Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Lemon Song - Led Zeppelin

  ' The Lemon Song' is of course by Led Zeppelin and is on their 1969 album Led Zeppelin II. It was recorded in Hollywood, California at Mystic Studios while the band was on their second tour of America. 'The Lemon Song' was released October 22, 1969.

  With sexual innuendo laced through 'The Lemon Song' also featured some of Zeppelin's most blues influenced playing. 'Lemon' was practically recorded live in studio. There was no electrical devices used to create Robert Plant's vocal. It was made purely with Plant's voice and the acoustics of a 16x16 foot room with wooden walls in Mystic Studios.And of course with the heavily funk influenced complex bass performance of John Paul Jones.

  'The Lemon Song' was performed on Zeppelin's first three tours of the U.S. ( on the first tour as 'Killing Floor'), before it was dropped from their live line-up in late 1969. But the "squeeze my lemon" continued to be inserted in 'A Whole Lotta Love' medley and ad libbed elsewhere.

'The Lemon Song' borrows (maybe a little too heavily) from Howlin' Wolf's 'Killing Floor, which Led Zeppelin would often incorporate into their live set list during their first tour of America.For the second and third North American tours it evolved into 'The Lemon Song', with Robert Plant often improvising lyrics on stage.

  Other lyrics, notably "squeeze (my lemon) 'til the juice runs down my leg', can be traced back to Robert Johnson's song ' Travelling Riverside Blues' ( sometimes also called 'Mudbone' or Mud Bone'). It's also likely that Robert Johnson borrowed this song himself from another 1937 Arthur McKay song called 'She Squeezed My Lemon'. The song also borrowed from Albert King's 1966 song 'Cross-Cut Saw'.

On the early 1970's British re-release of Led Zeppelin II, does the label list 'The Lemon Song' as 'Killing Floor' as the third song and credited it to Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf's given name), while the liner notes list the song as 'The Lemon Song' and give Led Zeppelin credit. So, in December of 1972, Led Zeppelin was sued by Arc Music, owners of the publishing rights to Howlin' Wolf songs, for copyright infringement. The suit was settled out of court. Even though the terms of the settlement were not released, soon after Howlin' Wolf received a check from Arc Music for $45,123 and co-writing credit on further releases of the song.


I should have quit you baby, long time ago
I should have quit you baby long time ago
I wouldn't be here, my children down, on the killin' floor

I should have listened, baby, to my second mind
I should have listened, baby, to my second mind
Every time I go away and leave you, darling, you send me the blues way down the line.

Said, people worry I can't keep you satisfied.
Let me tell you baby, you ain't nothin' but a two-bit, no good jive.

Went to sleep last night, worked as hard as I can, Bring home my money, you take it, give it to another man.
I should quit you, baby, such along time ago. 
I wouldn't be here with all my troubles, on the killing floor.

Squeeze me baby, 'til the juice runs down my leg.
Squeeze me baby, 'til the juice runs down my leg.
The way you squeeze my lemon, I'm gonna fall right out of bed.

I'm going to leave my children right on this killing floor.

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