Prince Shreds Through Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’
A relentless beat, guitar histrionics and a falsetto voice singing about wanting sex. Those characteristics define much of the catalog of both Prince and Led Zeppelin. The two came together in a Sin City showroom when Prince covered "Whole Lotta Love" on his 2003 home video Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas.
In typical Prince fashion, he doesn't perform the entire song. He mostly dispenses with the lyrics after 39 seconds and then fills up the next four minutes with some guitar wizardry. He begins with two minutes of bluesy soloing, then there's a breakdown where he plays some jazzy licks with a wah-wah pedal and he concludes by repeatedly smacking the side of his instrument before laying it down on the stage and gently placing a white handkerchief over it.
Watch Prince Perform "Whole Lotta Love" in Las Vegas
Prince seemed to have contradictory views on Led Zeppelin. While discussing 1985's Around the World in a Day with Rolling Stone, Prince said he didn't mind that the album was referred to as his "psychedelic" album because "that was the only period in recent history that delivered songs and colors. Led Zeppelin, for example, would make you feel differently on each song."
Had Robert Plant heard that quote, his heart would have definitely sunk. In 1988, the former Led Zeppelin singer told Rolling Stone that "Prince and Page together would be great," adding that he loved Prince's sense of "sheer entertainment and audacity."
A few years later, Plant expanded on his love of Prince. "Prince is probably the most impressive single person," he said, "Because he's incredibly inventive but he's using a lot of old – he's coming from all sorts of areas from the past and he's really pushing them all through a blender so they come out oozing and dripping with honey, sex. That Lovesexy? ... He's not at all sexist, but just sexual. And I don't know whether I'd like to work with him because he's so powerful. He'd probably intimidate me a bit, I don't know."
Three years after releasing Live at the Aladdin, Prince returned to Vegas with a residency show at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino that was called Per4ming Live '3121.' Beginning Nov. 8, 2006 and continuing nearly every weekend for six months, and a few times when he felt like it, he performed at the 1,100-capacity 3121 club, often continuing the party with an after show at the adjacent 3121 Jazz Cuisine restaurant. PrinceVault says he played there approximately 51 times by the time his contract with the hotel expired at the end of April 2007.
The version below comes from Indigo Nights, a live album comprised of highlights from the aftershows at the indigO2 nightclub within London's O2 arena, where Prince had a residency in 2007. The CD was included in 21 Nights, a book that chronicled his time at the O2.
Prince Albums Ranked in Order of Awesomeness