Led Zeppelin II

So 3 out of the last 11 albums have been Zeppelin records.  That’s a pretty good run.  So far I think only the Beatles, Dylan, and the Stones have as many records on the list.  Good company.  And it’s a good thing I dig Zep.  After writing about the first Led Zeppelin album, I went on a Zep spree and picked up all of their classic albums.  This was one I found at one of the local Half Price Books (I think it was the Lane Avenue store) for $6.99 (minus my 10% discount for inspiring the youth of America).  And it’s probably right up there with Zep I as my two favorite Zeppelin albums.  I think Jimmy Page was at his bluesiest when Zep first started, and I just love the dirty electric blues guitar riffs on this record, especially on “Whole Lotta Love” and “Heartbreaker”.  And even though Robert Plant seemed busy writing sleazy innuendos on just about every song, he takes a break from the sexual metaphors to throw in his first Tolkien reference when he tries unsuccessfully to rescue a girl from Gollum in the “darkest depths of Mordor” in the song “Ramble On”.

Page and Plant also managed to write a pretty tender ballad in the song “Thank You”.  That was a song I actually discovered through Tori Amos back in college when I was going through a Tori phase mostly thanks to the Drama Queen.  The Tori version was on her “Crucify” single, which also featured stellar covers of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the Stones’ “Angie”.  When Tori covers a song, she completely reworks it (another incredible Tori cover is her version of “Losing My Religion” on the Higher Learning soundtrack), but on “Thank You” she is surprisingly faithful to the original.  And speaking of covers, on the With the Lights Out boxset (which is honestly a mostly terrible compilation), there is a cover of “Heartbreaker” done by a very young Nirvana as a request at a party happened to be playing.  You can tell Cobain doesn’t really know the song, but he goes to town on the riff, and you can hear where he started to develop that fat guitar sound that he perfected on Nevermind.  The influence of Zeppelin, baby…it’s everywhere!

Other lists: “Whole Lotta Love” is #75, “Heartbreaker” is #328, and “Ramble On” is #440 on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  See the entry for Led Zeppelin I for Zep’s other honors and accolades.

Ch-ch-changes: This album dropped 4 spots from its original position at #75 due to the addition of CCR’s Chronicle and the rise of Radiohead’s Kid A, Paul Simon’s Graceland, and James Brown’s Star Time.

My favourite track: “Whole Lotta Love”

Honourable mention: “Ramble On”

Quote: “Got no time for spreadin’ roots, now it’s time to be gone.  And though our health we drank a thousand times, it’s time to ramble on.”

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