The 40 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time

The definitive guide to Zeppelin’s finest recorded moments

9

'Rock and Roll' (1971)

Led Zeppelin John Bonham Drums
Photo by Charlie Gillett/Getty Images

Zeppelin were struggling to rehearse "Four Sticks" when Bonham spontaneously played the now-famous snare and open-high-hat drum intro to "Rock and Roll," which imitates the first few bars of Little Richard's 1957 hit "Keep A Knockin'." The song – initially called "It's Been a Long Time" – expresses a palpable longing for youth and the innocence of Fifties rock: Plant refers to the Stroll, an old dance, and to "The Book of Love," by the Montones, from 1958. But the music recasts rock & roll as something fierce and modern.

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