Whole Lotta Love


"Whole Lotta Love" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It is the opening track on the band's second album, Led Zeppelin II, and was released as a single in 1969 in several countries; as with other Led Zeppelin songs, no single was released in the United Kingdom. In the United States, it became their first hit and was certified gold.[4] Parts of the song were adapted from Willie Dixon's "You Need Love", recorded by Muddy Waters in 1962; originally uncredited to Dixon, a lawsuit in 1985 was settled with a payment to Dixon and credit on subsequent releases.

"Whole Lotta Love"
French single picture sleeve
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin II
B-side"Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)"
Released7 November 1969 (1969-11-07)
StudioOlympic, London
Genre
Length5:33
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Good Times Bad Times"
(1969)
"Whole Lotta Love"
(1969)
"Immigrant Song"
(1970)
Audio sample

In 2004, the song was ranked number 75 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and in March 2005, Q placed "Whole Lotta Love" at number three in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. It was placed 11 on a similar list by Rolling Stone. In 2009 it was named the third greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[1] In 2014, listeners to BBC Radio 2 voted "Whole Lotta Love" as containing the greatest guitar riff of all time.[5]

Composition and recording


Jimmy Page came up with the guitar riff for "Whole Lotta Love" in the summer of 1968, on his houseboat on the River Thames at Pangbourne, Berkshire, England.[6] John Paul Jones has stated that Page's famous riff probably emerged from a stage improvisation during the band's playing of "Dazed and Confused".[7] Page denied that the song originated onstage and that he had the riff and the rest took it from there.[8]

The song is in compound AABA form.[9] Playing the loose blues riff for the intro, on a Sunburst 1958 Les Paul Standard guitar,[10] which ascends into the first chorus. Then, beginning at 1:24 (and lasting until 3:02) the song dissolves to a free jazz-like break involving a theremin solo and a drum solo and the orgasmic moans of Robert Plant. Audio engineer Eddie Kramer explained that he and Page experimented with mixing the album and left in some audio tape bleed through from an earlier vocal take.[11] Page also employed the backwards echo production technique.[10]

Release


On 7 November 1969, "Whole Lotta Love" was released as a single in several countries, with "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)" as the B-side.[12] Billboard described the single as a "powerful, commercial swinger that should have no trouble putting [Led Zeppelin] up the Hot 100."[13] In the UK, Atlantic Records expected to issue an edited version, and pressed initial copies for release on 5 December 1969, but this was cancelled by request of manager Peter Grant.[10]

Similarities to "You Need Love"


In 1962, Muddy Waters recorded a blues vocal, "You Need Love", for Chess Records.[14] As he had done with "You Shook Me", Waters overdubbed vocals on an instrumental track previously recorded by blues guitarist Earl Hooker and his band.[14] Willie Dixon wrote the lyrics, which Dixon biographer Mitsutoshi Inaba describes as being "about the necessity of love":

You've got yearnin' and I got burnin'
Baby you look so ho sweet and cunnin'
Baby way down inside, woman you need love
Woman you need love, you've got to have some love
I'm gon' give you some love, I know you need love[14]

In 1966, British band the Small Faces recorded the song as "You Need Loving" for their eponymous debut Decca album. According to Steve Marriott, the group's vocalist and guitarist, Page and Plant attended several Small Faces gigs, where they expressed their interest in the song.[15] Plant's phrasing is particularly similar to that of Marriott's, who added "he [Plant] sang it the same, phrased it the same, even the stops at the end were the same".[15] Similarities with "You Need Love" led to a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin in 1985, settled out of court in favour of Dixon for an undisclosed amount.[10] On subsequent releases, Dixon's name is included on the credits for "Whole Lotta Love".[16] Plant explained in an interview with Musician:

Page's riff was Page's riff. It was there before anything else. I just thought, 'well, what am I going to sing?' That was it, a nick. Now happily paid for. At the time, there was a lot of conversation about what to do. It was decided that it was so far away in time and influence that ... well, you only get caught when you're successful. That's the game.[17]

Accolades


Accolades
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Spin US "100 Greatest Singles of All Time"[18] 1989 39
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame US "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll"[19] 1994 *
Classic Rock UK "Ten of the Best Songs Ever!.. (Bubbling under)"[20] 1999 30
Rolling Stone US "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"[21] 2003 75
Q UK "100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever"[22] 2005 3
Toby Creswell Australia "1001 Songs: the Great Songs of All Time"[23] 2005 *
Grammy Awards US "Grammy Hall of Fame Award"[24] 2007 *
Rolling Stone US "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time"[25] 2008 11
VH1 US "The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time"[26] 2009 46
VH1 US "VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs"[1] 2009 3
BBC Radio 2 UK "Radio 2's Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs"[5] 2014 1

(*) designates unordered lists.

Charts and certifications


The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 22 November 1969. It remained on the chart for 15 weeks, peaking at no. 4 and becoming the band's only top 10 single in the US.[27]

Appearances and covers


The song has been widely covered by many artists. It is famous in the United Kingdom for having been the theme music for the long-running television programme Top of the Pops for much of its history.[62]

Collective Consciousness Society version

The first version used was based on a recording by the Collective Consciousness Society (or C.C.S.), a band led by blues guitarist Alexis Korner. The C.C.S. version reached No. 13 on the UK singles chart in autumn 1970. The song returned as the theme in 1998, this time using a reworked version of the original Led Zeppelin guitar riff.[63]

Chart (1970–1971) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[64] 26
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[65] 37
UK Singles (OCC)[66] 13
US Billboard Hot 100[67] 58

King Curtis and the Kingpins version

A cover of the song by the American band King Curtis and the Kingpins reached No. 64 on US pop chart and No. 43 on the R&B chart in 1971.[67][68] His performance of the song at the Fillmore West was released on the 1971 live album Live at Fillmore West.[69]

Chart (1971) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[67] 64
US Billboard Soul Singles[68] 43

Tina Turner version

Tina Turner covered the song for her 1975 album Acid Queen. Released on United Artists Records, her version reached No. 61 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 45 on the Record World R&B chart.[70][71]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot Soul Singles[70] 61
US Record World R&B Singles[71] 45

Goldbug version

A cover of the song by British band Goldbug, including a sample of "Asteroid" (the Pearl & Dean advertising music)[72] reached No. 3 in the UK singles chart in 1996.[73]

Chart (1996) Peak
position
Ireland (IRMA)[74] 24
Netherlands (Dutch Single Tip)[75] 9
UK Singles (OCC)[73] 3

Other covers

A rewritten version of the song featured in the "London 2012" presentation during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing on 24 August 2008, with Jimmy Page on guitar and Leona Lewis providing the vocals. Both Lewis and the organisers requested that some of the lyrics be changed, notably "I'm gonna give you every inch of my love". Lewis felt that the line made little sense coming from a female singer.[76]

See also


References


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