Led Zeppelin - Rock and Roll - Meaning of the song
As the title suggests, the song is based on one of the most popular structures in rock and roll; namely, the 12-bar blues progression (in A). The phrase "Rock and Roll" was a term blues musicians used, which meant sex.
Robert Plant wrote the lyrics, which were a response to critics who claimed their previous album, Led Zeppelin III, wasn't really rock and roll. Led Zeppelin III had more of an acoustic folk sound, and Plant wanted to prove they could still rock out. "We just thought rock and roll needed to be taken on again," he told Creem in 1988. "I was finally in a really successful band, and we felt it was time for actually kicking ass. It wasn't an intellectual thing, 'cause we didn't have time for that - we just wanted to let it all come flooding out. It was a very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing, what we were doing."
This song came about when the band was working on "Four Sticks" at the Headley Grange mansion they had rented in Hampshire, England to record the album. With a pretty much unplayable drum pattern, John Bonham got frustrated with the session, and tensions rose. In a pique of anger, he started playing something completely different: a riff based on the intro to the 1957 Little Richard song "Keep a Knockin'" (session great Earl Palmer was the drummer on that one). Infused with creative energy, they put "Four Sticks" aside and started working on this new song, which they called "It's Been a Long Time." Jimmy Page blasted out a guitar part, and the bones of the song were completed in about 30 minutes.
Rock and roll - Lyrics
It's been a long time since I rock-and-rolled It's been a long time since I did the Stroll Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back Let me get it back, baby, where I come from It's been a long time, been a long time Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time Yes, it has It's been a long time since The Book of Love I can't count the tears of a life with no love Carry me back, carry me back Carry me back, baby, where I come from Whoa, whoa, oh It's been a long time, been a long time Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time Oh! Seems so long since we walked in the moonlight Making vows that just can't work right Oh yeah, open your arms, opens your arms Open your arms, baby, let my love come running in! Yeah! It's been a long time, been a long time Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time Ooh yeah, ooh yeah Ooh yeah, ooh yeah It's been a long time, been a long time Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time