Archive for the ‘1956’ Category

“I Can’t Quit You Baby” is a song done by the British rock band Led Zeppelin in 1969. It appeared on their first album.

When I first heard the song I could tell Led Zeppelin did not write it, that it came from somewhere else. Led Zeppelin was white but the words to the song sounded like a black man in love with a black woman.

As far as I knew, white men did not talk about the women they love this way:

I-hi, I can’t quit you, babe
So I’m gonna put you down for a while
I said, I can’t quit you babe
I guess I got to put you down for a while
Said you messed-up my happy home
Made me mistreat my only child
Yes, you did, babe, oh

Said, you know I love you, baby
My love for you I could never hide
Oh, you know I love you, babe
My love for you I could never hide
A-when I feel you near me, little girl
I know you are my one desire,

whoa-oh, oh-oh, yeah
Oh, that’s wonderful, whoa
Alright, oh, now, that’s wonderful

When ya hear me moanin’ and groanin’, baby
You know it hurts me deep down inside
Oh, when ya hear me moanin’ and groanin’, babe
Y-you know it hurts me deep down inside
Oh, a-when you hear me holler, baby
You know you’re my one desire, yes, you are, alright

In their songs, white American men rarely get so twisted apart by their love and desire for a woman. Certainly not to the point where they mistreat their only child. They do not let a woman have that much power over them, to become that dangerous to their self-interest.

But that does not seem true to life. After all, how many marriages of white men have been broken up by women they just can’t quit, ones who mess up their happy homes?

Love makes no sense. It brings joy and pain, beauty and destruction. Just like in this song. But you rarely hear about that in white songs. White American art tends to see the world with rose-coloured glasses, at least more so than Black American art. It is more like that world where Hallmark cards come from, wherever that is. Certainly not the same place this song came from, not from any place I ever knew.

Maybe all this is just stereotype on my part, but in this case I turned out to be right: the song was in fact written by a black man, Willie Dixon. He wrote another song that appears on the same Led Zeppelin album: “You Shook Me”. Many of his blues songs were covered by rock bands in the 1960s.

In 1956 “I Can’t Quit You Baby”  was sung by Otis Rush and became a top ten hit on the Black American charts.

In the 1960s it was covered by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, to which Eric Clapton belonged.

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