Since I’ve Been Loving You: the pain of love portrayed by Led Zeppelin

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Every Led Zeppelin song is able to touch a chord with us.

Capable of being hard but at the same time very sweet, Led Zeppelin know perfectly how to embody the essence of rock as blues, how to rock hard or be darn sensual.

The unmistakable touch of “Bonzo” Bonham, the sounds of Jimmy Page, Jones’s elegant wisdom and the lacerating voice of Robert Plant, cannot be passively listened to. They leave their mark. Every time.

There is an album and a song, in particular, where all this is very intense. I’m talking about Since I’ve been Loving You, track present on Led Zeppelin III. It was in this LP that Plant took full awareness of its voice and started to better manage his power.

The lyrics is painfully heartbreaking, as it should be for a “blues”, word used for the first time with the phrase “having a fit of the blue devils”, present in George Colman’s Blue Devils, a farce in one act (1798). In English, blue is the color of sadness and pain.

Led Zeppelin tell us about a poor boy who suffers from love, betrayed by his woman. A personal story that could be the story of all lovers, who at least once poured a tear for a love disappointment.

Workin’ from seven to eleven every night
It really makes life a drag
I don’t think that’s right
I’ve really been the best of fools
I did what I could, yeah
‘Cause I love you, baby
How I love you, darling
[…]
But baby, since I’ve been loving you, yeah
I’m about to lose my worried mind, oh yeah

The prelude is rich in sensual unwillingness, typical of the blues, but this is interrupted by the drums: a sound dry, crisp. And the first tip of pain comes as sharp as a lump of blood exploding in your head. Then the voice enters, calm, almost like spoken words, the ones of a man who tries to explain his reasons: “I’ve been workin’ from seven to eleven every night.”

But as he says it, little by little anger makes its way: “I’ve really been the best of fools.” You feel the trouble of those who try to maintain control, and yet fail to hold the despair that comes out with that rhythmic reiteration: “because I love you baby, how I love you darlin’, how I love you baby, my beloved, little girl…”

The music follows the rhythm of breath, the pauses, the calm that gradually lets the pain in, shocked by that indifference.

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Everybody trying to tell me
That you didn’t mean me no good
I’ve been trying, Lord, let me tell you
Let me tell you I really did the best I could
I’ve been working from seven to eleven every night
I said it kinda makes my life a drag
Lord, that ain’t right, no no
Since I’ve been loving you
I’m about to lose my worried mind
Watch out

The speech becomes a cry, and then a whisper, an attempt to find some reason and avoid to get crazy because of pain and injustice, but the pressing of the organ and the drums, like a wave of memories, of flavors, of smells, makes it impossible. “It kinda makes my life a drag, Lord, that ain’t right, I’m about to lose my worried mind.”

Still a stop, then the sublime magic of a guitar so beautiful to hurt, a crying which is angry and calm at the same time. A guitar that surrenders to the illogical power of love.

A one-minute, fifteen-second hiccup, heartbreaking.

One more stop, then a shout and finally the silence…

But there is still room for a last heartbreaking scream against the sky.

Said I’ve been crying, yeah
Oh, my tears they fell like rain
Don’t you hear, don’t you hear them falling
Don’t you hear, don’t you hear them falling

This man cries in front of the woman he loves. He can forgive her all, but it’s his indifference that drives him crazy.

Nothing will be the same as before. You cannot come out unchanged from a love lived so intensely. A love so passionate that makes you lose your mind, the rhythm of the breath breaks and presses, the organ becomes sacred, the words spoken in a convulsed way, the guitar seems to have lost the tuning, like the protagonist has lost his balance, his inner peace…

How painful is a love like this?

Everything is broken, and there’s nothing left but dust and blood. The head pulses. Bum, bum, bum…
Then it’s peace.

Below you can find a live version of Since I’ve been Loving You, considered one of the most exciting live performances of Led Zeppelin’s career.

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