Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #186: 160704
[A song for the 60’s (7)]
Hard to believe that the opening track on the band’s second album was released in the 1960’s and is now three years shy of half a century! Already part of their live repertoire, “Whole Lotta Love” saw its first official release on the LP Led Zeppelin II on 22 October 1969.
Although (predominantly due to Manager Peter Grant’s adamancy) Led Zeppelin never released a single in the UK, that wasn’t true elsewhere. Companies who felt sure they could distance themselves sufficiently from Grant’s wrath immediately released ‘Whole Lotta Love’ in the US, several European countries other than the UK and Japan. The US release became their first hit single, being certified Gold on 13 April 1970, having sold one million copies. It reached number one in Germany, and number four in the Netherlands.
Parts of the song were adapted from Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love”, recorded by Muddy Waters in 1962; originally uncredited to Dixon, a lawsuit in 1985 was settled with a payment to Dixon and credit on subsequent releases.
In 2004, the song was ranked number 75 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and in March 2005, Q magazine placed “Whole Lotta Love” at number three in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. It was placed 11 on a similar list by Rolling Stone. In 2009 it was named the third greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1 and in 2014, listeners to BBC Radio 2 voted “Whole Lotta Love” as containing the greatest guitar riff of all time.