Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This is a Blues classic that had been recorded by Muddy Waters and a slew of rock musicians looking to add some Blues to their repertoire. The song was written by Willie Dixon and J.B. Lenoir. The very first version was recorded by Muddy Waters because Dixon was his bass player.
How did Muddy Waters feel about getting the Led Zeppelin treatment? The year after their version came out, he said: "I feel good, sure I like it. I love it. I wish someone would call my name fifty million times a day. The more you call, the more people gonna hear. That don't bother me."
Jeff Beck, who played with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page in The Yardbirds, released a version of this song a few months earlier on his album Truth. In a 1977 interview with Guitar Player magazine, Page explained: "Beck and I came from the same sort of roots. If you've got things you enjoy, then you want to do them – to the horrifying point where we'd done our first LP with 'You Shook Me', and then I heard he'd done 'You Shook Me.' I was terrified because I thought they'd be the same. But I hadn't even known he'd done it, and he hadn't known that we had."
Jimmy Page played on many sessions for other artists and was a prominent member of The Yardbirds, but when this album was released, his guitar work became legendary not just among musicians, but also among fans. His solo on this was a great example of his talents.
Zeppelin frequently played at their early live shows.
John Paul Jones played the solos on electric piano and Hammond organ. Both were double tracked.
This was the first Zeppelin song to use a call-and-response blues style.
Page used his "backward echo" technique on this towards the end with Plant's screaming vocals and the guitar. Page first used this production technique, which involved hearing the echo before the main sound instead of after it, on the 1967 Yardbirds single "Ten Little Indians
." In an interview with Guitar Magazine
in 1993 Page recalled how the backwards echo effect came together on this song: "I told the engineer, Glyn Johns, that I wanted to use backwards echo on the end. He said, 'Jimmy, it can't be done.' I said 'Yes, it can. I've already done it.' Then he began arguing, so I said, 'Look, I'm the producer. I'm going to tell you what to do, and just do it.' So he grudgingly did everything I told him to, and when we were finished he started refusing to push the fader up so I could hear the result. Finally, I had to scream, 'Push the bloody fader up!' And lo and behold, the effect worked perfectly."
In 2000, Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes released a version of this on Live At The Greek, recorded at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles.
Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.
Tony Joe White
The writer of "Rainy Night in Georgia" and "Polk Salad Annie" explains how he cooks up his Louisiana swamp rock.
Did Marvin try out with the Detroit Lions? Did he fake crazy to get out of military service? And what about the cross-dressing?
Artis the Spoonman
Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?