1001 Songs Challenge,  1960s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #289: Whole Lotta Love (1969)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…


Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)

We’re remaining in the UK, dear reader, and after time in the Crimson King’s court yesterday we are heading on board the Led Zeppelin today. The heavy metal legends are making their second appearance on our list after Heartbreaker. Will it be their last? As with Heartbreaker, we are delving into Zeppelin’s second album and from there 1001 Songs have extracted the classic track, Whole Lotta Love.

In Whole Lotta Love, we open with some sumptuous guitar work from Jimmy Page while John Bonham and John Paul Jones back up their lead guitarist with aplomb. Robert Plant then comes in with the lyrics that are full of innuendo. Love is mentioned a lot here but if you substituted that word for alternative ones of a sexual nature you’d have a very explicit song indeed. Plant sings to a woman and tells her, in no uncertain terms, he wants to give her his loving and that she needs it. I could go further with what the lyrics say but I think you get the idea. Halfway through the song we have what is described by some online as a trip sequence or transition before another Page solo brings us back to the final verse and outro. It’s quite a journey as well. 

Whole Lotta Love is one of Led Zeppelin’s most recognisable songs and if you are not familiar with the group you may have heard that opening guitar riff before. Undeniably a very saucy song, one of Zeppelin’s most vulgar in fact, but you can’t help but be captivated by Plant’s stunning vocals. The group would find controversy when a lawsuit ruled that Whole Lotta Love was similar to Willie Nelson’s You Need Love and compensation was subsequently agreed. I’m not sure how much that would have amounted to. Plant later admitted he needed something lyrically inspiring to match Page’s music and that Nelson’s words were just too good not to pilfer. I don’t often approve of plagiarism but in this case it produced a great song.


Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967)

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)

The Kinks – Days (1968)

King Crimson – The Court of the Crimson King (1969)

Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

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