The Led Zeppelin song that was inspired by James Brown
There would have been a few worried industry executives when the thought of recording a new Led Zeppelin album arose in 1972. With Led Zeppelin IV becoming one of the greatest rock albums of all time, the next Zep material was always destined to be a tough one.
However, as they often did, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones would surprise all their fans and their label and deliver an entirely unique album, Houses of the Holy.
The record would feature some of Zeppelin’s most notable songs of all time, like ‘D’Yer Make Her’, ‘The Song Remains The Same’ and ‘No Quarter’, but also provide the band to truly unleash their funky side and pay homage to the Godfather of Funk, James Brown.
The record is famed for having as many musical directions as is possible on an album. That said, it is the song ‘The Crunge’ that has become known for being Zeppelin’s funk number. An unusual 9/8 rhythm, a funk sound, and carefree lyrics have made it an essential listening experience for Zeppelin fans.
When we say essential, we’re not exactly confirming the track as brilliant. Like ‘D’Yer Make Her’, which acted as the other single on the release, the song sees the band trying to experiment but often falling closer to imitation than inspiration. It’s a sentiment that is confirmed when Plant sings, “Where’s that confounded bridge?” in homage to Brown’s famous line.
Lyrically, the song is a little tongue-in-cheek and a little downright stupid—but much of that frivolity came from the song’s conception. Originally beginning life as a jam session between John Bonham and John Paul Jones, the song soon morphed into an album track.
As the track abruptly ends, Plant is left posing the aforementioned question it becomes clear that the unanswered query is a fair assessment of why the song never popped.