“Since I’ve Been Loving You” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in 1970 on the album Led Zeppelin III.
Led Zeppelin III is the eponymous third studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in October 1970. It showed a progression from straightforward rock towards folk and acoustic music.
The acoustic material developed from a songwriting session between band members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage in Wales, which influenced the musical direction. The songs were recorded using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, Headley Grange, Island Studios, and Olympic Studios in London. While hard rock influences were still present, such as “Immigrant Song”, acoustic-based songs such as “Gallows Pole” and “That’s The Way” showed Led Zeppelin were capable of playing different styles successfully.
The album was one of the most anticipated of 1970, and its shipping date was held up by the intricate sleeve design based around a volvelle. It was an immediate commercial success upon release and topped the UK and US charts. Although critics were initially confused over the change in musical style and gave the album a mixed response, Led Zeppelin III has since been acknowledged as representing an important milestone in the band’s history, and a turning point in their music.
“Since I’ve Been Loving You” was one of the first songs prepared for the Led Zeppelin III album. The song was recorded live in the studio with very little overdubbing. It was reportedly the hardest to record.
John Paul Jones played Hammond organ on the song, using the bass pedals instead of a bass guitar. John Bonham’s preferred drum pedal, the Ludwig Speed King model 201, squeaks during the recording, and has been called the “Squeak King”.
The opening and closing lyrics of “Since I’ve Been Loving You” are nearly identical to the 1968 Moby Grape song “Never”. The song is a slow blues in the key of C minor.
In a contemporary review of Led Zeppelin III, Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone wrote that the track “represents the obligatory slow and lethally dull seven-minute blues jam.”
In contrast, guitarist Joe Satriani enthused: “‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ was a perfect example of taking a blues structure but striking out on your own. They were breaking ground, not copying. I love that Page would always just go for it. Some other guitarist might have better technique, but what Page did would always trump it because the spirit was so overwhelming. Whatever he did would turn into a technique.” Audio engineer Terry Manning called it “The best rock guitar solo of all time.”