the foreward – led zeppelin “whole lotta love”

When I was a kid, I remember digging around in my parent’s stacks of records and I would find all kinds of stuff but I distinctly remember the record Led Zeppelin II.  I think I was 9 or 10 when I dug up Led Zeppelin II and heard the opening track, Whole Lotta Love. The way the speakers were set up in my house, it felt as if the music (at about the 2 minute mark) would begin to race around the living room with Robert Plant howling.  Definitely a defining moment in my early love of music!

Whole Lotta Love made its first live appearance in a Led Zeppelin set on April 26, 1969 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA.  Plant’s lyrics are mostly the same as what would appear on the album, with the exception being that he doesn’t once sing the chorus “Wanna whole lotta love”. That aside, the song remains pretty much the same as the one we all know and love. During the middle section, Page doesn’t use the theremin. The spot where it would be featured in the song instead features Bonham doing the same steady high-hat and clicking accompaniment that he would do on the album, but with Page doing a slide solo, sounding pretty much like the one he had just done a few songs earlier in Killing Floor. After Bonham and Jones join in with a rushing beat and the song comes to a slow down, Page then plays some of the solo portions he had just played in As Long As I Have You. As Page keeps soloing, Jones jumps in with parts of the backing bass line from “You Shook Me”, and then the band get into the formal return solo that would lead back to the main riff in the song. For Plant’s last solo line, he hadn’t yet gone so far as to change the original Dixon lyric into “Woman, you need IT”, so instead sings the original “You need love”. As the band crash in and the song heads towards the ending, Plant then repeats the line “Baby you need love” over and over. And the song fades out.  The Winterland show can be found as a bootleg under “Black Swan,  Smokestack Lightning”

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