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Track by Track Day 9: How Many More Times

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I know it's technically supposed to be day by day but I figured I might as well finish off Led zep I today before I go into another few months procrastination. it's become closer to month by month than day by day anyways.

One of three songs page used a bow on his guitar. Last track of their first album. I think it works well as a last track.

"Though listed at a time of 3:30 on the album sleeve, the correct length of the track is in fact 8:28. The incorrect listing was deliberate as it was intended to help promote radio play. Page knew that radio stations would never play a song over eight minutes long, so he wrote the track time as shorter on the album to trick radio stations into playing it."

that's not near the full story of it. feel free to post other facts/opinions/whatever

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heh. I had a hard time finding the other topics and since i'm making new ones for the first time I decided to bump all of the old ones.

you have a passion for Led Zeppelin 1. so start a topic on LZ1...
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It's suppose to be a track by track series. This is the last of I. Time to move on to track by track of II.

exactly. I explained this in the first track by track topic. This is supposed to go all the way through Coda (I suppose the complete recordings version because that one has extra tracks)

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the website "turnmeondeadman.com" covers many of zep's controversial songs and sources. i have found,for the most part the blog published there about HMMT is fair, well researched, and an very interesting read. here is the link: http://www.turnmeondeadman.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32&Itemid=42

and here is the article in full:

"How Many More Times" from Led Zeppelin's debut album is perhaps the best example of Robert Plant's devotion to the blues, as he pays homage to several blues artists on this track. Led Astray, Led Zeppelin's Sources of Inspiration and Zeppelin Classics all include "How Many More Years" by Howlin' Wolf, and these compilations suggest that this is the source for "How Many More Times". Other than a basic blues structure and the three shared words in the title, however, these tracks have little in common. Led Zeppelin's Sources of Inspiration also points to Howlin' Wolf's "No Place to Go", also known as "You Gonna Wreck My Life", and this is actually a better point of reference for "How Many More Times", as the opening lines of this song ("How many more times, treat me the way you wanna do?/When I give you all my love, please, please be true/I'll give you all I've got to give, rings, pearls, and all/I've got to get you together baby, I'm sure, sure you're gonna crawl") echo "No Place to Go" ("How many times you gonna treat me like you do/You took all of my money and all of my love too"). "No Place to Go" also features a hypnotic walking bass line that is somewhat like the one John Paul Jones used in "How Many More Times," though less complex. Still, "How Many More Times" goes well beyond these Howlin' Wolf tracks. "How Many More Times" explores a number of musical themes and it draws from a variety of sources to produce one of Led Zeppelin's early classics, though not entirely free of issues of plagiarism.

In the lyrics, Robert Plant pays homage to several blues and folk artists. For the most part, the lyrics of "How Many More Times" allude to a number of recordings without copy them. One such source is the Weavers' song "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," which was a hit for Jimmie Rodgers in 1957.

Well, when I was a young man never been kissed

I got to thinkin' it over how much I had missed

So I got me a girl and I kissed her and then, and then

Oh, lordy, well I kissed her again

Because she had kisses sweeter than wine

Well I asked her to marry and to be my sweet wife

I told her we'd be so happy for the rest of our life

I begged and I pleaded like a natural man

And then, whoops oh lordy, well she gave me her hand

Because she had kisses sweeter than wine

Well we worked very hard both me and my wife

Workin' hand-in-hand to have a good life

We had corn in the field and wheat in the bin

And then, whoops oh lord, I was the father of twins

Because she had kisses sweeter than wine

Well our children they numbered just about four

And they all had a sweetheart a-knockin' on the door

They all got married and they wouldn't hesitate

I was, whoops oh lord, the grandfather of eight

Because she had kisses sweeter than wine

Well now that I'm old and I'm a-ready to go

I get to thinkin' what happened a long time ago

Had a lot of kids, a lot of trouble and pain

But then, whoops oh lordy, well I'd do it all again

Because she had kisses sweeter than wine

This is most likely the inspiration for the spoken interlude in "How Many More Times" but Robert Plant's lyrics go their own way, including a reference to Sonny Boy Williamson's "Good Morning Little School Girl."

I was a young man, I couldn't resist

Started thinkin' it all over, just what I had missed

Got me a girl and I kissed her and then, and then

Whoops, oh Lordy, well I did it again

Now I got ten children of my own

I got another child on the way that makes eleven

But I'm in constant heaven

I know it's all right in my mind

'Cause I got a little schoolgirl and she's all mine

I can't get through to her 'cause it doesn't permit

But I'm gonna give her everything I've got to give

Where Robert Plant paid homage to "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" without excessively quoting the song, the same cannot be said for his use of lyrics from Albert King's 1967 song "The Hunter", which was written by the members of Booker T. & the MGs. "The Hunter" opens with the lines:

They call me the hunter, that's my name

A pretty woman like you, is my only game

I bought me a love gun, just the other day

And I aim to aim it your way

Ain't no use to hide, ain't no use to run

'Cause I've got you in the sights of my love gun

Here Robert Plant makes only slight variations from the original:

Well they call me the hunter, that's my name

They call me the hunter, that's how I got my fame

Ain't no need to hide, Ain't no need to run

'Cause I've got you in the sights of my gun

From there "How Many More Times ventures into "O Rosie" and "Steal Away". British blues artist Alexis Korner recorded tracks with these titles in the late-1960s. In fact, Robert Plant co-wrote a song called "Steal Away" with Alexis Korner and Steve Miller, which the three of them recorded in 1968. Korner's "O Rosie" is credited as "Trad. Arr. Korner". Both of these tracks are available on Alexis Korner - On the Move. In "How Many More Times" Robert Plant may have been tipping his cap to Alexis Korner, but "O Rosie" and "Steal Away" are in turn references to field recordings made by Alan Lomax in the southern United States. "O Rosie" is a prison work song Alan Lomax recorded at Parchman Farm in the late 1940s and included on Prison Songs: Historical Recordings from Parchman Farm 1947-48, Volume 2, which is part of the Alan Lomax collection on the Rounder label. This collection contains "O Rosie" along with another song called "Rosie", not to mention that a couple of other tracks refer to Rosie in the lyrics. The liner notes for this collection explain that Rosie was the female name most frequently used in work songs (even a song called "Katy Left Memphis" mentions Rosie). At least one version of "O Rosie" called simply "Rosie" recorded by Alan Lomax had been released well before Led Zeppelin I. "Rosie" was included in a collection of Lomax recordings called Negro Prison Songs that was released in 1957. Lomax had made the recordings in 1947 and 1948 but their release was delayed by a decade because Lomax was critical of the brutality of the prison labor system in the South. Lomax's original motivation for recording in prisons is that he thought these places most closely replicated the conditions of slavery. What he found instead was a distinct style of work song. I'm not clear on what reforms had been made between 1948 and 1957 that made the release of these tapes any less controversialit wasn't until 1972 that Parchman Farm was demolishedbut apparently many of the worst aspects of the prison labor system were being reformed in the years after World War II. It's safe to say that these reforms went hand in hand with the gains of the civil rights movement. The liner notes for Prison Songs: Historical Recordings from Parchman Farm 1947-48, Volume 2 say that as late as the 1970s Lomax managed to find ex-prisoners who were still able to sing "Rosie", indicating that this was one of the most common of the prison work songs.

"Steal Away" is a spiritual that can be found on a Rounder CD that contains more Lomax field recordings called Negro Religious Songs and Services. "Steal Away" dates back to the time of slavery and expresses a desire for deliverance from bondage and a strong Christian faith. This song has remained a part of African-American religious practice and has been widely recorded over the years. "Steal Away" was also one of the "freedom songs", music used to inspire activists in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

The closing refrain of "How Many More Times" contains even more references to blues songs. The line "barrelhouse all night long" comes from Robert Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues", which Led Zeppelin performed in live sets. "Traveling Riverside Blues" is the source of the line "You can squeeze my lemon 'til the juice run down my leg", which Plant worked into "The Lemon Song" on Led Zeppelin II, and the version of "How Many More Times" on BBC Sessions includes a break where Plant quotes the lemon reference from "Traveling Riverside Blues" as well. "How Many More Times" closes with the line "I've got to get to you, baby, baby, please come home," which appears to be a reference to Bessie Smith's "Baby Won't You Please Come Home". "How Many More Times" pays homage to these blues classics without relying too heavily on them, and these references only add to the aura of this song.

An interesting point of reference for Led Zeppelin's "How Many More Times" is a song by the same title recorded in 1964 by the British beat band Gary Farr and the T-Bones. This song is essentially a rewrite of Howlin' Wolf's "No Place to Go" with only minor variations in the lyrics. Led Zeppelin would probably have heard this song and it may have had some influence on them in writing their own "How Many More Times," but Led Zeppelin's work was much more original. In general, it's not accurate to say that Howlin' Wolf was the source for "How Many More Times". Though Robert Plant had clearly listened to Howlin' Wolf, he did not make substantial lifts from his material for "How Many More Times". Booker T. & the MGs, however, should have given songwriting credits for Plant's extensive use of lyrics from "The Hunter". Also, for his part, Jimmy Page engaged in a little borrowing in this trackand this involves an indirect connection to Howlin' Wolf. As Will Shade points out, the bass line from "How Many More Years" follows the Yardbirds' cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" closely. [1]This is particularly evident on the Yardbirds' BBC Sessions collection. The significant thing here is that the Yardbirds recorded this in December, 1965well before Jimmy Page joined the band.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Didn't Jimmy Page write all the lyrics on the first 3 albums? I may be wrong, but I thought that IV was the first time that Plant had gained enough of Page's confidence to be allowed the opportunity.

Anyway, the thing that stand out the most for me is Bonhams drum playing...he never repeats a fill, always some slight variation on each one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gotta be my favorite Zep tune. I never grow tired of listening to it and love to hear the different versions of it on the boots from their early shows. Must be played at maximum sound level in the car or at home or on my iPod when I listen to it also, just can't help it! My neighbors probably also know this is my fav Zep song! LOL! :D

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  • 2 weeks later...


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