Thursday, August 5, 2010
Albums2010 #20: II
Hmmm, can someone help me out on this score? Would the title of the album be 'II' or would it be the somewhat redundant 'Led Zeppelin II'? An interesting thought. Anyway, well, here's Led Zeppelin's first entry onto the list and, well, what can you say? It's Led Zeppelin. Considered by many to be one of the greatest rock n'roll bands of all time and listening to this album, it's not hard to see why that is so. There's not a bad song on this album. Period, end of discussion. It's pretty much kick-ass from start to finish.
Second of all, the combination of this band is probably one of the most fortunate coincidences in all of rock n'roll, for Led Zeppelin emerged from the wreckage of The Yardbirds (another great band, which Clapton called home for awhile) before evolving into the line-up of Plant, Page, Bonham and Jones which went on to deepen the sound of the band, earning it the moniker of 'the heaviest band in rock n'roll' and almost pushing themselves into heavy metal territory. I personally wouldn't go that fire, but there's no denying that Led Zep is not, at least with this album, about the acoustic, the light, the fluffy or the experimental. II is rock n'roll at its best, with my personal favorites being the duo of 'Heartbreaker/Livin' Loving Maid' and 'Bring It On Home.'
But the interesting song on this album has to be the purely instrumental 'Moby Dick' which sees John Bonham take what could be a simple, run of the mill drum solo and turn it into a lengthy, intricate piece of percussive art, making it probably the first time I've heard a drum solo with all the quality of a guitar solo in any song on any album I've ever heard. (Side question: greatest drummer of all time? No question Bonham belongs in the debate- but you can throw in Keith Moon of The Who (also died before his time) and of course, Neil Purt of Rush, who would be my personal pick. But discuss amongst yourselves.)
Other interesting tidbits from/related to this album: For the fans of classic British television out there, the song 'Whole Lotta Love' will of course, be familiar as a long time theme song for now canceled music show, 'Top Of the Pops.' Thing #2 that I found interesting: Led Zeppelin was signed to Atlantic Records without actually being heard by anyone from Atlantic, mainly on the strength of a recommendation from, of all people, Dusty Springfield. (So sayeth Wikipedia, anyway- and she sang 'Son of A Preacher Man.' Youtube it if you don't know it, peeps.)
Also another interesting question raised by this album: when did British folk become so damn good at the blues? No really, I'm asking. Of course- by this point in the rock n'roll chronology, peeps should have been fairly familiar with the idea, with The Yardbird, Cream and others too numerous too mention playing with the sound, mood and melodies of the blues. However, this album is drenched with the perfect fusion of blues and rock n'roll with a healthy dose of power that makes Led Zeppelin one of the greatest bands in rock history.
Overall: Dude, it's Led Zeppelin- perhaps not their best album ever, but how do you make a bad album when you kick ass in general? Personally, 'Bring It On Home' makes this album worth listening too. And if you're a true fan of rock n'roll you should own some Led Zeppelin albums and II is a worthy addition to any music lovers collection.