Song of the Day #371: ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do?’ – Led Zeppelin

zeppelinIn yesterday’s post, guest-blogger Alex suggested that some groups remain (and should remain) rooted to the high school experience. She specifically called out Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, which happen to be the two groups I most associate with high school — and for exactly the reason she gave… I basically lost interest in them after those years.

Thinking back, I was a big (and new) Elvis Costello fan back in those days, but he has stayed with me for the twenty years since so in no way does he signify “high school” for me. Likewise, my roommate and I shared am affinity for Simon and Garfunkel, but their music has been a staple in my life before and after that period.

But Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were front and center for almost exactly 10th through 12th grade, so their music is forever intertwined with those three years.

I have special memories of this song in particular. ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do?’ was never released on a Zeppelin studio album. It was available only as the B-side of the ‘Immigrant Song’ single off of Led Zeppelin III. But it’s a great song, and one my friends and I were determined to track down.

We would always look for it at record shops and I found it one day at the Tower Records in Washington D.C. (which has, sadly, since closed down). I felt it was quite an accomplishment… never mind that there are no doubt countless copies of that 45 floating around.

I still have it to this day, though I have no turntable to play it on and the damn thing is available on iTunes anyway.

Wanna tell you about the girl I love
My she looks so fine
She’s the only one that I been dreamin’ of
Maybe someday she will be all mine
I wanna tell her that I love her so
And thrill her with my every touch
I need to tell her she’s the only one I really love

I got a woman, wanna bawl all day
I got a woman, she won’t be true, no
I got a woman, stay drunk all the time
I said I got a little woman and she won’t be true

Sunday morning when we go down to church
See the menfolks standin’ in line
Don’t say they come to pray to the Lord
but when my little girl, looks so fine
In the evening when the sun is sinkin’ low
Everybody’s with the one they love
I walk the town, Keep a-searchin’ all around
Lookin’ for my street corner girl

I got a woman, wanna bawl all day
I got a woman, she won’t be true, no no
I got a woman, stay drunk all the time
I said I got a little woman and she won’t be true

In the bars, with the men who play guitars
Singin’, drinkin’ and rememberin’ the times
My little lover does the midnight shift
She fool around all of the time
I guess there’s just one thing left for me to do
Gonna pack my bags and move on my way
Cause I got a worried mind
Sharin’ what I thought was mine
Gonna leave her where the guitars play

I got a woman, she won’t be true, no no
I got a woman, wanna bawl all day
I got a woman, stay drunk all the time
I got a little woman and she won’t be true

(Hey hey what can I do)
I said she won’t be true
(Hey Hey, What can I say?)

Hey hey, what can I do
I got a woman, she won’t be true
Lord, hear what I say
I got a woman, wanna bawl all day

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6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #371: ‘Hey Hey What Can I Do?’ – Led Zeppelin

  1. Amy says:

    Great story, but why am I getting flashes of “Dazed and Confused” where your roomie is concerned? :) I don’t think I know this song at all; it’s not ringing any bells – high school,college, or otherwise. This may be a first listen for me, so thanks for introducing me to the 2nd Led Zeppelin song I’ve ever heard (American – wait for it – Idol introduced me to the first :P)

    I,sadly?, have no specific associations of music with high school. I listened to strange stuff in high school but it in no way was specifically associated with those years. Barbra Streisand was frequently spinning around my turntable – especially Stony End, which contains songs written by Laura Nyro that belong to someone else’s high school years entirely.

    Sappy love songs, like those by REO Speedwagon, are probably the songs I most specifically associate with high school and no time before or after. Was there a group called Survivor? Cause I feel like I might have had a 45 of one of their songs as well. I was definitely all about the 45’s, though few of them were what would be considered the typical songs most high school students listened to in the 80’s. I did love Thriller, of course. Huey Lewis and the News :) There must have been some others, but I’m not thinking of them at the moment.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, I think it’s a good idea that this song – and the rest of the Zeppelin catalogue – remain firmly in the past.

  2. Clay says:

    OK, now you’ve stirred the ire of my inner high school kid! How dare you dis Led Zeppelin in that fashion, especially after admitting you’ve never heard any of their songs.

    First an aside… did you know that your ‘Dazed and Confused’ reference (meaning the movie, I assume) is itself the title of a Led Zeppelin song?

    I must dispute your claim that this is only the second Zeppelin song you’ve heard. That’s simply not possible, as you haven’t lived the last 30 years of your life in the jungles of Peru.

    You must know ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Black Dog,’ ‘All My Love,’ ‘Dyer Maker’ and ‘Kashmir,’ for starters, if not by name then by sound. And you might not know some of their softer songs like ‘Tangerine’ or ‘Thank You’ but I doubt you’d consign them to the refuse bin of the 70s if you were familiar with them.

    Take it back, woman!

  3. Dana says:

    All of you have now stirred both “high school Dana,” “college Dana” and “present day Dana!” As I said yesterday, I don’t feel Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd deserve to be compartmentalized as a high school passion that has (or at least should) fade. Frankly, I’m surprised that Clay doesn’t, at least on occasion, listen to some of these songs. I certainly do, at least when they come on the (now satellite) radio. Indeed, while we were driving around in Hawaii, both “All My Love” and “Time” from Floyd came on the radio. In both cases, at some point in the song, Amy asked that I turn it off:) So, obviously, she don’t likey the Zep or Floyd!

    But I still do! Not all of it of course. There are some LZ songs that are just too heavy for my taste, and some Floyd songs that simply go on too long. But to write off these 2 great bands is really nothing short of blasphemy.

    Perhaps, Clay, you don’t listen to LZ and Floyd so much anymore because they are “dead” bands–no longer recording, at least not together. Clearly, Elvis Costello continues to record, putting out a record nearly every year lately. And perhaps Simon and Garfunkel get a bit heavier present day rotation because of the good will Simon continued to earn with Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Of course, if you are still listening to Beatles as much as you did in high school and college, then perhaps my theory is off, but I really doubt Beatles are still in heavy rotation for you.

    By the way, I, like Amy, did not care for LZ that much in high school, but this was based on knowing a few of their songs (liked Stairway to Heaven, but really didn’t care for Been A Long Time (Since I Rock and Rolled). Then, when I was working at Vibrations Record store, my co-worker (and later friend) Brad Trushin, who considered himself a true music aficionado, took me to task (repeatedly) for being a musical imbecile for not “getting” the “genius” of LZ. (He didn’t get on me about Floyd because I bought Dark Side of the Moon and maintained that it was, indeed, great stuff) At some later time, perhaps in college, I finally got around to “owning” (as in renting and copying CDs) a bunch of LZ songs. I kinda went through all of the albums and cherry picked my faves for my own personal greatest hits. I can’t say that I agree with the “genius” label for LZ (or Floyd), but they did put out some very good music. One my personal favorites is “Going to California” off their legen—-(wait for it) dary Led Zeppelin IV. Enjoy:

  4. Clay says:

    That album is indeed a classic, and the one Zeppelin album I still own. I like a lot of the songs off their other albums but do feel some of the stuff gets too heavy. IV, though, is excellent start to finish.

    I certainly don’t turn off Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd when I happen upon them, and I listen to my CDs of both every once in awhile. The truth is I generally listen to newer releases and “dead’ artists have a harder time getting into the rotation, whether it’s Zeppelin, Floyd, Billy Joel, Simon and Garfunkel or anybody else. But I do enjoy them all when I listen to them.

    I agree that writing these bands off is blasphemy.

  5. Alex says:

    Ah, Dana. Going to California IS high school – sitting around and doing nothing at all but listening to this song on Mary Anne Murray’s back porch. We should have been studying or something, but… We’d sing along and talk. About what I can’t remember, but it was hours and hours and seemed really important at the time. Then, we’d listen to today’s song of the day, so thank you Clay. I have to say that I’m much quicker to turn off Pink Floyd on the satellite radio than I am Led Leppelin.

  6. Shawn says:

    Gosh, I don’t know if Zeppelin hit a bad note in their career. Maybe someplace on Presence. If I were to think of “high school music” I’d probably come up with a one hit wonder or something. Zep? The 70’s was full of one hit stuff or think of disco or ABBA. Those you can be forgiven for because you enjoyed them at the moment or at special moments. Zep? I guess you could say Metallica fits the bill for “too heavy at times” but Zep? But I like a good Seek & Destroy or Master of Puppets on occassion. Don’t even get me started on all the “high school music” of the 80’s. Michael Jackson comes to mind. Oh, how about Run DMC? Oh my. There wasn’t one member of Zeppelin who wasn’t holding their own. And it all clicked together in such a classic manner. Zep is a legitimate part of rock history and if there were ever a rock band who made medium or high art, then look no further then them.

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