This song gets a lot of stick. It’s often cited as an embarrassment. ‘Cod-Reggae work out’, ‘white millionaire rock stars playing poor black music from their trout farms’ etc etc etc.
What people fail to hear is ‘Led Zeppelin pissing about’. How often do massive bands play at playing. Not an experimental new direction, not “there’s always been a dance element to our sound” just the biggest band in the world at that moment noodling around on a dumb joke for a laugh.
This is the musical equivalent of a Monty Python’s Flying Circus outtake reel. And yet, despite it being uncool, wrong headed, pastiche and (in all honesty) a tired old gag… It really grooves Man.
I doubt the four symbols realised they were writing a skit in the subculture of rock at the time, which would be discussed and critiqued over 40 years later by stoners, middle aged men and teenage rock archaeologists. They just rolled a number and hit record.
No one made them. They wanted to.