Classic Rock Review

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Led Zeppelin II (1969)

600full-led-zeppelin-ii-coverFrom puluche.com

Led Zeppelin already had an impressive touring schedule under their belts when they released their sophomore album, Led Zeppelin II. They had completed touring around the UK and the States, but Led Zeppelin II would be the album that would cement them into rock history.

The album was released in October 1969, a mere nine months after their debut, and was recorded and produced in between their hectic touring schedule. The blues influenced quartet took their initial more psychedelic approach and fused it with harder, bluesier rock to create one of the most influential rock albums to date.

“Whole Lotta Love” is one of the band’s biggest, most recognizable songs. Jimmy Page’s opening riff accompanied by John Paul Jones’ bass starts off the album in true hard rock fashion. The other rock of the late 1960s was nothing compared to the heaviness that Page and his band mates were bringing to the forefront. This paired with the wailing vocals of the “golden god” Robert Plant made the track an instant classic. It oozes sex appeal without losing any of its integrity.

“Whole Lotta Love” is followed by “What is and What Should Never Be,” which starts out in a bit of spacey fashion but picks up in the chorus. While it is overall a good song, the lyrics aren’t the strongest. Plant’s delivery is great, but other tracks on the album are superior in lyrical content.

Next up is “The Lemon Song,” the longest and by far the sleaziest track on Led Zeppelin II. The band digs deep into their blues roots for this one and they don’t disappoint. Page’s blues guitar work is gritty and groovy, with the rhythm section following suit. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair not to mention Plant’s stunning vocals. Very few vocalists could take the phallic symbol of a lemon and scream out some of the best blues rock of the 20th century.

Led Zeppelin II also contains two more of the band’s biggest tracks, “Heartbreaker” and “Living Loving Maid.” “Heartbreaker” features another Page riff that is instantly recognizable, while “Living Loving Maid” contains one of the catchiest choruses.

“Ramble On” is one of the album’s best both musically and lyrically. It starts with Page’s soft acoustic playing, with Jones laying down a solid bass in the back. The chorus, however, changes everything with Page, Jones, and drummer extraordinaire John Bonham ripping and playing at full force. Plant’s vocals and song writing are also on full display, with his infamous nods to J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings making an appearance.

When talking about Zeppelin, it also wouldn’t be fair not to mention the genius that is John Bonham. His skills are some of the best the music world has ever seen, which is evident on “Moby Dick.” While some may find the track odd or boring, it truly shows how masterful Bonham was as a percussionist. Whether with his sticks or with his hands, Bonham knew how to make the drums speak and no one did it so powerfully.

The album closes with the blues tune “Bring It On Home,” which seems fitting. Led Zeppelin II was and is some of the heaviest work the band has ever produced and really delves into the dirty blues on which they were raised.

Commendations
It is very easy to say that this album is some of Zeppelin’s best work. “Whole Lotta Love” has spanned decades and is still a staple on any rock lovers’ playlist. Page’s iconic riff and Plant’s incredible, powerful vocals entrance the listener, keeping the song relevant over 40 years later. “Heartbreaker” and “Living Loving Maid” are other classic, catchy tunes that have stood the test of time.

The band’s longevity cannot be credited to any one member. It must be attributed to the individual talents of Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham. Each member is a key ingredient that could not be subtracted from the equation. Page’s guitar, Bonham’s drums, Jones’ bass, and Plant’s wail are all individually stunning but sound even better when combined.

While the songwriting developed and expanded over the years, Led Zeppelin II is still a masterful creation from one of the most distinctive bands in all of music history. They crafted a blues based style of rock and made music that is nostalgic but timeless. No one can imitate the mighty Zeppelin…and no one ever will.

Next Steps
Following the release of Led Zeppelin II, Zeppelin continued to tour and build a massive following. In 1970, the band began working on Led Zeppelin III, which was highly influenced by Celtic and folk music. 1971 saw the release of the band’s most notable song, “Stairway to Heaven,” which is said to be the most requested song in rock radio.

After a string of incredibly successful album releases, tragedy struck in 1980. Drummer John Bonham was found dead in his hotel room. The band’s scheduled tour was cancelled and the members decided to part ways.

Since the breakup, the band has reunited at various points over the years, with Bonham’s son Jason filling in on the drums. Their last gig together took place at the O2 arena in 2007.

January 7, 2014 Posted by | Led Zeppelin II | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin II (1969)

LED%20ZEPPELIN%20II%20CDFrom amazon.com

Review This album is a prime example of why Bonham, Jones, Page, & Plant are legends in the Rock & Roll industry. It has everything a R & R fan could possibly want. A bluesy feel, tight Guitar riffs, solos from the soul, well constructed songs, layers of music, & passionate vocals. For me the true cohesion comes from the rhythm section. Bonham’s drums drives the band ever forward while JP Jones is ethereal on the keyboards & perfect on the bass Guitar. There are no duds on this their Sophmore album.

These are my seven favourites in no particular order. “Heartbreaker,” opens with a classic riff. The midsection flows to an improvisational section with a fine Guitar solo. Here the lyrics & music blend easily. I have always liked this one more than the more publicized “Whole Lotta Love.” “Moby Dick,” is a fine instrumental with Bonham’s drum midsection carrying it. “Living Loving Maid,” is often paired in direct succession with “Heartbreaker.” It’s an upbeat rocker with a memorable riff & a contagious melody.

“The Lemon Song,” has one great bass line as JP Jones moves smoothly throughout as the crescendo than picks up & takes flight. “What Is And What Should Never Be,” is a very different type of song that is hard to classify. I have been told by musicians that this is one of the harder Zeppelin songs to learn. Here the interesting lyrics play as a melodic counterpoint to Plant’s vocals. “Ramble On,” is the driving other side of the latter song representing moving on from the angst of love. This is one of the most underrated of Led Zeppelin’s songs. “Thank You,” clearly is the bands best ballad until “In Through The Outdoor’s All My Love.” This one is smooth & brings out the romantic in the listener.

This is one of their three best albums. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

Review After toiling the summer of my 14th year, I finally saved enough money to buy my first turntable (an $88 Pioneer which, I am pleased to say, I still own and, 23 years later, it runs like a champ). Soon thereafter, I began assembling my record collection. Led Zeppelin II was my first purchase. Over time, I bought all the Led Zep albums, and listened to them all until the vinyl was pretty well worn out. However, Led Zep II always remained my favorite Led Zep album. Special memories of Led Zep II include the time that I invited a special young lady over to my house and, to impress her (dumb, I know), I cranked up Whole Lotta Love for the guitar jam following the relatively quiet stuff with the violin bows, only to have most of the speaker componentry of my father’s hand built Heathkit speakers explode into a useless, spasmodic pile of writhing, twitching cardboard-like material and coils. It took me about four months to save enough pesos to buy a new pair of speakers.
Anyway, on to something Amazon readers might find useful:

Led Zep II is a classic rock and roll album, but what makes it particularly good is the way each song works so well with the songs around it. I’ve noticed other reviewers have made similar comments. You could not pull this material and drop it into a “Greatest Hits” album and have it work. Imagine going from Whole Lotta Love, straight into Stairway to Heaven! No way! Another key is to have the right stereo equipment. It is my opinion that stereo equipment is designed to complement the music of the day. Hence, one would be best served to find a vintage amplifier or receiver to play this music. You don’t want some amplifier-on-a-chip setup. Also, milquetoast speakers are out. A simple rule of thumb is, if you can lift your speakers, they are insufficient for this album.

One negative, the sound quality on Led Zep II is pretty poor. Not as dreadful as on Led Zep I, but not up to today’s standards. Of course, Michelangelo’s cracked and faded painting of the Sistine Chapel doesn’t exactly exhibit the highest “signal-to-noise” ratio ever, but it’s still a classic. The reason why I bring this up is because I just bought the “digitally remastered” CD to replace my older “original CD” version of Led Zep II. In doing side by side comparisons, the improvement in sound quality is remarkable. Particularly in the quiet parts of Moby Dick, the background hiss of the older CD is much more apparent than in the new. Hiss is still there, but much less noticeable. For purists, the new mixing does not eradicate the rawness of the original. Bottom line: if you own Led Zep II, but in the older CD version or, God forbid, on vinyl, you owe it to yourself to upgrade. It’s worth the money.

Finally, the obligatory ranking of my favorite Led Zep albums in order: II, I, IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti.

As I mature and mellow (or more accurately, get older), I like III much more.

May 4, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin II | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin II (1969)

LED%20ZEPPELIN%20II%20CDFrom sfloman.com

By now Zep were something of a sensation, if not with clueless critics than at least with fans, especially in the U.S. where their phenomenal live shows (famously blowing the likes of Iron Butterfly and Vanilla Fudge off the stage) and outrageous offstage antics were becoming the stuff of legend. This second album was written and recorded in between touring commitments, and it’s the album on which Robert Plant started to assert himself as a songwriter; from here on out the Page-Plant partnership would write the bulk of the band’s songs.

Above all else, Led Zeppelin II is one of the greatest riff albums ever, as Zep was still primarily Page’s vision and he was the dominant instrumentalist, though again each member shines and their impeccable chemistry is omnipresent. The band’s first #1 album, Led Zeppelin II fittingly toppled Abbey Road from its lofty perch, thereby signally a changing of the guard within the rock hierarchy.

Unfortunately, for all the album’s plentiful virtues, it is not without its fair share of flaws, perhaps chief among them being the band’s laziness when it came to writing their own stuff (especially their own lyrics). Let’s face it, the ill-informed nitwits who think that “all Zep did was rip off the blues” are mostly referring to their first two albums, and this is the album that got them in the most trouble, with Willie Dixon successfully suing the band for writing credits for not one but two songs (“Whole Lotta Love” and “Bring It On Home”).

These were unfortunate lapses in judgment by the band that brought them much grief, all the more regrettable because again the main strength of this album lies in the mighty playing of a powerhouse band, plus some terrific original compositions, some of which (“What Is And What Should Never Be,” “Thank You,” “Ramble On”) had little to do with the blues. A menacing riff for the ages begins “Whole Lotta Love,” easily one of Led Zeppelin’s greatest songs (despite its borrowed lyrics) and a heavy metal prototype.

Among the song’s most notable attributes are its inspired mid-section, which features some difficult to describe, ahead of its time studio experimentation (much credit there goes to engineer Eddie Kramer, who not coincidentally also worked with Jimi Hendrix, one of the few other artists to create such otherworldly sounds in the service of accessible songs), a devastating Page/Bonham guitar/drum volley, Plant’s sexually charged vocals highlighted by his “way down inside, woman, you need LOOOVVVEEE!!!” scream, and a fantastic fadeout ending, which was quickly becoming a band trademark.

An edited single actually cracked the U.S. top 5, though curiously enough the band never released a single in their U.K. homeland, preferring to be looked upon as an album act instead (such a strategy being one of many innovations by manager Peter Grant, who was integral to the band’s enormous success).

Anyway, next up is the excellent “What Is And What Should Never Be,” which features dreamy, jazzy verses and catchy, hard-hitting choruses, not to mention superbly understated playing by the whole band. “The Lemon Song” is a long blues that borrows from both Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues,” though on the latter (which the band would cover brilliantly; more about that later) only its controversial, blatantly sexual lyrics. “Stealing” or not, the song is only partially successful, anyway, highlighted by some great playing from Page and Jones but somewhat undone by Plant’s cartoonish, none too subtle ad-libbing.

“Thank You” closes out what used to be side one with a gorgeous ballad with wedding song worthy lyrics (an area that was becoming Plant’s domain) that must have shocked some of the band’s critics, as Plant gives one of his finest vocal performances and Jones again plays beautifully on his Hammond organ. Then again, critics who continued to suggest that Zep lacked depth and subtlety surely missed this number; for one thing, the fact that Bonham could shine so brightly even on a slow ballad was a true testament to his greatness. Side 2 begins with the classic “Heartbreaker,” a bluesy riff rocker famous for Page’s unaccompanied guitar solo; then the rest of the band joins in and Page adds another great guitar solo for good measure, while Plant chips in with a notable “evil woman” lyric.

Like “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends,” among others, on the radio (like on this album) “Heartbreaker” is always followed by the short, catchy, but overly repetitive “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid,” while “Ramble On” again shows the band’s ability to be both beautifully understated (the verses) and incredibly powerful (the choruses). This classic is also notable for being their first of several songs with Tolkien inspired lyrics, for Bonham’s unique bongo-like drum sound (supposedly achieved by hitting a plastic garbage can), for Plant’s vintage vocal performance, and for featuring another creative fadeout ending, as Plant powerfully fades in and out of the left and right speakers.

Closing things out are “Moby Dick,” an impressive (if not all that it could’ve been) showcase for Bonham’s drumming whose best feature is actually Page’s great riffs, and “Bring It On Home,” which overcomes its slow Sonny Boy Williamson-inspired start to become another memorably amped up take on the blues. Many critics call this the first “heavy metal album,” but that (as usual) undersells Zeppelin’s eclecticism, and II really isn’t any heavier than I. However, it is another classic, though II is a little less consistent than I overall.

March 24, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin II | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin II (1969)

LED ZEPPELIN II CDFrom sputnikmusic.com

This album is the amazing follow up to their great debut album Led Zeppelin I. This album doesn’t have as many blues influenced songs, it has more hardrocker songs. Also, this album includes John Bonham’s epic drum solo, Moby Dick. Jimmy Page adds some amazing guitar solo, that make thw album even greater. Each member of the band contributes to the album, which is why I think it is such a great album. This is also a great album to start with, if you want to start listening to Led Zeppelin. I think this album is just a little better than Led Zeppelin I.

THE SONGS
1.) Whole Lotta Love
This song begins with an opening riff that I think everyone has heard at least once. The bass joins in, and Plant starts singing the first verse shortly after. Bonham joins in atthe beginning of the chorus, and continues throughout the song. After the second singing of the chorus, the famous weird part of the song with all the synthesizer. This is the only part of the song I’m not to fond of, I don’t think it flows with song to good. This lasts for about a minute and twenty seconds, Then Page starts his little solo inbetween the drum beats. Plant sings another verse, then he has his solo where he just sings, while the rest of the bands quite. The song ends on Plant singing, while Bonham has some great fills. Overall, this song is a alltime classic, and is probably my second favorite song on the album. 5/5

2.) What Is And What Should Never Be
The song starts out with Plant singing, and the rest of the band playing a soft, mellow riff. The song gets a lot harder when the chorus starts, then mellows down again for the verses. After the second singing of the chorus, Page plays the verse, and chorus as a solo. Plant sings one more verse. The song ends with a jam, while Plant sings, and the song fades out. 4.5/5

3.) The lemon Song
This is the longest song on the album at 6:20, and this is kind of a jam song, which is kind of unique for the album. It starts off with the sound of a gong, and some fuzzy guitar in the background. Then, the rest of the band starts in. Page has some nice fills inbetween verses. After the second verse a real upbeat tone takes over, and Page has a good, fast-paced solo. After it’s over the main riff starts back up again, and I think the transition back sounds really cool. Then, a the jam starts up with Page singing, Page with some more nice fills, and the bass is really prevelent during this part. Page has a solo, then then the upbeat riff starts up again. The song ends right after that’s over. 5/5

4.) Thank You
This is the softest song on the album, and is a nice song for a little break from the hard rocker that make up most of the album. It starts out with Page on the acoustic. During the verses JPJ plays organ while Page plays lightly in the backdround. Binham joins back in during the chorus. then, Page has a little solo, that flows good with the song. Plant songs another two verses. The song ends on JPJ playing the organ, and the song slowly fades out. 4.5/5

5.) Heartbreaker
This is another one of the very recognizable Zeppelin songs, and is another one of the rockers on the album. It starts out with unmistakable riff that everyone knows. Inbetween the first and socond verses they play the opening rif over again. after the second verse the best solo on the album begins, I think it’s one of Page’s most recognizable solos, and one of his best. Then the band joins in with the solo, which makes it even better. Plant sings one more verse, and the song ends on Plant singing “heartbreaker”. This is my favorite song on the album, and is one of the best rock songs of alltime. 5/5

6.) Living Loving Maid (She’s just a Woman)
This song starts right after Heartbreaker’s over. It’s the shortest song on the album at 2:40. The only thing I don’t like about this song is it’s to short. It’s very upbeat, and has an awesome sounding riff. It has a little solo in the middle, that’s pretty good. It’s very catchy so if you listen to it, it will be stuck in your head all day. 4/5

7.) Ramble On
This is a great song, with a very nice acoustic riff. Bonham taps softly on his drum that goes throughout the whole song. The bassline to this song is also very good. Plants lyrics are very mystical, and magical, and tell of far off lands, which is what we hear a lot of times in his lyrics. The music picks up, and gets a little harder during the chorus. Page has some very nice fills inbetween verses, that the song even better. It fades out on Plant yelling the last of the words, with the band playing in the background. 5/5

8.) Moby Dick
This is the epic drum solo by John Bonham. Plant doesn’t sing at all in this song, and is one of only a few instrumentals by Zeppelin. At the beginning Page plays some guitar, and adds some very nice fills. Then Bonzo takes the cake with this awesome solo, which is amazing live. He plays some bongos that sound very good, and in the movie The Song Remains the Same he plays his drumset with his hands which is pretty cool. The solo goes from soft to loud, and from slow to fast many times times. Then, at the end Page comes in again, and where Page had his fills at the beginning of the song, where bonham plays some great fills. 5/5

9.) Bring it on Home
The riff at the beginning sounds very folky, and Plants voice is very raspy. Plant also plays some good harmonica. At about a minute and fourty-five seconds the riff gets really loud, and it turns into another hard rocker. During the whole song Page plays a very fuzzy riff, thats sounds pretty awesome. At the end the song turns back into the folky sounding song at the beginning, and it ends. This is a perfect ending song to this classic, and is one of my favorite on the album. 4.5/5

This is one of Zeppelin’s best albums, and is probably second best next to physical grafitti. This album shows why Led Zeppelin is the best hard rock band of all time. If your a hard rock fan this is a must have, and is one of the alltime best albums, and will always be one of my favorite albums.
Hope it helped.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin II | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin II (1969)

LED ZEPPELIN II CDFrom Rolling Stone

Hey, man, I take it all back! This is one fucking heavyweight of the album! OK — I’ll concede that until you’ve listened to the album eight hundred times, as I have, it seems as if it’s just one especially heavy song extended over the space of two whole sides. But, hey! you’ve got to admit that the Zeppelin has their distinctive and enchanting formula down stone-cold, man. Like you get the impression they could do it in their sleep.

And who can deny that Jimmy Page is the absolute number-one heaviest white blues guitarist between 5’4″ and 5’8″ in the world?? Shit, man, on this album he further demonstrates that he could absolutely fucking shut down any whitebluesman alive, and with one fucking hand tied behind his back too.

“Whole Lotta Love,” which opens the album, has to be the heaviest thing I’ve run across (or, more accurately, that’s run across me) since “Parchmant Farm” on Vincebus Eruptum. Like I listened to the break (Jimmy wrenching some simply indescribable sounds out of his axe while your stereo goes ape-shit) on some heavy Vietnamese weed and very nearly had my mind blown.

Hey, I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not very objective.” But dig: I also listened to it on mescaline, some old Romilar, novocain, and ground up Fusion, and it was just as mind-boggling as before. I must admit I haven’t listened to it straight yet — I don’t think a group this heavy is best enjoyed that way.

Anyhow . . . Robert Plant, who is rumored to sing some notes on this record that only dogs can hear, demonstrates his heaviness on “The Lemon Song.” When he yells “Shake me ’til the juice runs down my leg,” you can’t help but flash on the fact that the lemon is a cleverly-disguised phallic metaphor. Cunning Rob, sticking all this eroticism in between the lines just like his blues-beltin’ ancestors! And then (then) there’s “Moby Dick,” which will be for John Bonham what “Toad” has been for Baker. John demonstrates on this track that had he half a mind he could shut down Baker even without sticks, as most of his intriguing solo is done with bare hands.

The album ends with a far-out blues number called “Bring It On Home,” during which Rob contributes some very convincing moaning and harp-playing, and sings “Wadge da train roll down da track.” Who said that white men couldn’t sing blues? I mean, like, who?

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Led Zeppelin II | | Leave a comment

Led Zeppelin II (1969)

From Rollingstone.com

Hey, man, I take it all back! This is one fucking heavyweight of the album! OK — I’ll concede that until you’ve listened to the album eight hundred times, as I have, it seems as if it’s just one especially heavy song extended over the space of two whole sides. But, hey! you’ve got to admit that the Zeppelin has their distinctive and enchanting formula down stone-cold, man. Like you get the impression they could do it in their sleep.

And who can deny that Jimmy Page is the absolute number-one heaviest white blues guitarist between 5’4″ and 5’8″ in the world?? Shit, man, on this album he further demonstrates that he could absolutely fucking shut down any whitebluesman alive, and with one fucking hand tied behind his back too.

“Whole Lotta Love,” which opens the album, has to be the heaviest thing I’ve run across (or, more accurately, that’s run across me) since “Parchmant Farm” on Vincebus Eruptum. Like I listened to the break (Jimmy wrenching some simply indescribable sounds out of his axe while your stereo goes ape-shit) on some heavy Vietnamese weed and very nearly had my mind blown.

Hey, I know what you’re thinking. “That’s not very objective.” But dig: I also listened to it on mescaline, some old Romilar, novocain, and ground up Fusion, and it was just as mind-boggling as before. I must admit I haven’t listened to it straight yet — I don’t think a group this heavy is best enjoyed that way.

Anyhow . . . Robert Plant, who is rumored to sing some notes on this record that only dogs can hear, demonstrates his heaviness on “The Lemon Song.” When he yells “Shake me ’til the juice runs down my leg,” you can’t help but flash on the fact that the lemon is a cleverly-disguised phallic metaphor. Cunning Rob, sticking all this eroticism in between the lines just like his blues-beltin’ ancestors! And then (then) there’s “Moby Dick,” which will be for John Bonham what “Toad” has been for Baker. John demonstrates on this track that had he half a mind he could shut down Baker even without sticks, as most of his intriguing solo is done with bare hands.

The album ends with a far-out blues number called “Bring It On Home,” during which Rob contributes some very convincing moaning and harp-playing, and sings “Wadge da train roll down da track.” Who said that white men couldn’t sing blues? I mean, like, who?

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Led Zeppelin II | | Leave a comment