When Led Zeppelin recorded the iconic guitar driven “Whole Lotta Love”, the drums had to be right. “For the song to work as this panoramic audio experience, I needed Bonzo [drummer John Bonham] to really stand out, so that every stick stroke sounded clear and you could really feel them. If the drums were recorded just right, we could lay in everything else,” said guitarist Jimmy Page. When you listen to the drums two things stand out. First, Bonham’s driving groove is not a straight ahead hi-hat hit on“1 and, 2 and”—it’s a floating groove between the “e” and the “and” of a sixteenth note [1 e + a, 2 e + a] feel. Second, some of the best recorded drums today come from being recorded in a big room. Page was a recording genius—way before his time. “There were two studios at Olympic—one large and one small. Management had installed our 16-track recorder in the small one with hopes of luring rock bands in there and away from the larger 60-by-40-foot space with 28-foor ceilings, where we recorded mostly classical works and film scores. But Jimmy [Page] chose the larger one—even though it only had an 8-track recorder. He wanted the extra space so the drums could be miked properly for stereo,” said recording engineer George Chkiantz. The WSJ has more on the making of “Whole Lotta Love”, for you here.
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