Blonde on Blonde’s Whole Lotta Love

The brief but spectacular disco-rock career from two giants of the Page 3 era.

“People tend to dismiss it as a gimmick”, said Nina Carter of the short-lived musical career that she launched alongside fellow Page 3 model Jilly Johnson in 1978. Unsurprising, perhaps, as their best-known single – a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s Whole Lotta Love – was promoted with a sapphic cheesecake sleeve, featuring the two girls nude, nipple to nipple and pouting as their legs collide into a not-remotely symbolic serpent’s tail. Blonde on Blonde – unrelated to either the Bob Dylan album or the late Sixties heavy rock outfit of the same name – put out a handful of singles before fizzling out of existence. They had no hits, though this track had some traction on both film soundtracks and in the tabloid press, where the band was the subject of slavering reports that focused more on the performers’ allegedly (and almost certainly fictional) wild sex lives – the music clearly not the only cue lifted from Led Zeppelin.

Whole Lotta Love is actually something of a masterpiece – a guitar-driven high-speed disco number that is full of energy and zap. Zeppelin purists will be horrified, but it’s a classic cover nevertheless. What a shame that everything else they recorded was forgettable rubbish that guaranteed a short and insignificant career.

Still, the band managed an appearance in the grotty British espionage thriller The Golden Lady and was apparently Big In Japan – which seems to have been the case with many a band who couldn’t sell records in their home countries during the 1970s. “We have Japanese men coming up to us and begging us to let them be our slaves!”, Johnson told the Evening News in 1978, though there was little to suggest that such requests were actually granted.

Nina Carter later married a fellow rock giant, the keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, and also appeared briefly (as herself in a TV commercial) in An American Werewolf in London. Vintage glamour film fans will also remember her as Penny Mallet, star of the unspeakably brilliant Mayfair Films 8mm extravaganza Miss Mayfair, clad in a cling film bikini. Inventive fans might care to play Whole Lotta Love while watching the silent short for a fully immersive experience.

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