“Whole Lotta Love” is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. It is featured as the opening track on the band’s second album, Led Zeppelin II, and was released in the US and Japan as a single.
Most people think it is a Led Zeppelin original but they actually nicked two versions of two songs to make “Whole Lotta Love”. Here’s the breakdown…
In 1962, Muddy Waters recorded “You Need Love” written for him by Willie Dixon. Some of the lyrics of Led Zeppelin’s version were borrowed from this song, a Robert Plant favorite.
In 1966 British mod band the Small Faces recorded the song as “You Need Loving” for their début Decca LP. Plant’s phrasing is particularly similar to that of Steve Marriott’s in this version.
Similarities with “You Need Love” would lead to a lawsuit against Led Zeppelin, settled out of court in favour of Dixon in 1985. Strangely, Small Faces were never sued by Dixon, even though “You Need Loving” still only credits Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott.
Robert Plant later said…
“Page’s riff was Page’s riff. It was there before anything else. I just thought, ‘well, what am I going to sing?’ That was it, a nick. Now happily paid for. At the time, there was a lot of conversation about what to do. It was decided that it was so far away in time (it was in fact 7 years) and influence that…well, you only get caught when you’re successful. That’s the game.”