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Led Zeppelin II [1969 album] by Led Zeppelin
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Led Zeppelin II [1969 album]

by Led Zeppelin

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Led Zeppelin II

1. Whole Lotta Love (5:34)
2. What Is and What Should Never Be (4:44)
3. The Lemon Song (6:19)
4. Thank You (4:47)
5. Heartbreaker (4:14)
6. Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman) (2:39)
7. Ramble On (4:23)
8. Moby Dick (4:21)
9. Bring It On Home (4:20)

Robert Plant – vocals
Jimmy Page – guitars
John Paul Jones – bass
John Bonham – drums


Recorded in 1969 at:
- Olympic Studios, London (1, 2);
- Mirror Sound, Los Angeles (3, 8);
- Morgan Studios, London (4, 6);
- A&R Studios, New York (5);
- Juggy Sound Studio, New York (7);
- Atlantic Studios, New York (9).

Originally released as Atlantic 8236, 22 October 1969.

Atlantic, 1994. [TT 41:31.] No lyrics. Digitally remastered from the original master tapes by Jimmy Page and George Marino at Sterling Sound.

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If Led Zeppelin’s debut album shook the world in January 1969, their second one nine months later nearly blew it up. This is their wildest and most virtuoso creation, occasionally almost to the point when individual expression overrides band cohesion. Almost!

Jimmy Page is generally more inspired in front of an audience, but here are some of his most memorable riffs (“Whole Lotta Love”, “Living Loving Maid”) or solos (“The Lemon Song”) – or both (“Heartbreaker”). If you want but one studio album to know why Page is part of the Guitar Gods Pantheon, this is the one. John Paul Jones was a lot more than a “mere” bass player, especially in later years when he did some of Led Zep’s grandest arrangements (e.g. “Kashmir”), but the man is a hell of a bass player all the same. Just listen to his dazzling arabesques in “The Lemon Song”. Bonzo’s epic drum solo in “Moby Dick” is best experienced in some of the numerous greatly extended live versions (preferably on video), but the studio original is no slouch, either. Some of his irregular rhythms, most notably in “Whole Lotta Love” and “Ramble On”, are textbooks less imaginative drummers should study. This is Robert Plant’s least impressive among Zeppelin’s legendary first four albums. All the same, he can still sing under the table most vocalists from those ancient times – or any other times for that matter.

This is not Zeppelin’s most varied album, but the songs still range from hard-and-heavy classics (see above) to melting ballads (“Thank You”). Sometimes both extremes are flawlessly merged in a single track: “The Lemon Song” contains a slow bluesy central part and super-fast outer sections that fifteen years later would be called trash metal. “What Is and What Should Never Be” and “Ramble On” also make a highly effective use of lyrical and (in the chorus) boisterous episodes. The lyrics range from Zeppelin’s trademark naughtiness (“I wanna be your backdoor man”) to Tolkien-inspired fantasies (“In darkest depths of Mordor I met a girl so fair”), and from touching sentimentality (“If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you”) to uncompromising frankness (“Let me tell you, baby, you ain't nothin’ but a two-bit, no-good jive”). Too bad this 1994 Atlantic release lacks lyrics! (Lyric-less releases ought to be forbidden by law.)

The sound is fantastic and, considering that the album was recorded in no fewer than six different studios, remarkably consistent. None of the nine tracks is less than very good. At least eight of them (excepting the last one) are downright superb. In short, rock classics don’t get better than that! ( )
1 vote Waldstein | Mar 4, 2016 |
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This work refers to Led Zeppelin's second studio album, released in October 1969 and titled Led Zeppelin II. All editions of this album (vinyl, CD, deluxe, etc.) belong here. Please do not combine with different selections from Led Zeppelin's recordings or with DVDs.
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