How Little Richard Inspired Led Zep’s “Rock and Roll”
Little Richard live in 1957 - the rockabillie / Youtube
Little Richard helped shape the kaleidoscope of music in both direct and indirect ways. He was the inspiration to some of the big names in the music industry; a sheer indication that this talented man truly encapsulated the embodiment of a rock legend. Led Zeppelin was among the many lines of artists that Little Richard had an impact on.
As a British teenager who spent his childhood listening to music, Robert Plant has been “born again, saved, and reincarnated by American music.” “If I hadn’t heard the Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Little Richard music, I wouldn’t have been drawn to music,” Plant said in a 2015 interview. “Most of the music we [in England] were surrounded by was slush, without any commitment,” he continued.
But it wasn’t just Plant who is fond of Richard. The three remaining members spoke fondly of the musician’s one-of-a-kind style and stage persona. To them, Little Richard was simply wonderful. This is why such admiration seeped through one of Zep’s sessions inside their phenomenal album Led Zeppelin IV.
Like any other band, there was, Led Zeppelin was prone to roadblocks. It’s not every day that the guys were filled with an idea on top of an idea. And when that occurs, Jimmy Page encourages others to “stop and do something else— go to the pub or a restaurant or something, or play another song,” he admitted inside the Light & Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page book. Fortunately for them, the band would often opt to do the latter.
John Bonham opened the session with a drumming part from Little Richard’s “Keep a Knockin.” This made Page a little better and he began to play groovy riffs, with John Paul Jones following through. The spontaneous jamming led to the creation of their song “Rock and Roll,” and Plant gave the lyrics which tells us an ode to 50s rock n’ roll.
“It’s been a long time since I rock and rolled
It’s been a long time since I did the stroll
Ooh let me get it back, let me get it back
Let me get it back, baby, where I come from”