Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It's probably fair to say that hearing this for the first thousand or so times stands still as a life-changing experience. I had never heard anything like it ever in my life. I accomplished the number in about the first four months of owning the album, Led Zeppelin II. As a matter of fact, I was surprised to find this in the Billboard book, and at #4 no less, as I don't remember hearing it much on the AM stations I favored at the time. It could well be that this was among the first to mark the bifurcation between AM radio and FM radio, wherein the former was the usual teenybop product (which don't get me wrong I loved), eventually modulating into the now painfully familiar all-talk-all-the-time crap (which don't get me wrong I hate), while the latter I recall bearing the mystique of "underground." At any rate I acquired the album and couldn't get enough—of this song, specifically, so it was fortunate for me that it was the first one on the first side, which facilitated an easy and quick needle lift and drop operation. How do I love this thing? Let me count the ways. There's the pounding riff, which is thrilling. There's the way the drums are produced to ride along right out front of everything, after coming in late. There's that scraping, sliding sound guitarist Jimmy Page makes to respond to the nasal chorus chant of "wanna whole lotta love." There's the big spacy break a minute and a half in, where it feels like you must be floating around in space or something. "Ah ah ah ... ahhh ahhh ahhh," goes Robert Plant, owner of another of the great rock 'n' roll voices. Then there's the brilliant return from this break, which can still knock me over. There's wanting to hear it again every time it ends. There's never enough of it, or wasn't, anyway, for quite a long time.