The music of Led Zeppelin really is an epic saga of sorts. I think simply calling the second Zeppelin album "II" was more than appropriate for this band. The rock saga continues.
Once you learn how this album was recorded, then the unique talent and sound of Led Zeppelin is more than apparent. Lesser bands did not possess the power to create such a cohesive piece of music while containing a signature sound. Prior to the internet, the legend was that "II" was recorded in hotel rooms across the country whilst the band was on tour. I always wondered how the unsuspecting guests in adjacent rooms felt about John Bohnam's drums splitting their skulls in two through thin hotel walls. It was always a fun thought, and totally a rock n roll thing to do if true. Alas, with the golden age of internet surfing, we have come to find out that only the writing sessions for the album were done in hotels. A much more realistic and manageable task, but still a little less fun to think about.
Squashed rumors or not, this still does not affect the power and mystique of the second Led Zeppelin album. It apparently was recorded in haste, while on tour in shitty studios all over England and The United States. Eddie Kramer was on board this time to assist Jimmy Page in the engineering and production. This was also the first time that Robert Plant was credited in the song writing process. When listening to the lyrics of the songs, it is clear that this was a turning point in lyrical content and style for the band. The young Plant was coming into his own as a songwriter. A legendary frontman was emerging. The Golden God was born.
Led Zeppelin II is largely regarded as the birth place for what would be come modern heavy metal. Its hard to imagine that these days, but before 1969, there was probably nothing heavier than the riff to "Whole Lotta Love". In the fairly new world of distorted guitar rock, Im sure a first listen to this music in 1969 was brutal, shocking, and amazing at the same time. The album would go gold in 1969 and would go on to sell over 12 million copies. The critics were wrong again. But who really listens to them anyway?