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The Meaning Behind The Song: What Is And What Should Never Be by Led Zeppelin

The Untold Story Behind Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be”

Introduction

Led Zeppelin, one of the most influential bands of all time, released their iconic song “What Is and What Should Never Be” on their second album in 1969. The song is widely regarded as a continuation of the band’s signature blend of blues, rock, and folk music.

While the song’s meaning may not be apparent from its catchy tune and chorus, there lies a deeper story behind the lyrics that speaks to the band’s personal struggles during their rise to fame and the challenges that come with achieving success.

Verse One: A Tale of Heartbreak

The song’s opening verse tells a story of heartbreak and longing. The narrator describes a former lover who was once the center of his world but has since moved on with her life. He sings, “Once our love was strong, but you soon changed my mind/Didn’t take too long before I made you feel mine.”

The verse speaks to the theme of lost love and the pain that comes with it. It’s a story that many people can relate to, and Led Zeppelin’s use of vivid imagery and raw emotion make the listener feel as if they are right there with the narrator as he laments his lost love.

Chorus: The Search for Perfection

The chorus of the song is where the real meaning lies. The narrator sings, “And if I say to you tomorrow, take my hand, child, come with me/It’s to a castle I will take you, where what’s to be, they say will be.”

The chorus appears to refer to a search for perfection. It’s a desire to escape the reality of the world and find a place where everything is perfect. The imagery of a castle suggests a place of beauty, luxury, and elegance, where every wish is fulfilled.

But as the song progresses, the narrator begins to realize that this perfect world may not be what it seems.

Verse Two: The Struggle with Fame

The second verse of the song appears to be a direct reflection of Led Zeppelin’s own struggles with fame. The narrator sings, “I feel the wind must rise/Live again to see the change, my life has been denied.”

The verse speaks to the band’s internal struggle with fame and the challenges that come with achieving success. Led Zeppelin was one of the most popular bands of their time but struggled to balance their personal lives with their musical careers. The verse suggests that the band was yearning for a simpler life, one where they weren’t constantly in the public eye.

Bridge: The Perils of Success

The bridge of the song is where the narrator begins to see the truth about the perfect world he’s been searching for. He sings, “Makin’ stops along the way, the sun begins to fade/Still enough time to figure out, how to chase my blues away.”

The bridge speaks to the perils of success and the struggles that come with trying to maintain it. While Led Zeppelin was a successful band, they still faced challenges and setbacks along the way. The imagery of the sun fading suggests that the band was aware of the fleeting nature of fame and were trying to find a way to escape the blues that came with it.

Conclusion

“What Is and What Should Never Be” is a classic Led Zeppelin song that speaks to the band’s personal struggles with success and the challenges that come with it. While the song’s meaning may not be apparent at first glance, its raw emotion and vivid imagery make it a powerful anthem for anyone who has struggled with love, fame, or the search for perfection.

Led Zeppelin’s ability to blend different genres of music together makes them one of the most influential bands of all time. “What Is and What Should Never Be” is just one example of how the band’s music was able to transcend time and speak to people on a deeper level.

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