Riff rock had been what Jimmy Page's former band, the Yardbirds, were all about and on Led Zeppelin's second album, released, like its predecessor, in 1969, the inventive guitarist demonstrated that he'd indeed learned his lessons well. Witness "Whole Lotta Love", a woozy epic based on one simple, head-banging-friendly guitar riff. Or the mock-dramatic "Heartbreaker", propelled by far more intricate but similarly effective note squashing. Between Page's sonic wizardry, John Bonham beating his drums into submission ("Moby Dick"), and the juice running down Robert Plant's leg ("The Lemon Song"), Led Zeppelin here just about succeeded in raising rock & roll excess to an art form. From the first grinding notes of the famous vamp that introduces "Whole Lotta Love", LED ZEPPELIN II announces for all to hear that they are the definitive hard rock band of theirgeneration. But before the listener can even settle into the groove, things takes a hard left turn into a spacey new rhythm, exotically flavoured by Page's droning feedback and innovative use of a violin bow. By tune's end, Zeppelin has repeatedly toyed with the listener's expectations. This subversive quality distinguishes most of the arrangements on LED ZEPPELIN II, as in the soft/hard dynamic shifts of "What Is And What Should Never Be", the gospelish mood of "Thank You", the rocking vamps and funk rhythms of "Heartbreaker" and"Living Loving Maid", and the country music echoes of "Ramble On". And in their appropriations of source materials fromHowlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Sonny Boy Williamson, Page and company continued to mine the rich vein of the blues.