Big Love

Album: Manic Nirvana (1990)

Songfacts®:

  • Not to be confused with his hit "Big Log," "Big Love" harks back to a proud tradition of shameless, barely discreet sexual innuendo that once filled Led Zeppelin songs such as "Whole Lotta Love." In a way, in fact, the song is a thematic companion to "Whole Lotta Love," in that both use "love" and a size descriptor to suggest the considerable endowment of Robert Plant. Few would say "Big Love" is the better of the two musical celebrations of Plant's phallus, but it is the funnier one.

    The whole song is an excuse to find funny ways to elliptically discuss Plant's "big love." It leaves one wondering if there are so many words in the song because the writers (it was written by Plant, Phil Johnstone, and Chris Blackwell) were having such fun coming up with all these little jokes. There is an underlying narrative to the song, however.
  • "Big Love" is about a long sexual affair with a flight attendant (which Plant calls a "hostess"). The ordering of the words is sometimes confusing, but it boils down to Plant having trysts with this woman for 21 years and the equivalent of 4,000 miles of air travel. They do it in the airplane bathroom and in hotel rooms on the ground (including one where Jimmy Page stayed).

    When Plant struck out solo with Pictures at Eleven in 1982, he made a concerted effort to explore the romantic side that was somewhat denied in the adrenaline-fueled Zeppelin era. "Big Love" deviates from that new course and takes Plant back in time to his libidinous heyday.
  • The song has perhaps the most '80s sexual innuendo ever recorded:

    I will fill your corporate file

    The 1980s were defined by a glorification of materialism and corporatism (with the '90s grunge era being a sneering rejection of those idols). While the Manic Nirvana album hit shelves in 1990, it was recorded in 1989, so it's really a product of that decade.
  • This was the first single released off of Manic Nirvana, Robert Plant's fifth studio album. The song peaked at #35 on the Mainstream Rock Chart.
  • Co-writer Chris Blackwell also played drums and guitars on Manic Nirvana. Cowriter Phil Johnstone co-wrote nearly every song on the album, produced it, and did keyboards and guitars.

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