Whole Lotta Love

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"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) (US)
Format 7-inch single
RecordedMay 1969
Studio Olympic, London
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Good Times Bad Times"
"Whole Lotta Love"
"Immigrant Song"
Audio sample

"Whole Lotta Love" is a song by English hard rock band Led Zeppelin. It is the opening track on the band's second album, Led Zeppelin II , and was released in the United States, several countries in Europe, and Japan as a single; as with other Led Zeppelin songs, no single was released in the United Kingdom. The US release became their first hit single, being certified Gold on 13 April 1970, having sold one million copies. [4] It reached number one in Australia and Germany and number four in the Netherlands and the United States. 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.

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Led Zeppelin English rock band

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. Along with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the originators of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia and folk music.

<i>Led Zeppelin II</i> 1969 studio album by Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin II is the second album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released on 22 October 1969 in the United States and on 31 October 1969 in the United Kingdom by Atlantic Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at several locations in both the United Kingdom and North America from January to August 1969. The album's production was credited to the band's lead guitarist and songwriter Jimmy Page, and it was also Led Zeppelin's first album on which Eddie Kramer served as engineer. It was entirely recorded using the core band members, Page (guitar), Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham (drums).


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 magazine 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]

<i>Rolling Stone</i><span class="nowrap" style="padding-left:0.1em;">'</span>s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time Wikimedia list article

"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" was the cover story of a special issue of Rolling Stone, issue number 963, published in December 2004, a year after the magazine published its list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".

Q is a popular music magazine published monthly in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1986 by the journalists and broadcasters Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, who were presenters of the BBC television music series Whistle Test.

VH1 American cable television network

VH1 is an American pay television network based in New York City owned by Viacom. It was originally created by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, at the time a division of Warner Communications and the original owner of MTV, and launched on January 1, 1985, in the former space of Turner Broadcasting System's short-lived Cable Music Channel.

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, 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]

Jimmy Page British guitarist of Led Zeppelin

James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Pangbourne village in the United Kingdom

Pangbourne is a large village and civil parish on the River Thames in the English county of Berkshire. Pangbourne has its own shops, schools, a railway station on the Great Western Line and a parish hall. Outside its grouped developed area is an independent school, Pangbourne College.

John Paul Jones (musician) Multi-instrumentalist, producer, bassist of Led Zeppelin

John Richard Baldwin, better known by his stage name John Paul Jones, is an English musician and record producer who was the bassist and keyboardist in the rock band Led Zeppelin. Prior to forming the band with Jimmy Page in 1968, he was a session musician and arranger. After the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, Zeppelin disbanded and Jones developed a solo career. He has collaborated with musicians across a variety of genres, including Josh Homme and Dave Grohl with the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures.

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]

Thirty-two-bar form song structure commonly found in U.S. popular music in the early 20th century; consists of 4 sections: an 8-bar A section; a second 8-bar A section, similar to the 1st; an 8-bar B section, with contrasting harmony; and a final 8-bar A section

The 32-bar form, also known as the AABA song form, American popular song form and the ballad form, is a song structure commonly found in Tin Pan Alley songs and other American popular music, especially in the first half of the 20th century.

Free jazz is an approach to jazz that developed in the 1960s when musicians attempted to change or break down jazz conventions, such as regular tempos, tones, and chord changes. Musicians during this period believed that the bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz that had been played before them was too limiting. They became preoccupied with creating something new. Free jazz has often been combined with or substituted for the term "avant-garde jazz". Europeans tend to favor the term "free improvisation". Others have used "modern jazz", "creative music", and "art music".

Theremin electronic music instrument

The theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the thereminist (performer). It is named after its inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.


Upon release of the LP, radio stations looked for a track that would fit their on-air formats from the quickly successful LP with the pulsing lead track "Whole Lotta Love" being the prime contender. However, because many radio stations saw the freeform middle section as unfit to air they simply created their own edited versions. Atlantic Records was quick to respond and in addition to the release of the regular single in the US (coupled with "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)" from the same LP as the B-side) released a 3:10 version of the track with the freeform section cut and an earlier fade-out on 7 November 1969. The edited version was intended for radio station promotional release but some copies were apparently released commercially in the US and are a collector's item for fans. The song was released as a single in the US, France, Germany (as No 1), Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia (where it was also issued as an EP) and Japan (countries where the band had less control). The edited version was withdrawn.

Living Loving Maid (Shes Just a Woman) single

"Living Loving Maid " is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their album Led Zeppelin II, released in 1969. It was also released as the B-side of the single "Whole Lotta Love". The song is about a groupie who stalked the band early in their career. A misprint by Atlantic Records resulted in the original UK pressings of Led Zeppelin II being titled "Livin' Lovin' Wreck ", with the "Wreck" corrected to "Maid" and the subtitle changed on the US and later releases.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

In the United Kingdom, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on 5 December 1969, but this was cancelled by request of manager Peter Grant. [10]

Peter Grant (music manager) British music manager

Peter Grant was an English music manager and film actor. Grant managed popular English bands the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and Bad Company, among others, and was also a record executive for Swan Song Records. Grant has been described as "one of the shrewdest and most ruthless managers in rock history". He is widely credited with improving pay and conditions for musicians in dealings with concert promoters.

Several years later, Atlantic Records reissued "Whole Lotta Love" (with its original B-side "Living Loving Maid") on its Oldies Series label (OS-13116) with a slight error. The edited 3:10 version was used for the reissue, but the labels were printed with the unedited running time of 5:33. In 1997 Atlantic Records released a CD-single edited (to 4:50 this time) from the original 1969 recording of the song. This version charted in the UK where the band had maintained control over single releases during their existence.

Similarities to "You Need Love"

In 1962, Muddy Waters recorded a blues vocal, "You Need Love", for Chess Records. [12] 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. [12] 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 [12]

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. [13] 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". [13] 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". [14] Plant explained in an interview with Musician magazine:

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. [15]

Charts and live history

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. [16] Live, the song debuted 26 April 1969. [17] Live versions of "Whole Lotta Love" were released officially on the following titles:

"Whole Lotta Love" was the last song Led Zeppelin played live. It was however performed again at the band's reunions at Live Aid in 1985 (with drummers Phil Collins and Tony Thompson), at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988, and at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at the O2 Arena, London, on 10 December 2007 (both with drummer Jason Bonham).[ citation needed ]


Spin US"100 Greatest Singles of All Time" [18] 198939
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] 199930
VH1 US"100 Greatest Rock Songs" [21] 200946
Rolling Stone US"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" [22] 200375
Q UK"100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever" [23] 20053
Toby Creswell Australia"1001 Songs: the Great Songs of All Time" [24] 2005*
Grammy Awards US"Grammy Hall of Fame Award" [25] 2007*
Rolling StoneUS"100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" [26] 200811
VH1US"VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs" [1] 20093
BBC Radio 2 UK"Radio 2's Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs" [5] 20141

(*) designates unordered lists.

Charts and certifications

Appearances and covers

The song has been widely covered by many artists. It was 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. 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 British charts in autumn 1970. The song returned as the theme in 1998, this time using a reworked version of the original Led Zeppelin guitar riff. [62]

A cover of the song by the American band King Curtis and the Kingpins reached number 64 on US pop charts and number 43 on the R&B charts in 1971 and was performed live at the Fillmore West the same year.

Tina Turner covered the song for her 1975 album Acid Queen , and the single reached number 61 on the R&B charts.

A cover of the song by British band Goldbug, including a sample of "Asteroid" (the Pearl & Dean advertising music) [63] reached number 3 in the UK charts in 1996. [64]

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. [65]

The 2008 Foreigner compilation album No End in Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner contains a live version of "Juke Box Hero" which crosses into "Whole Lotta Love" at one point. [66]

See also

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