The song that Led Zeppelin struggled to record

Led Zeppelin

When a band has had a huge influence on the music industry, it’s fun to go back and see what their influence was. Led Zeppelin’s approach was heavily influenced by blues, which they made harder with a hard rock infusion. Through their unique blend of influences, they forged an irresistible sound that remains unmatched for many.

Led Zeppelin produced a style that was instantly accessible by taking a well-known genre and putting their own distinctive twist on it, as it represented something new but not so far removed from the identifiable that people couldn’t connect with it. When you combine that with the musical ability of each member of the band, you have a recipe for success.

However, their strong roots in the blues posed a difficulty. Sure, the band had a distinct sound, but it originated from a genre that relied primarily on live music and improvisation. As a result, committing parts of their tunes to wax and getting music recorded proved difficult. The band struggled with time signatures and determining which form of their improvisation they wanted to be timeless.

As a result, the now-classic ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You‘ was one of the songs that Led Zeppelin struggled with recording. In their live set before contemplating recording, the band struggled to get ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ perfect.

The blues influence is immediately clear as soon as the song begins. That dragged-up, gently plucked string reminds me of a BB King song. Robert Plant distributes his voice, repeating and emphasizing different syllables as if he’s just learning them; it’s all quite bluesy. People like the song because of its distinct sound, but getting it perfect in the recording booth was a nightmare.

When the band performed it live, they had the freedom to make mistakes. While performing, they elongated the song and experimented with it, alternately pulling back and going all in with the music. There’s no room for error with tape. It demands flawless performances, captured live, in the moment. This was less of a problem for songs like ‘Whole Lotta Love‘ and ‘Immigrant Song,‘ which had a tight structure. However, the band battled with ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You,’ which had an improvised air.

Finally, the solution was to record the entire thing live rather than in segments. The sole overdubbing on the tape is for Jimmy Page’s solo, which he modified slightly to improve the tone. Listen closely, and you can hear John Bonham’s bass drum pedal squeaking, though the band had no intention of re-recording.

Having a blues background and depending so heavily on improvisation surely helped the members of Led Zeppelin become such masters of their instruments. This contributed to their fame, but it also had drawbacks. The band’s unique sound posed considerable recording hurdles that a traditional studio couldn’t overcome.

1 comment
  1. page/plant did sibly on page/plant 96 show in landover perfecty.did several othr zep classics to with symphony.great show.fave of the 100 shows i saw.

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