soccer star David Beckham as symbols of British entertainment, both old and new. The performance took place in a magnificent, elaborate setting: Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium. Lewis and Page appeared out of what had been a London double-decker bus, later transformed into a garden of green hedges. 

On May 5, 2009, this became the first Led Zeppelin song performed on American Idol when Adam Lambert sang it during Rock Week, with Slash as the guest mentor. The judges loved Lambert’s version and he advanced to the next round.

In 2010, Mary J. Blige covered “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway To Heaven,” which were released as downloads and appeared on the UK version of her Stronger With Each Tear album. Musicians contributing to these tracks include Steve Vai, Orianthi, blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and Randy Jackson of American Idol fame, who played bass. “Whole Lotta Love” was produced by RedOne and Ron Fair, who is Chairman of Geffen Records. >>

The song’s guitar riff was voted the greatest of all time by listeners of BBC Radio 2 in a 2014 poll. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses came second in the listing and “Back In Black” by AC/DC third.

The songwriting credits on this track have been convoluted over the years. The four band members were listed as the writers on the original recording, and later, Willie Dixon was added as part of his settlement. But the ASCAP record shows this, which is often reprinted:

John Bonham
John Paul Jones
Pete Moore
Jimmy Page
Sharon Plant

The best we can tell, these credits come from a 1996 cover of the song by the British group Goldbug, which sampled Pete Moore’s song “Asteroid.” “Sharon Plant” is apparently a mistake (should be “Robert Plant”). This version of the song was a hit in the UK, reaching #3. At some point, Dixon’s credit was omitted in most listings.

This song got a mention in the 2014 lawsuit alleging that Jimmy Page stole the intro to “Stairway To Heaven” from a song called “Taurus” by the group Spirit.

In 1968, Spirit played some shows on the same bill with Zeppelin, and “Taurus,” an instrumental written by guitarist Randy California, was in Spirit’s set. California died in 1997, but his estate filed the wide-ranging lawsuit, which accused page of nicking an entire sound during this time. It states: “Jimmy Page’s use of the Etherwave – Theremin, and other psychedelic-type audio effects which helped give Led Zeppelin its distinctive sound – especially prominent in ‘Whole Lotta Love’ – was inspired by seeing California effectively use these types of audio-enhancing effects on tour.”

The CCS version was used as the theme song to the BBC music show Top of the Pops from 1970-1977 and again from 1998-2003. Led Zeppelin never appeared on the program, as they had no interest in lip-synching and weren’t a good fit for the TOTP audience.

Jack Johnson performed a very laid-back version of this song when he headlined the first night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2008.

Robert Plant played this on his Strange Sensations tour of the UK in 2005. 

In Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band, Jack White, one of the most notable rock guitarists of the early 2000s, is quoted saying the guitar solo in “Whole Lotta Love” may be the greatest of all time. He’s talking about the part running from 2:22 to 2:39, popularly called the “freakout.”

Whole Lotta Love

You need cooling
Baby I’m not fooling
I’m gonna send ya
Back to schooling

A-way down inside
A-honey you need it
I’m gonna give you my love
I’m gonna give you my love

Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love

You’ve been learning
Um baby I been learning
All them good times baby, baby
I’ve been year-yearning

A-way, way down inside
A-honey you need-ah
I’m gonna give you my love, ah
I’m gonna give you my love, ah oh

Whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love

You’ve been cooling
And baby I’ve been drooling
All the good times, baby
I’ve been misusing

A-way, way down inside
I’m gonna give ya my love
I’m gonna give ya every inch of my love
I’m gonna give ya my love

Hey!
Alright! Let’s go!

Whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love
Want to whole lotta love

Way down inside
Woman, you need, yeah
Love

My, my, my, my
My, my, my, my
Lord
Shake for me girl

I wanna be your backdoor man
Hey, oh, hey, oh
Hey, oh, hey, oh
Ooh
Oh, oh, oh, oh

Cool, my, my baby
A-keep it cooling baby
A-keep it cooling baby
Ah-keep it cooling baby
Ah-keep it cooling baby
Ah-keep it cooling baby

Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy

As with a lot of Zeppelin songs…it’s the riff…that riff is a beautiful thing. It’s not a complex one like Black Dog but it works.

Houses Of The Holy is the name of Led Zeppelin’s fifth album, released in 1973. This song was going to be on it, but they decided to hold it back and use it on their next album, Physical Graffiti. I never understood that…Page has said that the song didn’t fit with the Houses of the Holy album’s other songs.

The song supposedly refers to the spiritual feel of their concerts.

In order to create the layered guitar introduction and fade-out, Page used a Delta T digital delay unit.

Delta-T 102 - Lexicon Delta-T 102 - Audiofanzine

Despite being a fan favorite and about their shows, this was never performed live. For all you audiophiles out there…The squeak of John Bonham’s drum pedal can be heard about 3 minutes in.

The song was not released as a single… the album Physical Graffiti peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK in 1975. The song was written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. 

Houses of the Holy

Let me take you to the movies
Can I take you to the show
Let me be yours ever truly
Can I make your garden grow

From the houses of the holy, we can watch the white doves go
From the door comes satan’s daughter, and it only goes to show, you know

There’s an angel on my shoulder, in my hand a sword of gold
Let me wander in your garden and the seeds of love I’ll sow you know

So the world is spinning faster are you dizzy when you’re stoned
Let the music be your master will you heed the master’s call
Oh Satan and man

Said there ain’t no use in crying ’cause it will only, only drive you mad
Does it hurt to hear them lying?
Was this the only world you had? oh oh

So let me take you, take you to the movie
Can I take you, baby, to the show
Why don’t you let me be yours ever truly
Can I make your garden grow, you know

Led Zeppelin – Hot Dog

This song is for Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…Bird/Cat/Dog/Fish/Pet…I hope everyone has a good Sunday and turns up Hot Dog!

I know some Zeppelin fans that don’t like this song. I guess it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. I love playing that intro on guitar. The intro sounds like a square dance riff from hell. Robert Plant does a great rockabilly vocal and they have the echo set perfectly.

This one is a fun song that Zeppelin sounds like they had a good time recording. Led Zeppelin played this live at the 1979 appearance at Knebworth and 1980 tour in Europe.

The song was on the album In Through The Out Door and it peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, The UK, and New Zealand. The song was the B side to Fool In The Rain. The song was written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.

A promotional video was shot. This was the closest Led Zeppelin came to a music video.

From Songfacts

This was influenced by American rockabilly music, which Robert Plant enjoyed. A hot dog is distinctly American cuisine.

Led Zeppelin had some heavy songs, but this was a fun, rollicking tune at a tough time for the band. Plant’s 5-year-old son, Karac, died in 1977 and they were all worn out from constant touring and recording.

The lyrics about a girl in Texas who “Took my heart” may have been based on a real woman in Plant’s life, but he called this a tribute to Texas and the state of mind of the people in Texas.

On a particularly cold day at a turn of the 20th century New York baseball game, no one was buying concessionaire Harry Stevens’ ice cream, so he begun selling sausages and rolls. He started calling out, “Red hot dachshund sausages!” and found they were very popular. Thomas “Tad” Dorgan, a sports cartoonist for The New York Journal, was in the press box and seeing this he attempted to draw a cartoon of a barking sausage steaming in its stretched out roll. He didn’t know how to spell “Dachshund,” so he wrote “hot dog” instead, a name which immediately caught on. (from the book Food for Thought: Extraordinary Little Chronicles of the World by Ed Pearce)

Hot Dog

(Oh, hot dog)
Well, I just got into town today
To find my girl who’s gone away
She took the Greyhound at the general store
I searched myself I searched the town
When I finally did sit down
I find myself no wiser than before

She said we couldn’t do no wrong
No other love could be so strong
She locked up my heart in her bottom drawer
Now she took my heart she took my keys
From in my old blue dungarees
And I’ll never go to Texas anymore

Now my baby’s gone I don’t know what to do
She took my love and walked right out the door
And if I ever find that girl I know one thing for sure
I’m gonna give her something like she never had before

I took her love at seventeen
A little late these days it seems
But they said heaven is well worth waiting for
I took her word I took it all
Beneath the sign that said “you-haul”
She left angels hangin’ round for more

Now my baby’s gone I don’t know what to do
She took my love and walked right out the door
And if I ever find that girl I know one thing for sure
I’m gonna give her something like she never had before

I thought I had it all sewn up
Our love, a plot, a pick-up truck
But folks said she was after something more
I never did quite understand
All that talk about rockin’ bands
But they just rolled my doll right out the door
Oh yeah, they just rolled my doll right out the door
But they just rolled my doll right out the door