Jimmy Page John Mendelsohn - Essay

John Mendelsohn

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Hey, man, I take it all back! [Led Zeppelin II] is one fucking heavyweight of an album! OK—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 stonecold, man. Like you get the impression they could do it in their sleep….

"Whole Lotta Love," which opens the album, has to be the heaviest thing I've run across (or, more accurately, that's run across me) since "Parchmant Farm" on [Blue Cheer's] Vincebus Eruptum….

Anyhow … Robert Plant, who is rumored to sing some notes on this record that only dogs can hear, demonstrates his heaviness on "The Lemon Song." When he yells "Shake me 'til the juice runs down my leg," you can't help but flash on the fact that the lemon is a cleverly-disguised phallic metaphor. Cunning Rob, sticking all this eroticism in between the lines just like his blues-beltin' ancestors!

John Mendelsohn, "'Led Zeppelin II'" (originally published in Rolling Stone, December 13, 1969), in The Rolling Stone Record Review by the editors of Rolling Stone (copyright © 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, by Straight Arrow Publishers. Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Pocket Books, 1971, p. 8.