Genre: Blues Rock, Hard Rock
Preceded by: Led Zeppelin (1969)
Followed by: Led Zeppelin III (1970)
Related to: Pixies – Doolittle
Let’s stay in 1969 for one more week. This week’s album is for those who like their rock a little harder, as it’s time for one of those real rock ‘classics’: Led Zeppelin II.
The British band Led Zeppelin released their bluesy debut album the same year, after which they started touring all over North America and the UK. They used the time they had between concerts to record material for a new album, in all kind of studios over the world. That’s how Led Zeppelin II was born: while completing seven concert tours.
This situation really influenced the sound of Led Zeppelin on this album. While touring, the band played long improvised versions of ‘Dazed and Confused’ from their debut album and experimented with all kinds of riffs and solos. They brought the best parts in the studio, and riff-based songs like ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Heartbreaker’ were created, along with the drum solo dominated ‘Moby Dick’. That way, it became the loudest album of the band and with ‘Whole Lotta Love’, it had a real rock anthem.
The influence of this album was huge, as it was personally responsible for the big guitar bands revival during the late eighties and early nineties. Bands like Guns ‘n Roses tried to reinvent Led Zep, Jonny Greenwood stated that all Radiohead was trying in their early days was to play Led Zeppelin II and what about bands like Pixies and Nirvana? Listen to the alternate soft-loud approach on ‘Ramble On’ and ‘What Is and What Should Never Be’ and compare them to nineties classics like ‘Gouge Away’ and ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
One more interesting thing about this album is it’s cover. The band told some guy to come up with an idea and he came up with a picture of a German Air Force Division from World War I, led by the famous Red Baron. They painted the faces of the band members on it and the album was released.
So check out those top tracks and decide whether or not to get the album. Or just listen to it one more time. For those who are not convinced: it knocked Abbey Road from #1 twice in the US.