No. 16: ‘Trampled Under Foot’ – Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs
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Led Zeppelin weren’t a funk band by any stretch of the imagination, but they could sure cook up a deep groove when the mood struck. The No. 16 song on our list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs, ‘Trampled Under Foot’ is a stand-out from the band’s 1975 double-album ‘Physical Graffiti’ and five-and-a-half minutes of pure sexual adrenaline, and it is, without a doubt, the funkiest these four white Brits ever got.
‘Trampled’ evolved directly from a jam session, which is fitting considering the track’s loose, repetitive drive. Robert Plant‘s unhinged, foaming-at-the-mouth sexuality is front-and-center, amplifying the sex-car metaphors of Robert Johnson’s ‘Terraplane Blues’ with cocky bravado. In retrospect, the swagger comes off a bit awkward (“Mama, let me pump your gas” isn’t one of Plant’s finest moments as a lyricist), but the track is redeemed by the funkiness brewing beneath.
John Paul Jones has always been Led Zep’s unsung hero, mostly because his playing (whether on bass guitar, keyboards, or any of his other stringed instruments) isn’t as flashy as that of his bandmates. But ‘Trampled’ is a Jones showcase from top-to-bottom, built on a relentless, Stevie Wonder-inspired clavinet groove and featuring a transcendent late-track solo. Sure, Jimmy Page‘s psychedelic wah-wah and John Bonham‘s thick 4/4 pound add plenty of horsepower, but let’s give credit where credit is due: ‘Trampled Under Foot’ is a John Paul Jones master class.