Thursday, February 16, 2012

II - Led Zeppelin

YEAR: 1969

LABEL: Atlantic

TRACK LISTING: Whole Lotta Love, What Is And What Should Never Be, The Lemon Song, Thank You, Heartbreaker, Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman), Ramble On, Moby Dick, Bring It On Home

IMPRESSIONS: What is the better album? II or IV? The controversy rages on. If it's any indication, Bonzo's son thinks it's II. There's no mistaking that "The Brown Bomber" is an extremely influential album in the history of hard rock and the formation of heavy metal. Good as their first album is, it seems like it wasn't until "II" that Led Zeppelin had really crystalized their sound into what we really think of as Led Zeppelin. The priapic and (sadly) overfamiliar "Whole Lotta Love" and the Robert Johnsonesque "The Lemon Song" are bursting with virility while "Ramble On" features the Tolkien-inspired fantasy elements which would become so widespread in prog rock and heavy metal to come. There are the barnstormers "Living Loving Maid" and "Heartbreaker", the blues-inflected "Bring It On Home", the instrumental bonzofest of "Moby Dick", the ballad "Thank You" and the "soft-loud-soft-loud" experimentation of "What Is And What Should Never Be". Here we have the mighty Zep fulling form for the first time.


FACT SHEET: II is Led Zeppelin's second album as if you needed me to tell you. The album cover was designed by David Juniper and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Recording Package". Juniper was told by the band to "come up with something interesting" so he took a World War I photograph featuring "The Red Baron" Manfred von Richtofen's Flying Circus squadron and airbrushed on the faces of the four bandmembers, band manager Peter Grant and tour manager Richard Cole a la SGT. PEPPER. Also added to the photo was actress Glynis Johns best known for her role as the mother in MARY POPPINS; this addition was a play on the name of recording engineer Glyn Johns. The zeppelin outline was included from the first album on a brown background resulting in II's nickname of "The Brown Bomber".

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