Monday, May 27, 2013

No. 374 – Whole Lotta Love

Performer: Led Zeppelin
Songwriters: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, Willie Dixon
Original Release: Led Zeppelin II
Year: 1969
Definitive Version: Live Aid, 1985. This song alone probably was the reason why Led Zeppelin didn’t allow their performance to be included on the Live Aid DVDs, but I love it. It’s loose and jammy; it’s rock and roll, and it’s why this song even is on this list at all.

I particularly love Plant’s introduction: They had just played Rock and Roll, and everyone was stunned that Led Zeppelin—or some reasonable facsimilie—had reunited. The Philadelphia crowd’s roaring, and Plant asks, “Any requests?” before they rip into this song.

Beth hated this song. I mentioned that she hated Zeppelin; well, she particularly hated this song. She thought it was disgusting. I played it all the time my senior year at Wabash.

The athletic highlight of any school year at Wabash is the Monon Bell game—the annual football game between Wabash and DePauw, wherein the winner takes home the coveted Monon Bell until the next year. When I was at Wabash, Dad always came over to partake of the rivalry—particularly after I started doing the radio. He’d be in the stands with his transistor and earphone on.

My senior year, 1985, he brought everyone with him—Laura, Jin, Scott and Beth. My brother Matt stayed home with a babysitter. He got two rooms at the Holiday Inn north of Crawfordsville—one for he and Laura and one for Jin and Beth (which is why she was able to come). Scott would spend the night at my apartment. (My roommate Matt was visiting his girlfriend at Earlham.)

As you might imagine, this was a bit problematic. It was easy enough to get rid of the adults and Jin at the end of the night, but Scott was going to be with me. How could I possibly produce some much needed alone time with Beth?

Scott was 15; it wasn’t like I could send him off to a house party. Worse yet, he wanted to hang out. As I found out later, he was going through a rough patch at home, and he just plain didn’t want to be sent packing so his older brother could sex up his girlfriend.

So I used the time-honored method of making something happen when people are making it difficult for you: I paid off Scott. I gave him $20, which was a huge amount for me at the time, and told him to go play video games at the student center, maybe get a burger at the Scarlet Inn. Come back in two hours.

He wasn’t keen to go, but with the promise of free Dig Dug, Galaga, Centipede and Tempest dancing in his head, that seemed like an acceptable deal. Off he went, and when Scott had gone, off Beth and I scampered to my bedroom.

We were preparing for round two when I heard Scott on the front porch coming in the door. I looked at the clock; only three minutes had gone by. Just kidding. It was about 40 minutes, I think, not yet an hour. I didn’t give Scott a key, so I had to let him in. Beth and I scrambled to get dressed.

When I opened the door, Scott was steaming. What happened? The video-game room and the Scarlet Inn were closed. Closed? No way! It wasn’t even 10, on a Saturday. Both stayed open till midnight on weekdays. Well, they’re closed now.

Scott said he watched some TV for a while in the student center, but nothing was on, so he got bored. He couldn’t even get a Coke out of a vending machine, because he couldn’t make change for a Twenty.

Feeling like the world’s worst brother, which at that moment I was, I told him to keep the money. “Oh, I’m definitely keeping the money; that’s not a question.” The question undoubtedly was how do I get back into his good graces. I’d figure that out after I took Beth back to the hotel. Obviously, she was understanding that our night ended a bit prematurely. (Insert your own joke here.)

Well, the good news is all it took to get back in Scott’s good graces was a good night’s sleep. He was fine the next day, and by the next weekend when Scott and I talked again, we joked about it—with me as the fool of the drama, as was richly deserved. Hey, we’re brothers. That’s just how we roll.

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