Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Led Zeppelin, LED ZEPPELIN II
50 years ago today, Led Zeppelin sat atop the Billboard 200 for the first – but certainly not the last – time in their career, thanks to their sophomore album.
To say that LED ZEPPELIN II was recorded on the fly doesn’t really do justice to the situation. The album’s nine songs were recorded at six different studios around the UK and North America while the band was on tour. Basically, they’d just stop whenever the opportunity presented itself and do a little recording, and then they were back on the road.
For the record, here’s where the respective songs were recorded:
• “Whole Lotta Love” and What Is and What Never Should Be” at Olympic Studios, London
• “The Lemon Song” and “Moby Dick” at Mirror Sound in Los Angeles
• “Thank You” and “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” at Morgan Studios, London
• “Heartbreaker” at A&R Studios, New York City
• “Ramble On” at Juggy Sound, New York City
• “Bring It on Home” at Atlantic Studios, New York
The most instantly recognizable song on LED ZEPPELIN II is the one that leads off the proceedings, “Whole Lotta Love,” but aside from that prime positioning, it was also a hit single in America, climbing to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. That said, the band was in no way happy about that situation, as Atlantic Records had opted to issue a single edit of the song without their approval, and... Well, suffice it to say that this scenario did not occur a second time.
Over the years, LED ZEPPELIN II has come to be considered the album which provided the blueprint for heavy metal, and it has the sales to prove it: over the years, the album has gone platinum 12 times over in America, 9 times over in Canada, and it’s quadruple-platinum in both Australia and the UK.
In other words, music fans gave it a whole lotta love. (Sorry, it had to be done.)
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