Song of the Week – What Is and What Should Never Be, Led Zeppelin


Today’s post will be short and sweet. (I’m still jet lagged due to my return flight from Europe yesterday.)

Wednesday, October 22nd, marks the 45th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin II (1969). The album quickly ran up to the top position on the worldwide charts – knocking The Beatles’ Abbey Road out of that spot here in the US. They just don’t make ‘em like they used to, do they?

The SotW is “What Is and What Should Never Be.”

The song was one of the first to have lyrics contributed by Robert Plant. It’s a slow blues that uses the soft/loud dynamic that Led Zeppelin employed to such great effect. MOJO recently made a list of the 50 Greatest Zeppelin Songs and WIaWSNB came in at #26. Writer Clive Prior had this to say about it.

Plant’s half-whispered, phased vocal is both seductive and covert, the invitation to his lady friend to visit his nearby castle sounding playful as well as slightly absurd on a song of alleged deep confession. Then in a dramatic vocal switch, he assumes his strutting Golden God persona, his strident vocal bursting dramatically forth. Page’s intimate production adds a smoothness to the atmospherics served up by Jones and Bonham, the drummer’s gong pressed into service for the first time on record at 1:09 to shimmering effect.

Enjoy… until next week.