Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
Colonial

Awkward lyrics/vocals

Recommended Posts

One of the things that Beatles fans sometimes observe looking back is how some of the early lyrics (John's, in particular) have aged poorly.  For example, Run For Your Life and You Can't Do That are more than a little creepy/stalkerish/controlling sounding to 21st century ears.  

In my view this doesn't apply to Zeppelin as the lyrics are pretty uniformly upbeat and/or melancholy, but never hostile or threatening. However there are a couple of awkward moment let's just say, at least when I listen.  The intro to Bring It On Home, where Robert's doing his best impression of a Chicago bluesman, and the whole shotgun bit in HOTRH. 

Before folks pile on saying I'm too PC, let me say that (a) I think these songs were both intended as homage/respect for the art form of the blues, and (b) I can't see how either Robert or Jimmy has ever had a racist or violent bone in their bodies or thought in their heads.

But I would say that I figure they wouldn't record these songs that way today.  

Anyway that just struck me this morning. Just interesting how times change and how the context for the originals is disappearing, in that now I'm sure someone somewhere is calling that "cultural appropriation."

And wondering if any other lyrics seem to clang on the floor these days for one reason or another?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sathington Willoughby said:

 

Hearing Robert use the original lyric to 'Bottle Up and Go' is a bit surprising. (@17:08)

LOL! I'd never heard that. Yowza.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Sathington Willoughby said:

 

lol. Maybe we're reading too much into it, perhaps the man just didn't like cold hot dogs? :P

That's gotta be it, Sath.  Silly me! :blush:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, Sathington Willoughby said:

 

lol. Maybe we're reading too much into it, perhaps the man just didn't like cold hot dogs? :P

I must concur, I really hate it when my wiener gets cold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a lot of respect for blues legends like Robert Johnson and Charley Patton, but you have to admit that lyrically these guys have had their awkward moments (or should I say overly sexualized moments ;) )

I must say that these lyrics do come pretty close to 'topics' such as warm wieners! :P 

Lyric 1 :  You can squeeze my lemon till juice run down my leg. That's what I'm talking about!

 

 

Lyric 2: She's got a long tall woman, tall like a cherry tree, babe. She gets up before day and she puts that thing on me

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Sathington Willoughby said:

 

lol. Maybe we're reading too much into it, perhaps the man just didn't like cold hot dogs? :P

His other tunes are also brilliant.  "Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me" being a fave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

travellin riverside blues - "she aint but 16 but she's my rider" I think even back then those lyrics weren't the most socially acceptable :lol:

HOTRH - "well, I ain't no monkey, I can't climb no tree, no brown skin woman gonna make no monkey out of me, yeah, I ain't no monkey, sure can climb no tree."

I think robert plant has a few slightly off color or cheesy lyrics but not a whole lot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Squeeze my lemon until the juice runs down my leg," quite apparent that it's a reference to the male member and the reproductive fluid emerging.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The raw, socially unacceptable lyrics are part of what drew 60s teens to the blues.

That was like punk rock to them.

I think there is an interview with either Jimmy or Robert where one of them says something about not being able to believe what the blues singers were singing about, and being particularly fond of the freedom of expression they had. This was the pre-2LiveCrew white-clean-and-neat late 50s, early 60s.

 

Jimmy often cites Elvis Presley's "Let's Play House" as an inspiration.

"In those days he was talking about 'living in sin!.' It just wasn't done."

I believe comes close to the original quote.

 

We may be getting to the point when some sort of period cultural context is necessary to appreciate some aspects of Zeppelin's work.

However, it seems there really aren't any limits to what can be said in a song in this day and age.

I find it a little difficult to believe that anyone would be offended by Led Zeppelin, but be fine with Wutang Clan or Beastie Boys.

I've just used three rap examples, but, in terms of (relatively) modern music, that's what I tend to listen to.

They get that Bonham-like groove going... when they aren't just sampling him outright. :)

I'm not coming up with any (again, relatively) contemporary Pop or Rock examples. Miley Cyrus?

I mean if you're ok with THAT, then I think there's a double standard in play when you criticize Zeppelin.

 

Regarding vocal delivery, well, it would have been even more laughable to have sung Bring It On Home in, for example, an operatic style.

I have to question criticism of Plant's singing style based on the tone of his skin.

Crooning those songs like Johnny Ray would be equally ludicrous and critiqued as too "straight."

 

Most cases of Zeppelin lyrics blasting through bad taste barriers tend to be appropriated lyrics.

Hats of to (Roy) Harper, and Bring it on Home are both making extensive use of quotes from existing material.

Robert Johnson may have picked up the lemon squeezing line from someone else who never got recorded... we don't know.

In general, though, there aren't many bands that sound as horny as Zeppelin, and few would even try

to get away with the innuendo, or brazen misogynistic themes found of some of Zeppelin's raunchier stuff. 

The ones that do mostly can't pull it off... no pun intended. I find Plant's lyrics becoming more and more esoteric, and abstract

through the life of the band. They still get into some pretty lewd territory right through Presence, but that's

the Zeppelin world. That's the 70s. They lived that. Being able to write about it as eloquently as they do, is quite an accomplishment, I think.

 

Personally, having become so accustomed to Zeppelin's lyrical approach,

I tend to find other heavy bands of the era are pretty hard to listen to. The lyrics, or delivery, usually ruin

what would otherwise have been a bad-ass song. Plant is usually the target of whatever criticism people have for Zeppelin, but

to my taste, his lyrics are a step above the rest. I mean, you  get the feeling that he and Jimmy Page actually read books when they're off the road...

I don't get that feeling when I listen to many other comparable band's lyrics.

 

IMHO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today, a lyric like "Kill this person, rape that person" wouldn't be too shocking, but I'm sure The Lemon Song caused quite an outrage during its era.

Edited by Marmalade_Skies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...