roc-01.jpg

Zeppelin were struggling to rehearse "Four Sticks" when Bonham spontaneously played the now-famous snare and open-high-hat drum intro to "Rock and Roll," which imitates the first few bars of Little Richard's 1957 hit "Keep A Knockin'." The song – initially called "It's Been a Long Time" – expresses a palpable longing for youth and the innocence of Fifties rock: Plant refers to the Stroll, an old dance, and to "The Book of Love," by the Montones, from 1958. But the music recasts rock & roll as something fierce and modern.

This Song Was a Response to Critics Who Claimed Their Previous Album Wasn't Really Rock n' Roll

 

Robert Plant wrote the lyrics, which were a response to critics who claimed their previous album, Led Zeppelin III, wasn't really rock and roll. Led Zeppelin III had more of an acoustic, folk sound, and Plant wanted to prove they could still rock out.

"We just thought rock and roll needed to be taken on again," he told Creem in 1988. "I was finally in a really successful band, and we felt it was time for actually kicking ass. It wasn't an intellectual thing, 'cause we didn't have time for that - we just wanted to let it all come flooding out. It was a very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing, what we were doing."

This was the First Led Zeppelin Song Used in a Commercial

 

This was the first Led Zeppelin song used in a commercial. Cadillac used it to kick off a new advertising campaign in 2002 with the tagline "Breakthrough." The company was going for a hip, new image, since their audience was slowly dying off. The spots aired for the first time on the Super Bowl, and sales rose 16% the next year.

'Rock And Roll' was Written in Minutes and Recorded Within an Hour

 

Jimmy Page recalled to Uncut magazine how this song seemed to come out of thin air. "We were recording something else when John Bonham started playing the drum intro to 'Keep a Knockin' by Little Richard and I immediately started playing the riff for 'Rock And Roll.' Instead of laughing it off and going back to the previous song, we kept going. 'Rock And Roll' was written in minutes and recorded within an hour."

It's been a long time since I rock and rolled
It's been a long time since I did the Stroll
Oh let me get it back let me get it back
Let me get it back baby where I come from

It's been a long time been a long time
Been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely time
Yes it has
It's been a long time since the book of love
I can't count the tears of a life with no love
Carry me back carry me back
Carry me back, baby, where I come from

It's been a long time, been a long time
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time
Seems so long since we walked in the moonlight
Making vows that just can't work right
Open your arms, opens your arms
Open your arms, baby, let my love come running in
It's been a long time, been a long time
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time

ROCK AND ROLL