Whole Lotta Love
|"Whole Lotta Love"|
French vinyl release
|Single by Led Zeppelin|
|from the album Led Zeppelin II|
|B-side||"Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)"|
|Released||7 November 1969 (US)|
|Recorded||Olympic Studios, London, May 1969|
|Led Zeppelin singles chronology|
"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. It reached number one in Germany, and number four in the Netherlands. 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.
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. Already part of their live repertoire, "Whole Lotta Love" saw its first official release on the LP Led Zeppelin II on 22 October 1969 (Atlantic LP #8236). In 2014, listeners to BBC Radio 2 voted "Whole Lotta Love" as containing the greatest guitar riff of all time.
The song is in compound AABA form. Page came up with the guitar riff for "Whole Lotta Love" in the summer of 1968, on his houseboat along the Thames in Pangbourne, England. Playing the loose blues riff for the intro, on a Sunburst 1958 Les Paul Standard guitar 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. As audio engineer Eddie Kramer has explained: "The famous Whole Lotta Love mix, where everything is going bananas, is a combination of Jimmy and myself just flying around on a small console twiddling every knob known to man." Kramer is also quoted as saying:
[A]t one point there was bleed-through of a previously recorded vocal in the recording of "Whole Lotta Love". It was the middle part where Robert [Plant] screams "Wo-man ... You need ... Love" Since we couldn't re-record at that point, I just threw some echo on it to see how it would sound and Jimmy [Page] said "Great! Just leave it."
Alternatively, Jimmy Page has vehemently denied that the song originated onstage:
Interviewer: Is it true "Whole Lotta Love" was written onstage during a gig in America, when you were all jamming on a Garnett Mimms song?
Page: No. No. Absolutely incorrect. No, it was put together when we were rehearsing some music for the second album. I had a riff, everyone was at my house, and we kicked it from there. Never was it written during a gig--where did you hear that?
Interviewer: I read it in a book.
Page (sarcastically): Oh, good. I hope it was that Rough Guide. That's the latest one, the most inaccurate. They're all inaccurate, you know.
In a separate interview, Page explained:
I had [the riff] worked out already before entering the studio. I had rehearsed it. And then all of that other stuff, sonic wave sound and all that, I built it up in the studio, and put effects on it and things, treatments.
For this track, Page employed the backwards echo production technique.
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. Both versions were released as Atlantic #45-2690. 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.
In the United Kingdom, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on 5 December 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK, and he halted the release. An official statement from the band added that they had written a special number which they intended to be their first British single. This never materialised, and despite much record company pressure, they declined to issue official singles in the UK throughout their career.
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. 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. 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
- Cite error: The named reference
Inabawas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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. 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". 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. On subsequent releases, Dixon's name is included on the credits for "Whole Lotta Love".
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.— Robert Plant, Musician, (1990)
Chart success 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. Live, the song debuted 26 April 1969. When performed live, "Whole Lotta Love" also occasionally included segments of other Led Zeppelin songs such as "I Can't Quit You Baby", "You Shook Me", "How Many More Times", "Your Time Is Gonna Come", "Good Times Bad Times", "The Lemon Song", "The Crunge", "D'yer Mak'er", "Black Dog", "Out on the Tiles" and "Ramble On". A famous show closer at Led Zeppelin concerts, it was since mid-1970 performed as a medley of blues and rhythm and blues interpolations favoured by the band. Many of these included classics by Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley and John Lee Hooker.
Live versions of "Whole Lotta Love" were released officially on the following titles:
- The Song Remains the Same; 2xLP (28 September 1976; Swan Song #SS2-201; from a 1973 concert and movie soundtrack)
- Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions; 2xCD (11 November 1997; Atlantic #83061; from a 1971 concert)
- How the West Was Won; 3xCD (27 May 2003; Atlantic #83587; from a 1972 concert)
- Led Zeppelin DVD; 2xDVD (2003; from a 1979 and a 1970 concert)
"Whole Lotta Love" was the last song Led Zeppelin ever 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).
|Spin||United States||"100 Greatest Singles of All Time"||1989||39|
|Rock and Roll Hall of Fame||United States||"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll"||1994||*|
|Classic Rock||United Kingdom||"Ten of the Best Songs Ever!.. (Bubbling under)"||1999||30|
|VH1||United States||"100 Greatest Rock Songs"||2009||46|
|Rolling Stone||United States||"The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"||2003||75|
|Q||United Kingdom||"100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever"||2005||3|
|Toby Creswell||Australia||"1001 Songs: the Great Songs of All Time"||2005||*|
|Grammy Awards||United States||"Grammy Hall of Fame Award"||2007||*|
|Rolling Stone||United States||"100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time"||2008||11|
|VH1||United States||"VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs"||2009||3|
|BBC Radio 2||United Kingdom||"Radio 2's Top 100 Greatest Guitar Riffs"||2014||1|
(*) designates unordered lists.
Formats and track listings
1969 7" single (US: Atlantic 45-2690, Angola: Atlantic ATS 485, Australia/New Zealand: Atlantic AK 3412, Belgium: Atlantic BE 650186, Bolivia: Polydor 508007, Canada: Atlantic Oldies Series OS 13116, Chile: Atlantic 2164 002, France: Atlantic 650 186, Germany: Atlantic 70409, Greece: Atlantic 255 017, Holland: Atlantic ATL 2690, Italy: Atlantic ATL NP 03145, Japan: Warner Pioneer P-2550A, Mexico: Atlantic AT 45-52, Philippines: Atlantic ATR 0046, Sweden: Atlantic ATL 70409, Uruguay: Atlantic 2164002)
1969 7" radio edit (UK*/Lebanon: Atlantic 584309, Canada: Atlantic AT 2690, South Africa: Atlantic ATS 485)
1969 7" radio edit (Brazil: Atlantic 205.025, Peru: Atlantic ALT 7035)
1969 7" single (Japan: Nihon Gramophone DT-1139)
1970 7" single (Costa Rica: Atlantic 70.020, Portugal: Atlantic ATL 10058, Spain: Atlantic H 523)
1970 7" single (Turkey: Atlantic 70501)
1970 7" EP (Bolivia: Atlantic AX 11695)
1970 7" EP (Holland: Atlantic ATL 2091 208)
1970 7" EP (Mexico: Atlantic Gamma GX07 762)
1970 7" EP (Mexico: Atlantic 2207 002)
1970 7" EP (Australia/New Zealand: Atlantic EPA 200)
1970 7" EP (Australia: AX 11695 (MX 34022))
1970 7" single (France: Atlantic 10236, Germany: Atlantic Oldies Series ATL 10236)
1997 CD single (UK: Atlantic AT 0013 CD (7567 84014 6), Australia: Atlantic 7567 84014 2, Brazil: Atlantic LZ 1997, Germany: Atlantic A 4014 CD, Japan: Atlantic AMCY 2403, Korea: Atlantic 84014 2, South Africa: Atlantic 7567 84014)
Charts and certifications
Single (digital download)
Note: The official UK Singles Chart incorporated legal downloads as of 17 April 2005.
"Venus" by Shocking Blue
|Australian Go-Set National Top 40 number-one single
4 April 1970 (1 week)
| Succeeded by|
"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" by Edison Lighthouse
|Australian Kent Music Report number-one single
23 March 1970 – 30 March 1970 (2 weeks)
| Succeeded by|
"Let It Be" by The Beatles
"Dein schönstes Geschenk" by Roy Black
|German number-one single
23 February 1970 – 20 April 1970 (9 weeks)
| Succeeded by|
"Mademoiselle Ninette" by the Soulful Dynamics
- Robert Plant – lead vocals
- Jimmy Page – electric guitars, theremin, slide guitar, backing vocals
- John Paul Jones – bass guitar, backing vocals
- John Bonham – drums, maracas, shaker, tambourine, bongos, congas
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.
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.
- Winistorfer, Andrew (5 January 2009). "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs list only slightly less annoying than their hip-hop list". VH1. Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- Valdez, Stephen K. (2006). A History of Rock Music. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7575-3379-2.
- "Led Zeppelin Biography". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
Led Zeppelin II found them further tightening up and modernizing their blues-rock approach on such tracks as "Whole Lotta Love," "Heartbreaker" and "Ramble On."
- "RIAA – Gold & Platinum Searchable Database – Whole Lotta Love". RIAA. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Radio 2's Greatest Guitar Riffs". BBC Radio 2. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- Stein, Deborah (2005). "Form in Rock Music: A Primer (by Covach, John)". Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.
- Myers, Marc (29 May 2014). "The Making of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
- Kramer Archives: Bio at the Wayback Machine (archived 25 March 2009). Kramerarchives.com.
- Crowe, Cameron (1993). The Complete Studio Recordings (Media notes).
- Cavanaugh, David (May 2008). "Jimmy Page, 'Mission Accomplished.'". Uncut (132): 49. ISSN 1368-0722.
- Rosen, Steven (25 May 2007). 1977 Jimmy Page Interview (Audio/Text) at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 May 2008). (originally published in the July 1977, issue of Guitar Player magazine) Modern Guitars.
- Inaba, Mitsutoshi (2011). Willie Dixon: Preacher of the Blues. Scarecrow Press. pp. 191–193. ISBN 978-0-81086-993-6.
- Wall, Mick (2010). When Giants Walked the Earth: A Biography of Led Zeppelin. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-312-59039-0.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- Young, Charles M. (June 1990). "Robert Plant's manic persona". Musician. Amordian Press (140): 45. ISSN 0733-5253.
- "Led Zeppelin – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Led Zeppelin Database". Argenteumastrum.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Spin: 100 Greatest Singles Of All Time (1989)". Spin. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- "Experience The Music: One Hit Wonders and The Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
- "Ten Of The Best... Songs Ever!". Classic Rock. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- It's Only A Riff, But We Like It at the Wayback Machine (archived 10 April 2009). VH1. MTV Networks.
- The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1-500) at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 October 2006). Rolling Stone.
- "Q Magazine – 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks Ever!". Q. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
- Creswell, Toby (2005). "Whole Lotta Love". 1001 Songs: the Great Songs of All Time (1st ed.). Prahran: Hardie Grant Books. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-74066-458-5.
- "GRAMMY Hall Of Fame – w". Grammy Hall of Fame Award. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 June 2008). Rolling Stone.
- "Go-Set Australian charts – 4 April 1970". Go-Set. Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
- "Australia No. 1 hits -- 1970's". World Charts. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Austriancharts.at – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Ultratop.be – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- CHART NUMBER 676 – Saturday, January 10, 1970 at the Wayback Machine (archived 12 February 2006). CHUM.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6102." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin". Danske Hitlister. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin - levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
- "Les Chansons Classées par Points des Années 60" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Indice per Interprete: L" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Top 100 Singles – 5 January 1970" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Singles – May 1970". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
- "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (L)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Top 100 Singles - May 1970". Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
- "Swisscharts.com – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending JANUARY 10, 1970 at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 September 2012). Cash Box magazine.
- RECORD WORLD 1970 at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 May 2004). Record World. Geocities.com.
- "Archive Chart: 1997-09-13" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "Hot Digital Singles - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
- "Led Zeppelin: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "30 Back Catalogue Singles – 15/05/2010". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "50 Back Catalogue Singles – 14/04/2012". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Lescharts.com – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Go-Set top 40 for 1970". Go-Set. Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
- "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1970s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Jahreshitparade 1970" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Jaaroverzichten 1970" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Top Singles – Volume 14, No. 20_21, January 09 1971". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1970" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1970" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1970 at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 September 2012). Cash Box magazine.
- "Italian single certifications – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select Online in the field Sezione. Enter Led Zeppelin in the field Filtra. Select 2015 in the field Anno. The certification will load automatically
- "American single certifications – Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
- "Top of the Pops: Still number one". BBC News Online. 13 September 2002. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
- Bond, David (22 August 2008). "Led Zeppelin classic 'too racy' for Olympics". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
- "Juke Box Hero/Whole Lotta Love [Live 2005]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
- "Whole Lotta Love" on YouTube
- "Whole Lotta Love" at ledzeppelin.com
- Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics