As most die-hide Led Zeppelin fans know by now, Jimmy Page has been called upon to display his talent to a huge audience during the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, which may have already wrapped up as of this writing due to the time difference.
Joining Page is British pop and R&B singer Leona Lewis. This is part of the Olympic tradition that calls for the host nation of the next Summer Games to contribute talent to the closing ceremony. With London being the pick for 2012, Page and Lewis were called upon to represent the United Kingdom.
The song that was chosen, however, has resulted in a bit of controversy due to it being perceived as a bit racy for a family show, and frankly, I’m hard pressed to disagree.
Led Zeppelin’s 1969 hit "Whole Lotta Love" does have a few suggestive versus that will be eliminated from the Olympic performance, while others have been changed a bit. The particular passage "Way, way down inside honey, you need it," has been eliminated, while "I’m gonna give you every inch of my love" has been changed to "I’m gonna give you every bit of my love."
As Leona Lewis rightly points out, that original line with the bit about inches really does not make a whole lot of sense coming from a female performer anyway. I don’t think anyone has any illusions about the real meaning behind those lyrics, despite the absence of any words that refer directly to the human anatomy. As a young teen back in the early 1970’s I knew pretty much exactly what Robert Plant was referring to.
I don’t know how die-hard Led Zeppelin fans feel about these modifications, and I’ve never been one to come down on the side of anything that smacks of heavy-handed, authoritarian-type repression or censorship, but under the circumstances, I think the correct decision has been made.