Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Led Zeppelin, "Bring it on Home"

9 Days to Find a Home

Led Zeppelin II was famously trashed by critics when it arrived (check out the Rolling Stone review, which looks hilariously close to something one would read on Vice or Pitchfork in 2015) in 1969. Listening to "Bring it on Home" I can tell why. Led Zeppelin is so ingrained in the roots of American music that today one could argue that they're artistically closer to John Lee Hooker than Metallica. But in the '60s, it must've sounded like Blueshammer to purists.

It took major cajones, or lack of self-consciousness, for a group of white, hard-rockin' British 20somethings to adapt Sonny Boy Williamson song (and a phrase that had already been a hit in both Sam Cooke and Bo Diddley's repertoires) into their own headbanging original, without even crediting songwriter Willie Dixon. To be fair, the Page riff sonically overwhelms Dixon's, to the point where Zeppelin owns the song at least as much as the Beach Boys own "Surfin' U.S.A." And judging from the amount of bands that have covered "Bring it on Home" since Led Zeppelin, I'd argue, to paraphrase Bob Dylan on Dylan Thomas, that Zeppelin did more for Sonny Boy Williamson than Williamson did for Zeppelin.

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