I was listening a “rock’n’roll” radio program the other day (i.e., “We play all the hits from the 50’s, the 50’s, and the 50’s!”) when a song called “Pistol Packin’ Mama” came on. I’d never heard it before, but as soon as it started…
I sauntered on over to Wikipedia’s entry for the Led Zeppelin song to see if anyone noticed that coincidence / theft / homage (pick one), and was surprised to read this:
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has said that this song came to be written as a spontaneous jam session, whilst the band were trying (and failing) to finish the track “Four Sticks“. Drummer John Bonham played the introduction to Little Richard‘s “Keep a Knockin’” and Page added a guitar riff. The tapes were rolling and fifteen minutes later the basis of the song was down.
Here’s the start of “Keep A-Knockin'”:
Even knowing what I know now (I didn’t know any of that stuff before), I reckon the start of “Rock And Roll” still sounds more like “Pistol Packin’ Mama” than “Keep A-Knockin'”.
Update: Commenter Frank (Hi, Frank!) said this:
You can add one more to the list – Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else”
I certainly can, young man.
Here are the full versions:
In the interests of completeness (and because I like it a lot), here’s the original version of “Pistol Packin’ Mama”:
And I don’t know if this brings this post round full circle, but Led Zeppelin recorded a version of Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else”: