Undoubtedly one of the greatest guitarists of all time, listening to Jimmy Page performing within Led Zeppelin is one of the finest experiences the instrument has to offer. While, of course, there is a beauty in the interplay between instruments, listening to Page’s guitar via an isolated track is a wonder-inducing experience. Featured on Led Zeppelin II, ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’ is one of Page’s finer moments and displays his talent.
What the song shows is the guitarist’s impressive range of skills. Page wasn’t just able to pull out a terrifyingly brilliant solo whenever he needed; he possessed the ear of a master craftsman and made it clear that he was a guitar impresario, the likes of which were rarely seen in any club. It’s what confirmed both Page and Led Zeppelin as a powerhouse group, and on their sophomore album, they proved it.
Difficult second album syndrome was not something that affected Led Zeppelin. On their second record, the group emerge from their chrysalis as a beautiful heavy rock butterfly. Having used their debut to make a big impact, on II, the group delivered a truly potent record capable of knocking out anyone in front of them.
The band’s gruelling touring schedule had honed not only their sound but their vision for the future too. They implemented that vision with aplomb on this record. Still resting heavily on the deep and leathered blues sound the band had brought us on their debut, but this time it came with extra verve and a double dose of swaggering rock.
The record was proof of a band that had big plans and looked more than capable of achieving them. With songs like ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ it’s easy to see how this LP set the band on their way to domination. But on the second song of the LP, ‘What Is And What Should Never Be’ Page shines for the entire band, especially when removing Robert Plant’s noted vocal, as he hops between channels, delivering his rollicking riffs.
It’s another noteworthy song in the band’s history because it was the first track written by Robert Plant that the band had recorded. Reportedly written about Plant’s affair with his wife’s younger sister, the song was a part of the group’s live set up until 1972. But perhaps the most noteworthy moment of the track is Jimmy Page’s famous Gibson Les Paul’s first-ever appearance.
You can listen to that first appearance in all its glory below, as we bring the isolated guitar track for Led Zeppelin song ‘What Is and What Should Never Be’.