Led Zeppelin’s Reimagining Of The Blues Began With Whole Lotta Love

Led Zeppelin Songs

Photo Credit: By Jim Summaria, http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com/ (Contact us/Photo submission) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

One of Led Zeppelin’s greatest songs was released on their second album appropriately entitled “Led Zeppelin II.”  When Willie Dixon wrote the lyrics “Way down Inside, women you need love,” he probably never imagined that line would become one of the most iconic vocal licks in rock history. Robert Plant took a great deal of heat for using Willie Dixon’s line in Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” In retrospect, the band’s management should have originally credited Dixon’s lyrics. However, what was lost in the hoopla surrounding the plagiarism, was the fact that blues musicians borrowed from each other since the start of the twentieth century.

The idealism of the blues was deep rooted in the nineteenth century cotton fields of the American landscape. Stories of hard times, infidelity and sexual conquest have been rewritten time and again over the same three chord changes and minor blues scales. Legendary blues artist Robert Johnson took nineteenth century blues patterns and developed the genre into a form that has been an inspiration for musicians from early jazz artists like John Coltrane to blues artists like Muddy Water. Johnson’s work continued to inspire rock bands like The Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin.

Even the Ramones, utilized the same three chord changes of the blues. Nonetheless, it was the augmentation of the blues within the genres of metal music that distinguished artists from each other. Led Zeppelin and the Ramones have long been crowned as ground breaking bands that heavily influenced generations of aspiring rock musicians. Both bands simply reinterpreted the blues with authentic original styles that furiously gained mass popularity.

Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” was a magnificent rendering of the blues. It was Zeppelin’s cornerstone moment because it pointed the band into the musical direction that would mold their sound for the majority of the band’s career. All four band members defined their individual sound and talents within the song. That individuality taken as a collective whole transpired into a sound that was unique and enormously appealing to a music loving culture. The release of “Whole Lotta Love,” stands as possibly the most important moment in the history of Led Zeppelin.

For an in-depth look at how the blues inspired and defined the development of rock and roll which eventually led to the Classic Rock period, check out our massive twenty five thousand word article on The Story of Classic Rock.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Tom Neokleous September 7, 2015
  2. Avatar JJ Coliflower March 23, 2022

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