Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Led Zeppelin, "Darlene"

My new roommate is named Darlene. Like any other red-blooded American music fan, my first thought was of Darlene Love, although a look through Margaret Eby's excellent Rock and Roll Baby Names uncovers "Darlene" songs by Slint (which I should've known) and Farewell (whom I'm never heard of). But if you're a metalhead, you most likely associate Darlene with the mighty Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin never wrote a bad song, though this is one of the more obscure ones, recorded for In Through the Out Door but unreleased until 1982's Coda, which is more or less Zeppelin's Let It Be. But if one judges a band by their outtakes, than Zeppelin is one of the best, as "Darlene" shakes, swings and stops with more verve than most bands' hits. It also shows Zeppelin branching out into rockabilly and barrelhouse (that's John Paul Jones on piano) ten years into their career. One of the only complaints I've ever heard about Zeppelin is that they're too structured, which anyone who's heard "D'yer Mak'er" or "Moby Dick" can tell you is ridiculous, but this makes those two sound almost stodgy by comparison. Darlene must've been a hell of a lass.

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