Sorry to get all "'member when?" on you, but Ahmet Ertegun died, and it got me thinking of my formative years. If you say Atlantic Records, the first thing I think of is the label, particularly the red one with the art deco font; when I think of that label, I think of the first record I noticed it stuck to: Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" (b/w "Heartbreaker"/"Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)"). And that makes me think of The Bay City Rollers.
When I was 11 or 12 I used to go to Dave Marciano's house after school, and we'd watch dirty movies on his parents' WHT (Wometco Home Theater) system, then listen to records. For some reason, the records I remember most clearly were by The Rollers, which was really the Bay City Rollers, but... well, The Rollers were to the Bay City Rollers as Rockline was to 16 Magazine: the same thing, but with a little less sugar. Chewing gum vs. Bubblegum. So our dissatisfaction had set in, and we were ready to graduate to Circus, Hit Parader and Creem, Boy Howdy notwithstanding.
I think I'd found the "Whole Lotta Love" 45 on the street somewhere, one of about a dozen 7"-ers stuck in a nasty gold record rack someone was trashing. The name Led Zeppelin was not unfamiliar to me: I had 15-year-old bad influence buds, who smoked pot, rode mopeds and used words like crimson euphemistically (means fuckin). These guys spoke only in awed whispers of "Led Zeppelin"; that, combined with scary posters on my Cool Uncle Jeff's attic wall, made me feel as though I wasn't allowed to actually listen to that music until I had sacrificed a squirrel or danced naked on rich people's lawns. Or at least started smoking cigarettes. I know, this sounds awfully "Dazed & Confused", but no, it's "Whole Lotta Love".
I presented the record to Dave. The rusty red-orange label was so dirty, the word "Atlantic" printed there so primordial; the name of the band so... I dunno, some Big shit. Anyway, it was a whole lotta heavier than most things you psyche yourself out for. Dave dropped the needle on the record, and the opening guitar/bass riff kicked us in the balls and poured motor oil on us and made us kiss the goat's anus; then we got to the stop-time guitar solo and our eyes turned black and fell out, and we jumped off the overpass, and the color became sound, and the font became fury, and we microwaved the baby, and we saw Thor's hammer forge Valhalla, and we are coming, we are coming, and it's all for you Damian, hack splat, oh oh oh oh oh oh, - hey, I wonder whatever happened to Dave Marciano...
By request, here's "Whole Lotta Love" as performed, vertically, by Dennis Coffey, King Curtis, Ken Freedman, Led Zeppelin and Tina Turner. "Whole Lotta Whole Lotta Love" (mp3, 17.8m) Here's a version of the song by Godfrey Daniel (realaudio link to the WFMU archives) A different sort of fellow might ask you to help him compile all the covers of "Whole Lotta Love", but not me! I got 6, that's enough for me! But somebody else might want to do that, I can understand that. I'll take em and pass them along if you want, no problem.