Led Zeppelin II was a rock and roll album released October 22, 1969
(see 1969 in music) by Led Zeppelin. The album was released on Atlantic Records.
The band took the ideas established on their debut album and developed them
forward, creating an even more influential and acclaimed album with Led Zeppelin
II. Unlike the first record, the band faced no allegations of musical plagiarism
from other artists 1, leading many Led Zeppelin fans to consider this the first
undisputed classic by the band (though that first album is still extremely
well-thought of in all music circles).
The groundbreaking album was instrumental in defining the sound of hard rock. The songs on Led Zeppelin II were driven by powerful riffs and heavy rythms, crafting a pure rock sound that has proven more influential than almost any other album in the genre. Songs like "Whole Lotta Love" and "Heartbreaker" pushed the hard rock riff to the front, defining the song and providing the key hook rather than the vocal. This was very uncommon in 1969, particularly in a mainstream band.
One of the more popular albums by Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II was an early forerunner of heavy metal, and helped inspire a lot of the next generation of metal performers, including Blue Öyster Cult, Van Halen and Deep Purple.
Commercially, "Whole Lotta Love" was Led Zeppelin's biggest hit; it reached #4 on the Billboard Top 100 in January 1970, which was after the record company went against the group's wishes by releasing an edited, shorter version on a 45. It may not be as well-known as the later hit Stairway to Heaven, but as that song was not released as a single, "Whole Lotta Love" was the song that yielded the band's highest chart position. The song is an example of compound AABA form. "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)" peaked at #65.
In 2003 the TV network VH1 named Led Zeppelin II the 43rd greatest album of all time.