.

"Led Zeppelin II" Turns 40

October 22, 2009 4:50 PM ET

Forty years ago today, Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin II just nine months after unleashing their historic debut. Produced by guitarist Jimmy Page, II laid the groundwork for heavy metal with its classic "Whole Lotta Love" and firmly established Zeppelin as one of the loudest and greatest bands in rock at the time. II also boasts Robert Plant's unparalleled vocal prowess on hits like "Ramble On" and "What Is and What Should Never Be" and John Bonham's still-unmatched drum solo on "Moby Dick."

Led Zeppelin live: photos from their legendary reunion show.

When the album came out 40 years ago, Rolling Stone critic John Mendelsohn wasn't exactly glowing in his 1969 review of the album, writing tongue-in-cheekily, "I'll concede that until you've listened to the album eight hundred times, as I have, it seems as if it's just one especially heavy song extended over the space of two whole sides. But, hey! You've got to admit that the Zeppelin has their distinctive and enchanting formula down stone-cold, man." Of course, Mendelsohn's opinion turned out to be the small, small minority, and Rolling Stone went on to place Led Zeppelin II on our 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The New Rolling Stone Album Guide awarded Led Zeppelin II the five-star review it rightly deserves, adding that "Whole Lotta Love" "became a starting point for Aerosmith, Guns n' Roses and Van Halen, among others. It's an amazing song not just for its seismic riff and bingeing-on-lust vocal performance, but for its mind-bending midsection, in which Page orchestrates the aural equivalent of an orgasm (Theremin included.)"

So bust out your old II vinyl or eight-track or CD, crank up your stereo volume high and celebrate the album's fortieth birthday.

More Led Zeppelin:
Led Zeppelin Album Guide
Robert Plant on the Led Zeppelin Rehearsals: The Band Has "Done It. It's There."
Classic Led Zeppelin Photos

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Wake Up Everybody”

John Legend and the Roots | 2010

A Number One record by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes in 1976 (a McFadden- and Whitehead-penned classic sung by Teddy Pendergrass) inspired the title and lead single from Wake Up!, John Legend's tribute album to message music. The more familiar strains of "Wake Up Everybody" also fit his agenda. "It basically sums up, in a very concise way, all the things we were thinking about when we were putting this record together in that it's about justice, doing the right thing and coming together to make the world a better place," he said. Vocalists Common and Melanie Fiona assist Legend on this mission to connect.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com