Honeydrippers – Sea of Love

I immediately liked this song when I heard it in 1984.  The song originally was by Phil Phillips with the Twilights and they took it to #2 in 1959. Phil Phillips and George Khoury wrote this song. I knew Robert Plant wanted to distance himself from the hard sounds of Led Zeppelin when I heard this. I went out and immediately bought the single.

This version of the Honeydrippers included Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. I had forgotten that Brian Setzer was in it also but it makes complete sense.  The members were…

Robert Plant – vocals
Jimmy Page – guitars
Jeff Beck – guitars
Paul Shaffer – keyboard
Nile Rodgers – guitar, co-producer
Wayne Pedzwater – bass
Dave Weckl – drums
Brian Setzer – guitar
Keith “Bev” Smith – Drums

That is some kind of band… a lot of great players in famous bands in this group. The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #3 on the Billboard 100, #12 in New Zealand, and #56 in the UK.

Robert Plant was actually quite horrified with this song’s success for The Honeydrippers. The A-side was “Rockin’ At Midnight,” with “Sea of Love” as the B-side. But the single got flipped. Plant feared that this would destroy his reputation and he would be typecast as a crooner, so he deliberately cut off the career of the Honeydrippers.

He thought about bringing them back in the 21st century with Ahmet Ertegün, but at the latter’s passing Plant put the idea on permanent hold. Robert can really sing those 50s hits quite well. I remember seeing him on the broadcast of the Concert for Kampuchea playing with Rockpile.

“Sea Of Love”
Do you remember when we met?
That’s the day I knew you were my pet
I wanna tell you how much I love you

Come with me, my love, to the sea
The sea of love
I wanna tell you just how much I love you
Come with me to the sea of love

Do you remember when we met?
Oh, that’s the day I knew you were my pet
I wanna tell you, oh, how much I love you

Come with me to the sea of love
Come with me, my love, to the sea
The sea of love
I wanna tell you just how much I love you
I wanna tell you, oh, how much I love you

Led Zeppelin – Dazed And Confused

The writing credit on this song is Jimmy Page but is based on an acoustic song with the same title that Jimmy Page heard folk singer Jake Holmes perform. When Page was a member of The Yardbirds, they played on the same bill with Holmes at the Village Theatre in New York City. Holmes’ version is about an acid trip, but contains many of the same elements that made their way into the Led Zeppelin version: walking bass line, paranoid lyrics and an overall spooky sound.

Led Zeppelin’s version was not credited to Jake Holmes, as Page felt that he changed enough of the melody and added enough new lyrics to escape a plagiarism lawsuit. Well that didn’t work, many years later Jake Holmes sued Zeppelin in 2010 for the song. The suit was “dismissed with prejudice” on January 17, 2012, after an undisclosed settlement between Page and Holmes was reached out of court in the fall of 2011. After that the song was credited “By Page – Inspired by Jake Holmes.”

Jake Holmes was never successful commercially as a singer/songwriter…but you know his work. He wrote many famous jingles, including “Be a All That You Can Be” for the US Army and “Be A Pepper” for Dr. Pepper. He also wrote songs for Frank Sinatra and The Four Seasons.

The Yardbirds played the song in concert, but never recorded a studio version, although they did play it for a BBC taping in March 1968. This was one of the first songs Led Zeppelin recorded. It was released as a single in the US in January 1969, two weeks before the album was issued.

At live shows, Page played this using a violin bow on his guitar. He claimed that he got the idea from a session violinist he worked with who suggested it. Eddie Phillips of the UK band The Creation guitarist pioneered the use of the violin bow on guitar strings, predating Page doing it in The Yardbirds by two years.

The song didn’t chart but the self titled album peaked at #10 on the Billboard Album Charts, #11 in Canada and #6 in the UK in 1969.

Jake Holmes – “We were on the bill with The Yardbirds. We performed it there and blew the place apart with that song, and that’s when Jimmy Page saw it. From what I gather from The Yardbirds, Page sent somebody out to get my album. He did a great job, but he certainly ripped me off.”

Dazed And Confused

Been dazed and confused for so long, it’s not true
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
Lots of people talk and few of them know
Soul of a woman was created below, yeah

You hurt and abuse, tellin’ all of your lies
Run ’round, sweet baby, Lord, how they hypnotize
Sweet little baby, I don’t know where you’ve been
Gonna love you, baby, here I come again

Every day I work so hard, bringin’ home my hard-earned pay
Try to love you, baby, but you push me away
Don’t know where you’re goin’, only know just where you’ve been
Sweet little baby, I want you again

Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ahh, ah
Ahh, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ahh, ah

Oh yeah, alright, alright
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah

I don’t like when you’re mystifyin’ me
Oh, don’t leave me so confused, now
Whoa, baby

Been dazed and confused for so long, it’s not true
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you
Take it easy, baby, let them say what they will
Tongue wag so much when I sent you the bill
Oh yeah, alright

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, ah, ah, ah, ah

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.

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 – Out On The Tiles

This one is a great deep cut by Led Zeppelin. It was on Led Zeppelin III and is looked over but it has a great riff by Jimmy Page. It’s nice to find a Zeppelin song that hasn’t been played to death…the guitar riff is killer on this song.

In Japan, this was mistakenly placed on the B-side of “Immigrant Song” rather than “Hey, Hey What Can I Do.” Those copies are rare collector’s items.

Robert Plant remembered an 18th-century cottage called Bron-Yr-Aur he had visited in his youth and felt it would be a great place to temporarily escape life in the fast lane and commune with nature. Plant invited his co-writer, guitarist Jimmy Page, and in the spring, the two men took their instruments and supplies to the retreat to recharge their batteries. The place had no running water or electricity at the time.

Robert Plant: “It was time to take stock, and not get lost in it all, and what better way to keep it real than at a place with no electricity, candles for light, water from a stream, and an outside toilet?”

Many fans didn’t embrace Led Zeppelin III like their first two albums. The band would routinely bludgeon their audiences with hard rock. This album had a lot of acoustic mixed in with rock guitar. I think it’s the most underrated album in their catalog. The next two albums would combine these two elements perfectly. Led Zeppelin III was the turning point of Led Zeppelin…after that album. To my ears…this is when Led Zeppelin grew up musically.

Led Zeppelin III peaked at #1 in the US, Canada, and UK in 1970-71.

Drummer John Bonham would talk about going “out on the tiles,” meaning to bars – the title is a British term for going out on the town. Jimmy Page wrote this song around the phrase. Bonham, along with Page and Robert Plant, got a writing credit on the track.

 Jimmy Page: “That’s ambient sound. Getting the distance of the time lag from one end of the room to the other and putting that in as well. The whole idea, the way I see recording, is to try and capture the sound of the room live and the emotion of the whole moment and try to convey that. That’s the very essence of it. And so, consequently, you’ve got to capture as much of the room sound as possible.”

Jimmy Page: “When Robert and I went to Bron-Yr-Aur we weren’t thinking: ‘Let’s go to Wales and write.. The original plan was to just go there, hang out and appreciate the countryside. The only song we really finished while we were there was That’s The Way, but being in the country established a standard of traveling for inspiration and set a tone for Led Zeppelin III.”

Below Jason Bonham tells the story of Out On The Tiles

Out On The Tiles

As I walk down the highway all I do is sing this song
And a train that’s passin’ my way helps the rhythm move along
There is no doubt about the words are clear
The voice is strong, is oh so strong

I’m just a simple guy, I live from day to day
A ray of sunshine melts my frown and blows my blues away
There’s nothing more that I can say but on a day like today
I pass the time away and walk a quiet mile with you

All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah

I’m so glad I’m living and gonna tell the world I am
I got me a fine woman and she says that I’m her man
One thing that I know for sure gonna give her all the loving
Like nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody can

Standing in the noonday sun trying to flag a ride
People go and people come, see my rider right by my side
It’s a total disgrace, they set the pace, it must be a race
And the best thing I can do is run

All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

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 – 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

Runaways – American Nights

I’ve always liked the Runaways. They were punk, rock, and some pop thrown in together. Their best known song is Cherry Bomb and it has gained popularity in the last decade because of the 2010 movie about them and the song  included on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. 

This song was written by Mark Anthony and Kim Fowley. It was on their self-titled debut album released in 1976.

The Runaways were formed in 1975 by producer Kim Fowley after guitarist Joan Jett and drummer Sandy West introduced themselves to him in hopes of starting a group. They eventually went on to recruit Lita Ford, Jackie Fox, and Cherie Currie. Lead singer, Currie, went into her audition with a rendition of Peggy Lee’s “Fever.” 

Robert Plant played a joke on them and told them it was fun to collect (steal) hotel keys in England. The keys were big and ornate, and somewhat valuable, so when the band tried to enter France, they were detained by Customs. They had to cancel their show.

Joan Jett on her one arrest: “It was in England, on the first Runaways tour, about to catch the ferry to France. I blame Robert Plant, because we once asked him what souvenirs we should get on the road; he said he took hotel room keys. In England, the keys were big, ornate, metal things. I had four. At customs, the guy said, ‘Hmm, sticky fingers, you’re under arrest’, and put me in a jail cell.”

Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin backstage with The Runaways at their show in  Los Angeles, CA, 1975 photo by Barry Schultz: ledzeppelin

American NIghts

Clean rock n roll
Makes the midnight flow tonight now
It’s hot tonight
Come on let’s have a good time
In the dark of the night
We hunt for fun
Chasing after the moonlight
Hiding from the sun

American nights
You kids are so strange
American nights
You’re never gonna change

Our magic is young
Cause we just begun
We light up the sky
Always on the run
We live in the streets
In the alleys of screams
Cause we’re the queens of noise
The answer to your dreams

American nights
You kids are so strange
American nights
You’re never gonna change

Hey boy you’re my good time
Dance close ya feel so fine
Hold tight we’re on fire
All night you’re my desire

Everybody
Wanna party
Everybody
Wanna party

American nights
You kids are so strange
American nights
You’re never gonna change

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 – 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

Led Zeppelin – Black Dog

The guitar intro is instantly recognizable and although I’ve heard it so many times I still like it.

Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones got the idea for this song after hearing Muddy Waters’ 1968 album Electric Mud. He wanted to try to write electric blues with a rolling bass part.

The song was credited to Jones, Plant, and Page. the song was on what was known as their greatest album Led Zeppelin IV. It was recorded at Headley Grange a then run down country cottage. It was originally built in 1795 as a  three-storey stone structure which was originally used as a workhouse for the poor, infirm, and orphaned.

The album Led Zeppelin IV was a major success and peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #1 in the UK.

On a rough wall hangs a painting of an elderly man in a field with a large bundle of sticks tied to his back.

Jimmy Page on recording in Headley Grange: “The reason we went there in the first place, was to have a live-in situation where you’re writing and really living the music. We’d never really had that experience before as a group, apart from when Robert Plant and I had gone to Bron-Yr-Aur. But that was just me and Robert going down there and hanging out in the bosom of Wales and enjoying it. This was different. It was all of us really concentrating in a concentrated environment and the essence of what happened there manifested itself across three albums (IVHouses of the HolyPhysical Graffiti).”

It was unusual for a Zeppelin song because it was released as a single and peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100, #11 in Canada, and #10 in New Zealand. It was not issued as a single in the UK.

John Paul Jones: “I actually wrote it in rehearsal from Jimmy’s house on the train. My dad was a musician and he showed me a way of writing down notation on anything. And so I wrote the riff to ‘Black Dog’ on the back of a train ticket which I unfortunately don’t have.”

Andy Johns (Engineer): “It was more fun and more serious than for Led Zeppelin III. We mainly recorded it in Headley Grange – a haunted place – using the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit. The rest of the album was produced at Island studios, an old church. We recorded the main tracks for ‘Black Dog’ downstairs, in what used to be the crypt. The main tracks for ‘Stairway To Heaven’ were recorded in the big room upstairs.”

From Songfacts

The title does not appear in the lyrics, and has nothing to do with the song itself. The band worked up the song at Headley Grange, a mansion in Hampshire, England that is out in the country, surrounded by woods. A nameless black Labrador retriever would wander the grounds, and the band would feed it. When they needed a name for this track, which didn’t have an obvious title, they thought of the canine and went with “Black Dog.”

Jones rarely had completed songs together, but the bits and pieces he brought to Led Zeppelin’s writing sessions proved worthy. When they started putting the album together, Jones introduced this riff, the song started to form. The first version Jones played was comically complex. “It was originally all in 3/16 time, but no one could keep up with that,” he said.

When the mobile recording studio (owned by The Rolling Stones) showed up at the mansion, this song was ready to go and recorded there.

This is the first track on Led Zeppelin 4, which became the band’s best-selling album. A wide range of musical styles show up on the set, with “Black Dog” exemplifying the blues-rock that was the bedrock of the band’s sound.

The album itself is technically untitled, with symbols on the cover instead of words., but since it was their fourth album, it became known as Led Zeppelin 4. Some fans also referred to it as “ZoSo,” which is a rough translation Jimmy Page’s symbol.

In this song, Robert Plant is singing about a woman who appeals to his prurient interests, but is clearly no good for him – he tells himself he’d rather have a “steady rollin’ woman” come his way.

Robert Plant explained in an interview with Cameron Crowe: “Not all my stuff is meant to be scrutinized. Things like ‘Black Dog’ are blatant, let’s-do-it-in-the-bath type things, but they make their point just the same.”

The start-and-stop a cappella verses were inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 song “Oh Well.” Before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, they were more of a Blues band led by guitarist Peter Green. Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes performed “Oh Well” on their 1999 tour and included it on the album Live At The Greek.

The lyrics never approached “Stairway To Heaven” level scrutiny, but were still subject to some interesting interpretations. Jimmy Page’s interest in the occultist Aleister Crowley, combined with the image of the Hermit (from the Tarot) in the album art and the band’s disappearance when they set off to Headley Grange to record, led some listeners to conclude that the titular dog was some kind of hellhound, and that the line, “Eyes that shine burning red, dreams of you all through my head,” had something to do with Satan.

The sounds at the beginning are Jimmy Page warming up his guitar. He called it “Waking up the army of guitars.”

Even by Led Zeppelin standards, this is a very complex song musically, with a chaotic blend of riffs and time signatures that make it very difficult to play and a testament to the band’s musicianship. When the drums and guitar kick in, they’re actually playing completely different patterns, which is something devised by John Paul Jones. The only real consistent element in the song are the vocal interludes. This is not a song you’d want to dance to.

The songwriting credits on this one read: John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page/Robert Plant. Some bands – like U2 and R.E.M. – would credit every member on their original songs, but Zeppelin decided amongst themselves who would get the credits (and associated royalties). Page and Plant were almost always listed (Plant handled lyrics), but whether Jones or Bonham showed up as a writer depended on their contributions. This track was one where Jones clearly deserved a credit; he is also listed on the album as a co-writer of “Rock And Roll,” “Misty Mountain Hop” and “When The Levee Breaks.”

Robert Plant’s vocal was recorded in just two takes, marking one of his most memorable performances. His vocal booth was the drawing room at the Headley Grange mansion, which engineer Andy Johns set up with egg crates covering the walls as a sound-soak.

The guitars are heavily layered. Four separate Jimmy Page guitar tracks were overdubbed. Page recorded the guitar directly into a 1176 limiter preamp (manufactured by Universal Audio), distorted the stages of it, and then sent that to a normally operating limiter. In other words, no guitar amplifier was used in the recording process. 

Plant sampled this on his solo hit “Tall Cool One.”

“Whole Lotta Love” made #4 on the US Hot 100, and “Black Dog” was their next highest-charting song. Most of their tracks were not released as singles, and fans of the band were far more likely buy the albums.

As Robert Plant sings every line after the music stops, you can faintly hear Bonham tapping his drumsticks together to keep the time. 

This was one of the few songs for which John Paul Jones used a pick to play his bass.

Robert Plant would sometimes improvise some of the lyrics in concert, substituting lines like, “I’ve got a girl that loves me so love me so sweet jelly roll.” >>

This isn’t the first famous rock song with a color-animal title that doesn’t appear in the lyric: Jefferson Airplane released “White Rabbit” in 1967. In 1977, Steely Dan gave us “Black Cow,” but that one does have the title in the lyric.

Apparently, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas can knock out a killer version of this song. Slash from Guns N’ Roses told NME, March 22, 2010: “I first heard Fergie three years ago at a fundraiser in LA, where I was one of many guests with the Black-Eyed Peas. I was going to play during a rock medley, and in walks this little blonde girl from Orange County, and she sang ‘Black Dog‚’ better than any guy I’d ever heard.” 

Note the lyrics, “Baby, when you walk that way, watch your honey drip, can’t keep away.” In 1981, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page formed a group called The Honeydrippers, which scored a hit with a remake of “Sea of Love.”

Page and Plant performed an updated version of this song on their 1995 No Quarter tour. Starting in 2005, Plant added it to his setlist at solo performances. His solo renditions were more subdued vocally, but often rather intricate musically, with a range of world music elements incorporated into the song.

Led Zeppelin cover band Dread Zeppelin did a version of this mixed with Elvis’ “Hound Dog” called “You Ain’t Nuthin’ But A Black Dog.” Their lead singer is an Elvis impersonator.

In 2015, this was used in a commercial for the video game Destiny: The Taken King. Game action takes place as the song plays in the background.

Johns explained how “Black Dog” was recorded: “This one is interesting, because we trebled the guitars. On the stereo, there is one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. Each was recorded live. I wanted to try live recording, because I loved the sound that Bill Halverson had secured using this technique with Neil Young. Halverson had told me how he had done that, but I never achieved his results. One day, we were hanging around in the studio, and I told Page that I wanted to try something. For some reason, it worked. The guitars were very reliable.” 

Black Dog

Hey, hey mama said the way you move
Gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove
Ah ah child way ya shake that thing
Gon’ make you burn, gon’ make you sting
Hey, hey baby when you walk that way
Watch your honey drip, I can’t keep away

Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah

I gotta roll I can’t stand still
Got a flamin’ heart can’t get my fill
With eyes that shine, burnin’ red
Dreams of you all through my head

Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah

Hey baby, whoa my baby, my pretty baby
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Hey baby, oh my baby, my pretty baby
Move the way you’re doin’ now

Didn’t take too long ‘fore I found out
What people mean by down and out
Spent my money, took my car
Started tellin’ her friends she gon’ be a star
I don’t know but I been told
A big legged woman ain’t got no soul

Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, yeah

All I ask for all I pray
Steady rollin’ woman gon’ come my way
Need a woman gonna hold my hand
Won’t tell me no lies, make me a happy man

Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah ah, ah

Oh yeah
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Yeah-yeah. yeah-yeah. yeah-yeah
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Babe! babe!
Wooh, keep doin’ it babe

(Busted) hey
(Busted) hey
(Busted) hey
(Busted) hey

(Busted) hey, yeah
(Busted) hey, yeah
(Busted) hey, yeah
Oh, yeah

Oh-ah
(Well done)

Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now

Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker

I talk about this a lot but this guitar riff is great and makes the song for me. I like how they ease into Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (She’s Just a Woman).

Heartbreaker was ranked number 328 in 2004 by Rolling Stone magazine, in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was  credited to all four members of the band, “Heartbreaker” was produced by Jimmy Page and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

The solo is something different in this song. Jimmy Page does not play it with the band. He plays it by himself in a break in the song. Page didn’t find out until years later that the solo was in a different pitch than the rest of the song…but it sounded great.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, the UK, and Canada in 1969.

Eddie Van Halen: I think I got the idea of tapping watching Jimmy Page do his “Heartbreaker” solo back in 1971. He was doing a pull-off to an open string, and I thought wait a minute, open string … pull off. I can do that, but what if I use my finger as the nut and move it around? I just kind of took it and ran with it.

Jimmy Page: “The interesting thing about the solo is that it was recorded after we had already finished ‘Heartbreaker’ – it was an afterthought. That whole section was recorded in a different studio and it was sort of slotted in the middle.”

Eddie Krammer: “I met Page for the first time in Pye studios when I was working on sessions of The Kinks. Page had earned a certain reputation as a studio guitarist. I also worked with John Paul Jones on a few sessions, and we became friends. Jones was a brilliant musician. He wrote arrangements for chord orchestras and he could play many instruments extremely well. Before I left England to work with Jimi Hendrix at Record Plant studio in New York, in April 1968, Jonesy had invited me at his place to have me listen to a few demos of his new group, Led Zeppelin. I remember it sounded very heavy, and I was surprised that Jimmy Page played guitar because I didn’t know they were friends. Jonesy was very proud of John Bonham, an ex-mason from the north of England who could hit it hard on the drums, as well as of Robert Plant, their wild singer. While I wasn’t convinced by the name they had chosen, I wished them good luck. Then in ’69, I was working at Electric Lady studios when I received a call from Steve Weiss, Jimi’s right-hand man, saying that Led Zeppelin was in town. Page called later to tell he wanted I help him release what they had recorded and to make a few more tracks. Led Zeppelin had been a major success for Atlantic and they were urging Jimmy to finish the second album. Their schedule however wasn’t very arranging. So we ended up listening, doubling, recording and mixing in many different studios around New York, including Groove Sound, a nice R&B 8-track studio.

From Songfacts

This opens Side 2 of Led Zeppelin II and goes right into “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (she’s just a woman)” on the album. Radio stations usually play them together, but “Maid” was never performed live by Led Zeppelin.

A crowd favorite, Led Zeppelin sometimes opened live shows with it.

At concerts, Jimmy Page would stretch out the guitar solo and incorporate bits of other songs, like “Greensleeves,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” and Bach’s “Bouree in C minor.”

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father.

Led Zeppelin opened many of their live shows in 1971 and 1972 with “Immigrant Song,” followed by a segue right into this. 

Eddie Kramer, sound engineer on Led Zeppelin II, told Guitare & Claviers in 1994 how he ended up working on the album:

Heartbreaker

Hey fellas have you heard the news?
You know that Annie’s back in town?
It won’t take long just watch and see
How the fellas lay their money down

Her style is new but the face is the same
As it was so long ago
But from her eyes a different smile
Like that of one who knows

Well it’s been ten years and maybe more
Since I first set eyes on you
The best years of my life gone by
Here I am alone and blue

Some people cry and some people die
By the wicked ways of love
But I’ll just keep on rollin’ along
With the grace of the Lord above

People talkin’ all around ’bout the way you left me flat
I don’t care what the people say, I know where their jive is at
One thing I do have on my mind, if you can clarify please do
It’s the way you call me by another guy’s name when I try to make love to you, yeah

I try to make love but it ain’t no use
Give it to me, give it

Work so hard I couldn’t unwind
Get some money saved
Abuse my love a thousand times
However hard I tried

Heartbreaker, your time has come
Can’t take your evil way
Go away heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker

Led Zeppelin – All My Love

This synth driven song was a memorable one from the In Through The Out Door album. It’s not your usual love song. It’s about Robert Plant’s son Karac who died in 1977 from a stomach virus when he was 5 years old. Robert has said “It was paying tribute to the joy that he gave us as a family.

Robert Plant holding his son Karac and walking beside his daughter

Some Zeppelin fans didn’t like this album as much. I have always liked the album but I don’t consider it their best or worse. Like with Who songs…the drums here are a stand out.

John Bonham and Jimmy Page didn’t take to the song too well. They thought it was a little too soft for Zeppelin. Page said it was fine on the album but he would not have wanted to go in that direction in the future.

Robert and John Paul Jones wrote this song.

Robert Plant: “In Through The Out Door wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but at least we were trying to vary what we were doing, for our own integrity’s sake,” “Of all the (Led Zeppelin) records, it’s interesting but a bit sanitized because we hadn’t been in the clamor and chaos for a long time. In ’77, when I lost my boy, I didn’t really want to go swinging around- ‘Hey hey mama say the way you move’ didn’t really have a great deal of import anymore.”

From Songfacts

Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and bass player John Paul Jones wrote this. The band had drifted apart, with guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham hanging out together and rarely showing up on time for recording sessions. As a result, many of the songs on In Through The Out Door were put together by Plant and Jones, with Page and Bonham adding their parts late at night.

This changes key on the last chorus.

You don’t hear much synthesizer in Led Zeppelin’s canon, but “All My Love” contains a synth solo played by John Paul Jones. In Through The Out Door was recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, which was owned by Abba. Benny Andersson of Abba had a Yamaha GX-1 synth in the studio that Jones used on the track.

This was only played live during Led Zeppelin’s 1980 tour of Germany.

Robert Plant had another son, Logan, in 1979 before In Through The Out Door was released. He has talked about how his images of Logan and Karac sometimes blur together, with his joy for Logan’s life tempered by the pain of Karac’s death. Plant’s 1993 solo track “I Believe” is also about Karac.

All My Love

Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind
Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
There moves a thread that has no end

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim
At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom
Is this to end or just begin?

All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you, oh

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

The cup is raised, the toast is made yet again
One voice is clear above the din
Proud Arianne one word, my will to sustain
For me, the cloth once more to spin, oh

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

All of my love, all of my love, yes
All of my love to you

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind, oh

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

All of my love, ooh yes, all of my love to you now
All of my love, all of my love
All of my love, love, sometimes, sometimes

Sometimes, sometimes, oh love
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Ooh yeah, it’s all my love

All of my love, all of my love, to you now

All of my love, all of my love
all of my love to, to you, you, you, yeah
I get a little bit lonely

Robert Plant – Big Log

A 1966 Mustang is what I think of when I hear this song. That was my first car in 1983. My mom foolishly got me what is now a classic car. Not a good car to give a 16-year-old. When I heard this song I knew Robert wasn’t in Zeppelin anymore. It was a smart thing to distance himself at the time.

What I remember the most is the guitar parts played by Robbie Blunt. I remember the licks he plays just as much as the words Plant sings. It’s a great song to listen to on a long car trip.

A Big Log is common lingo of tractor-trailer drivers. It is the book in which their road hours are logged, therefore the connection between the road and love and the countless hours we all log on both…

The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100, #23 in Canada, #11 in the UK, and #7 in New Zealand in 1983. The album was The Principle of Moments that peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Chart, #7 in the UK, #1 in Canada, and #

Phil Collins played drums on this and 5 other tracks on the album. He also played drums on Plant’s previous album Pictures At Eleven.

 

From Songfacts

In the video, Plant’s classic car overheats at a desolate desert gas station, which causes him to muse upon lost love. 

This was Robert Plant’s first hit as a solo artist after the break up of Led Zeppelin.

Some people know this song as “My Love Is In League With The Freeway.” The phrase “Big Log” does not appear in the lyrics.

The name “Big Log” is likely meaningless. Plant’s solo work (up until Now And Zen) and work with Led Zeppelin often featured songs with titles that had little or nothing to do with the lyrics. Also from The Principle Of Moments are the tracks “Messin’ With A Mekon,” “Horizontal Departure” and “Stranger Here… Than Over There.” 

Big Log

My love is in league with the freeway
It’s passion will rise as the cities fly by
And the tail lights dissolve in the coming of night
And the questions and thousands take flight

My love is miles in awaiting
The eyes that just stare and the glance at the clock
In the secret that burns and the pain that won’t stop
And it’s fueled with the years

Leading me on (leading me on)
Leading me down the road
Driving me on (driving me on)
Driving me down the road

My love is exceeding the limit
Red eyed and fevered with the hum of the miles
Distance and longing and my thoughts do collide
Should I rest for a while and decide

Your love is cradled in knowing
Eyes in the mirror still expecting their prey
Sensing too well when the journey is done
There is no turning back
No
There is no turning back

On the run

My love is in league
With the freeway
Oh with the freeway
And the coming of the night time
My love
My love
Is in league with the freeway