Wednesday, October 22, 2014

led zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin brought it on home with the heavy blues heartbreak of this schoolin' sequel recorded on the road.  Their self-titled debut had redefined the possibilities of rock and the band embarked on four separate concert tours of the US and the UK during their first year.  It was during this hectic touring schedule that the band would break away to record new material at whatever studio could be found nearby.  'Led Zeppelin II' was recorded at Olympic and Morgan Studios in London, England; A&M, Quantum, Sunset, Mirror Sound, and Mystic Studios in Los Angeles, California; Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee; A&R, Juggy Sound, Groove, and Mayfair Studios in New York City; and a "hut" in Vancouver.  The album features John Bonham on drums and timpani;   John Paul Jones on bass guitar and organ;  Jimmy Page on electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals, and theremin;  and Robert Plant on lead vocals and harmonica.  Page produced the sessions with Eddie Kramer assisting with engineering and mixing and Bob Ludwig on mastering and engineering.  Additional engineering on various tracks was provided by George Chkiantz, Chris Huston, and Andy Johns.  Kramer would reveal: "We did that album piece-meal. We cut some of the tracks in some of the most bizarre studios you can imagine, little holes in the wall. Cheap studios. But in the end it sounded bloody marvellous. There was a unification of sound on Zeppelin II because there was one guy in charge and that was Mr. Page."

John Paul Jones would recall:  "We were touring a lot. Jimmy's riffs were coming fast and furious. A lot of them came from onstage especially during the long improvised section of 'Dazed and Confused'. We'd remember the good stuff and dart into a studio along the way...Jimmy started coming into his own as a producer around "Whole Lotta Love". The backwards echo stuff. A lot of the microphone techniques were just inspired. Everybody thinks he goes into the studio with huge walls of amps, but he doesn't. He uses a really small amp and he just mic's it up really well, so it fits into a sonic picture.

Plant remembers:  "It was crazy really. We were writing the numbers in hotel rooms and then we'd do a rhythm track in London, add the vocal in New York, overdub the harmonica in Vancouver and then come back to finish mixing at New York...Led Zep II was very virile. That was the album that was going to dictate whether or not we had the staying power and the capacity to stimulate. It was still blues-based but it was a much more carnal approach to the music and quite flamboyant. It was created on the run between hotel rooms and the GTOs, and that was quite something...During Led Zep I  as far as I was concerned, I thought that I was going to [leave the band] anyway. I didn't feel that comfortable because there were a lot of demands on me vocally—which there were all the way through the Zeppelin thing. And I was quite nervous and didn't really get into enjoying it until II ... It’s stated, but it doesn’t have any bend and flow to it which developed later on. By time of “What is and What Should Never Be” and maybe “Ramble On”, I was beginning to create a dynamic within my own performance a bit better. I think the way I was singing then was more like a sort of blue-shadow-stated thing which, you know…fitted...It’s a tapestry of music. There are a lot of variations: the themes change, the moods change. We didn’t develop a style and stick to it. We were moving all over the place...We all came from different angles and we all contributed without any trepidation. I mean, I came out of a band that was playing in clubs with a tiny-weeny PA and you just had to shout all the time basically. But, for me, if you listen to some of Bonzo’s drum work on the first album, it’s fantastic. But he really gets down to business later."

Page ponders:   "This is it, this is the gel of the whole thing, because it’s really urgent music, scary stuff. When you look at that album, the amount of ideas and moods and vibes that are on it is really quite something. I suppose that’s why it was so achieved, like its successor...I’d been a studio musician for many, many years, a whole apprenticeship, and I knew how not to record. I’d been in some quite incredible sessions, in 1964 and 1965 and early 1966, but in some of them, though the sessions were really good, the sound was terrible, where they’d have a drummer in a little room and the drums couldn’t breathe. It was so obvious. The drums really had to breathe, to get the harmonics in: so that was about knowing what to do and what not to do...I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do."

'Led Zeppelin II' soared to number three in France; two in Norway; and number one in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.   David Juniper was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package for his album cover design based on a photograph of the Red Baron's World War I Jagdstaffel 11 Division of the German Air Force.  The faces of the band were airbrushed in along with other folks like Blind Willie Johnson and astronaut Frank Borman.  The brown outline of the cover led to its nickname "Brown Bomber".   'Led Zeppelin II' has sold over twelve million copies worldwide. 

"Whole Lotta Love" became the band's biggest single, going to number five in the Netherlands and Switzerland, four in Canada and the US, three in Austria, and number one in Australia and Germany.

"Thank You"

"Ramble On"


"What Is and What Should Never Be"

'Led Zeppelin II' 
full album:

Led Zeppelin II Full Album Vinyl Rip First... by albumuploader1

Side one
1. "Whole Lotta Love"   John Bonham/Willie Dixon/John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page/Robert Plant 5:34
2. "What Is and What Should Never Be"   Page/Plant  4:46
3. "The Lemon Song"   Bonham/Chester Burnett/Jones/Page/Plant  6:19
4. "Thank You"   Page/Plant 4:49
Side two
5. "Heartbreaker"   Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant 4:14
6. "Living Loving Maid (She's A Woman)"  Page/Plant  2:39
7. "Ramble On"   Page/Plant 4:34
8. "Moby Dick"   Bonham/Jones/Page 4:20
9. "Bring It On Home"   Dixon 4:19

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