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Album: Led Zeppelin IIReleased: 1969
The production makes liberal use of stereo as the guitars pan back and forth between channels. The vocals were phased during Robert Plant's screaming part.
This was one of Plant's first songs recorded by the band, and also marks the first appearance of drummer John Bonham's Chinese gong, which he set up as part of his drum kit in concerts. The gong appears in the middle part among Jimmy Page's guitar riffs.
Led Zeppelin played this live from 1969 to 1972.
According to the book Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga, Plant wrote this song reflecting on his affair with his wife's younger sister.
The song was one of the first debut appearances of Jimmy Page's Gibson Les Paul guitar. The guitar is heard here hopping back and forth between stereo channels.
In Billy Joel's 1997 appearance in VH1's Storytellers
, Joel plunks this out as part of his medley-intro to "We Didn't Start The Fire
The Led Zeppelin DVD contains a live version of "What Is And What Should Never Be" performed at the Royal Albert Hall.