0.0 Table Of Contents
0.1 Disclaimer & Distribution Information
1.1 Pink Carnations, Pickup Trucks And Other Lifts
1.2 Hats Off To Strange Song Titles
1.3 What About The Studio Chatter? Nah, leave it, yeah.
1.4 Will Someone Answer That Phone!
1.5 Intuitive Interpretations
1.6 Miscellaneous Song Trivia
1.7 Record Store Rock
1.8 Favourite Songs, Albums
2.1 The Golden God : Robert Plant
2.2 The Sorceror's Apprentice : Jimmy Page
2.3 The Omnipresent Force : John Paul Jones
2.4 The Engine Room : John Bonham
3.01 The Trivia Remains The Same
3.02 Electric Green Tennis Courts And Other Cover Art
3.03 Plantations And Other Onstage Musings
3.04 Trivia Of Illegitimate Origin
3.05 Meet The Press
3.06 Zeppelin Miscellania
3.07 Shaking The Tree
3.09 Like Father Like Son
3.10 The Led And How To Get It Out
3.11 Jimmy And The Beast
3.12 Zeppelin Mediawatch
3.13 Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
3.14 Pezed Pellni Anagrams
3.15 Nevaeh Ot yawriatS
Please read the following carefully.
The information contained within this file is not claimed to be
certified, unquestionably, literal truth. The compiler of the
document cannot be held responsible for any innaccuracies or any
damage incurred through the misuse of this information. Do not
eat this document, you may do yourself serious harm. This file
is not claimed to be the original work of the compiler, it has
been compiled from a variety of sources, which where known have
This file is not to be archived in any way shape or form without
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she sees fit. However, in all cases the decisions of the
compiler regarding what is done with this document are to be
adhered to rigidly, and to the letter.
A few quick points to begin with:
1) This is an obscure Led Zeppelin trivia file. :-)
2) It is not meant to replace the FAQL, supercede, or in
any way degrade it. This is purely a companion document,
and the FAQL should be your first reference point for
certified information with established accuracy.
3) This document is flexible, if you have more information on
any topic here, or a suggestion for an addition, or more
importantly, and please raise these, a correction, it will
be acted on. New sections are already being put together,
so look out for future updates. Information will be
removed from this file if it is felt to be inappropriate
by the compiler or a substantial body of opinion.
4) The compiler can be contacted through the following email
Welcome to the Led Zeppelin Infrequently Murmured Trivia List!
This list has been compiled by Steven Wheeler, who began this
most ardous of tasks in May 1994, before presenting the first
version in October 1995. The compiler spent many, many man
hours on this, so flames are NOT appreciated, but on the other
hand, constructive criticism, suggestions, additions,
corrections, etc. are more than welcome.
This document seeks to draw together all the interesting,
amusing, perplexing, or just plain anecdotal information that
has arisen on the topic of Led Zeppelin. At the time that
the compilation process began, there was no storage place for
these often quite useful pieces of information. So, to fill
that need this document was created. I hope you find something
of interest here.
There are a lot of people that I need to thank for their
help in compiling this, and I have probably lost the names of
a lot of you, so please if you see something here of yours, let
me know so I can credit you. The ones I have remembered are
listed in the Credits section.
Most of all, I view this as me putting something back
into a Mailing List from which I have dervied a lot of fun and
enjoyment during my involement. Thanks y'all!
Launceston, Tasmania, 30/APR/95.
Last Updated : 06/NOV/95.
Steven is AWOL at the moment.....please forward
enquiries/additions/whatever to Buckeye at:
As mentioned above, there are a lot of people I have to thank
for assisting me in putting this file together. My primary
source was the Digital Graffiti mailing list, so the first
thankyou goes to everyone who been associated with that over
This is a list of people who have either provided me with
information directly, or who are authors of files at the ftp
site I utilised, or who posted notable contributions to the
list from which I was able to glean useful information.
Thor Iverson, Kingston Arthur, Hugh Jones, David S.
Koukourou, Maurice Maes, Matt Hill, Steve Portigal,
Steve Kilpatrick, Ville Silltanen, Risto 'Rise' Pohjonen,
J.D. Falk, Brian Sagar, Brett Noris, Chris Milazzo,
Michael Chilton, Matt McGrath, Larry Ratner, Colin Irwin,
Humphreys, Michael Gallagher, Theresa
Regli, Michael Ayoob, Dave Wright, Scott Miller, Bryan
Durall, K.T. Scott, Aaron W. Proulx, Timothy Lindsey,
J.D. Considine, Percy, Glenn M. Saunders, Stephen Minnoch,
Mark S. Nyhus, Buster Harvey, Rich Kellerman & Cliff
Weaver, Scott Swanson, Duncan Watson, and Bill O'Neill.
In addition to this, my primary resource for cross-checking
various pieces of information was Dave Lewis's excellent "Led
Zeppelin: A Celebration". Highly recommended for any Zeppelin
fan, an unparallelled Zeppelin reference work. Additionally,
Dave Lewis's "Complete Guide To The Music Of Led Zeppelin" also
proved rather useful, and again, highly recommended. Many
magazines provided sources for ideas and information as well.
Among them: Mojo, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Q, Vox, Guitar
Player and Record Collector.
A big thank you also to the proofreader of this opus, fellow
COBOL++ enthusiast, beaver keeper and highway chile Mr. Andy
"To the memory of Ayrton Senna da Silva
To the heroes who prove, by the events of their lives
and sometimes their deaths,
that some dreams are worthy of any price
and bring adventure back to a world
without knights in armour."
Taken From "Darklord Of Mystara" by Thorarinn Gunnarsson.
Blues tradition has never had a problem with artists borrowing
riffs, lyrics or techniques from other artists. Given the extensive
grounding in the blues that Led Zeppelin had, it is unlikely they
were acting in anything but this spirit when they entered the studio
to add their own touches, revisions and additions to the blues legacy
of artists that preceeded them. In some cases this got them into
serious copyright trouble, a lot of which was to do with the lyrics.
In an interview with _Guitar_World_ in December 1993 Jimmy Page said,
"As far as my end of it goes, I always tried to bring
something fresh to anything that I used. I always made sure
to come up with some variation. In fact, I think in most
cases you would never know what the original source could be.
Maybe not in every case, but in most cases. And Robert was
supposed to change the lyrics, and he didn't always do that -
which is what brought on most of our grief. They couldn't
get us on the guitar parts or the music, but they nailed us
on the lyrics."
o "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" - On all the box set releases, and re-
releases since 1990, a credit has been added for Anne Bredon, an
obscure folk musician who wrote and recorded the original song in
the 1950s. Back in the 1980s her son was intrigued to hear his
mother playing what he and the rest of the world thought was a
Led Zeppelin song. After asking her why she was doing this, a
quick trip to a solicitor saw her name added and her contribution
recognised. Led Zeppelin's version is not that reminiscent of
Bredon's original though, the Zeppelin version borrows from Joan
Baez's cover of the song. When Jimmy and Robert got together at
Jimmy's Pangbourn home in 1968 to evaluate each other, Page told
Plant he had an arrangement of this song in mind which had a lot
of "light and shade". Contrary to what Richard Cole claims,
Plant did not pick up a guitar and play Page the riff, because he
didn't play guitar at the time, and both Page and Plant have both
said it was Jimmy that played the riff for Robert, and not the
other way around.
o "You Shook Me" - The song is a cover of a Willie Dixon song of the
same name. The following extract from the song is borrowed from
Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway" : 'I have a bird that
whistles, and I have birds that sing, I have a bird that whistles,
and I have birds that sing.' Prior to Zep's cover of this
song, the Jeff Beck group released a cover on their album "Truth"
and Beck later claimed Page copied his arrangement. The truth of
the matter is, though, that it was a very popular cover in England
at the time, and including it on their album did not amount to the
plagiaristic claim Beck levels at Led Zeppelin. The song was
originally recorded by Muddy Waters.
o "Dazed and Confused" - This began as an acoustic folk tune in
the sixties by New York folk singer Jake Holmes before Page re-
arranged it for the Yardbirds as "I'm Confused." The song first
appeared on Holmes's 1967 album "The Above Ground Sound Of Jake
Holmes". For the Yardbird's version, the title and the lyrics
were changed, completely altering the original meaning of the
song, which in Holmes' version is about an acid trip. For their
cover Led Zeppelin revived the original title, but not the lyrics
nor the original meaning. The reason the Yardbirds changed the
title was probably to avoid legal action, in the same way they
changed the title of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" to "Stroll On" for
the "Blow Up" soundtrack. On the Page-vetoed "Live Yardbirds
Featuring Jimmy Page" the song is listed as "I'm Confused". The
guitar solo following the bowing section was lifted intact from
the Yardbird's "Think About It" where it was originally composed
and played by Page. The violin bow technique Page uses during
the song is territory he had previously explored with the
Yardbirds on "Glimpses" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor". John
Paul Jones's bassline is from the Yardbirds version, where Paul
Samwell-Smith was the bass player.
o "Black Mountain Side" - According to Page, "I wasn't totally
original on that riff. It had been done in folk clubs a lot.
Annie Briggs was the first one that I heard do that riff. I was
playing it as well, and then there was Bert Jansch's version."
However, Briggs cites her source for the song as being Bert Lloyd,
a collector of old folk songs, who according to Briggs assembled
the song from fragments. The riff though, again according to
Briggs, comes from Stan Ellison, who composed the accompaninment
on the version Briggs recorded. Bert Jansch went and wrote a
different guitar part for his version which appeared on his 1966
album "Jack Orion". Page probably learned the old Irish folk song
from folk musician Al Stewart during a session where Page turned
up to play on Stewart's cover of the Yardbird's song "Turn Into
Earth", the b-side for his single "The Elf". Stewart recalls
that between takes he showed Page how to play the riff and that
Page seemed really taken with it. Stewart later realised though,
that he showed Page the wrong tuning for what he thought was
Jansch's version, D modal, but which wasn't. That actual tuning,
DADGAD is acknowledged as an invention of folk musician Davey
Graham. Out of this confused set of sources, Jansch apparently
contemplated legal action but those acting on his behalf gave up.
Viram Jasnai plays tabla drums to add a feel similar to an Indian
o "Communication Breakdown" - Borrows from Eddie Cochran's "Nervous
o "I Can't Quit You Baby" - Originally by Willie Dixon, a Page
arranged version found it's way onto the first album. A live
version, not the soundcheck as claimed, appears on Coda.
o "How Many More Times" - The song is in part inspired by Howlin'
Wolf's "How Many More Years." Prior to Led Zeppelin, Plant
played this in the Band of Joy with John Bonham. Page takes his
solo from The Yardbirds "Shape Of Things." The imagery of "Rosie"
and "The Hunter" is borrowed from Albert King's "The Hunter",
which was most likely originally by Booker T. and the MGs, some
of whom formed a backing band for Albert King for a while.
Zeppelin's version is lyrically related to a cover called "How
Many More Times" by Gary Farr and the T-Bones (from liner notes by
Giorgio Gomelsky, one-time producer of The Yardbirds). At one
point during the instrumental section the band play an excerpt
from the Page composition, "Beck's Bolero." The main riff from
the song is very similar to that of the song "Night Comes Down",
which Page played on during his session days. A song by Howlin'
Wolf, who Jimmy claims is who he thought he was borrowing from,
called "Come Back Home (Take 1)" features a very similar riff as
well. This song can be found on "Howlin' Wolf: Memphis Days - The
Definitive Edition Volume 1" on Bear Family Records. It has been
remarked upon that the riff also has a vague similarity to the one
from Pink Floyd's "Money".
o "Whole Lotta Love" - The riff is Page's but the lyrics are taken
from Willie Dixon's "You Need Love." Plant has said,
"Page's riff was Page's riff. It was there before anything
else. I just thought, 'well, what am I going to sing?' That
was it, a nick. Now happily paid for. At the time, there
was a lot of conversation about what to do. It was decided
that it was so far away in time (it was in fact 7 years) and
influence that...well, you only get caught when you're
successful. That's the game."
The middle section which was edited for the original release as a
single features Page and Eddie Kramer doing a lot of "random knob
twisting." Apart from that, sounds of sirens, screams, demolition
sounds, an orgasmic wail from Plant can be heard. Page also uses
backwards echo, a technique he pioneered with the Yardbirds and in
a Mickie Most session. In 1985 Willie Dixon sued the band over
their use of his lyrics. An out of court settlement was reached.
A similar `sound' is achieved by the Small Faces on their 1966
debut album with the track "You Need Loving."
o "The Lemon Song" - This track, cut live in the studio, is an
amalgam of Led Zeppelin's blues influences. The major influence
for this was Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor." With lyrics and an
instrumental section borrowed from it, it is not surprising the
band was sued for it. The suit was settled out of court. The
"squeeze my lemon" sequence comes from Robert Johnson's
"Travelling Riverside Blues." It is likely that Johnson borrowed
this himself, from a song recorded in the same year, 1937, called
"She Squeezed My Lemon." Albert King's "Cross Cut Saw" was also
an influence. Some lyrics are also common to Lightning Slim's
"Hoodoo Woman", such as `You take all my money and give it to
another man'. "Killing Floor" has also been recorded by Jimi
o "Moby Dick" - Originally titled "Pat's Delight" after Bonham's
wife Pat, the version that appears on "Led Zeppelin II" was edited
down from a much longer version. The riff is from the track that
the band recorded for the BBC on June 16th 1969, "The Girl I Love"
that was never used. That song was originally written by Sleepy
John Estes under the title "The Girl I Love, She Got Long Curly
Hair." Some of the drum parts were lifted from George
Suranovich's drum solo from the Arthur Lee song "Doggone." The
Led Zeppelin equivalent for Bonham of Cream's "Toad" for Ginger
Baker, some of the inspiration was probably derived from there.
The guitar part also draws on a song from Bobby Parker, the
bluesman Page tried to sign to Swan Song, that song being "Watch
Your Step." The song can be found on Parker's album "Bent Out Of
Shape." But the story does not stop there. Parker, in the liner
notes for "Bent Out Of Shape" recalls, `It was a takeoff on
"Mantecna" by Dizzy Gillespie. I started playing the riff on
guitar and decided to make a blues out of it." The Spencer Davis
Group in the UK, with Steve Winwood on vocals, covered the tune
where it was a big hit. John Lennon said the guitar for riff on
"Day Tripper" started out as a variation on this theme.
o "Thank You" - Robert wrote the lyrics for this touching ballad
for his wife at the time, Maureen. The guitar in this song has
chordal similarities to Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy." Rumour has
is that Page during his days as a session player was the guitarist
on that particular song, although this is unproven. Additionally,
some of the lyrics are taken from an earlier song by Jimi Hendrix,
"If 6 Was 9", from the "Axis: Bold As Love" album.
o "Bring It On Home" - The beginning and end of this song draw
directly from the original verison of this song by Sonny Boy
Williamson, who performed it under the same name. Zeppelin even
tried to recreate the peculiarities of Williamson's voice at the
beginning for the opening section. To do this, Robert Plant is
singing through a harmonica microphone and amplifier.
o "Since I've Been Loving You" - Features a brief lyrical nod to
Moby Grape's "Never."
o "Out On The Tiles" - The lyric `see my rider right by my side'
bears a distinct resemblance to Robert Johnson's `Goin' to
Rosedale with my rider by my side' from his song "Travelling
o "Gallows Pole" - A new version of a traditional folk song which
according to Dave Lewis can be traced back to Leadbelly, whose
version was called "The Gallis Pole." The version this draws more
on was by Fred Gerlach. The song "The Hangman's Knee" on Jeff
Beck's "Beck-Ola" album employs a similar lyrical theme, that of
the appeal to the hangman. Leadbelly's "The Gallis Pole" actually
has the line, `Friend, did you get me silverm friend you get me
gold, what did you get me dear friend, keep me from the Gallis
Pole?', and he then repeats that line substituting friend for
father, mother and wife.
o "Tangerine" - A Page composition left over from his days in the
Yardbirds, written for his girlfriend at the time, Jackie
o "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" - The introduction is lifted from
"The Waggoner's Tale" by Bert Jansch, a traditional song. The
subject matter, Plant's dog, includes a few lifts from the
traditional folk tune "Ole Shep" where the dog in question had
its existence terminated for some obscure reason. Plant's dog is
named "Strider" and is, according to the song, "a blue-eyed
o "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper" - The lyrics to this song draw heavily
on Bukka White's "Shake 'Em On Down." Also covered by Joe Lee
Williams and Blind Lemon Jefferson.
o "Black Dog" - Page admitted recently that the vocal arrangement on
this song was influenced by Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well." The song
is built around a bass riff by John Paul Jones.
o "Rock And Roll" - The drumbeat borrows from the drumbeat from
Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly/Keep A Knockin." Page has
said that they were trying to achieve a similar feel to those
songs. Ian Stewart plays piano.
o "Stairway To Heaven" - It has been murmured that there is a vague
similarity between the opening notes of this song and those of a
song by Johnny Rivers called "Summer Rain". Another suggested
source for the introduction chords is The Chocolate Watch Band's
"And She's Lonely". The solo chords are also similar to the
chords of Dylan's, and Hendrix's, "All Along The Watchtower",
though the chord progression is hardly uncommon and any direct
influence is also unlikely.
o "When The Levee Breaks" - A radically different version of an old
blues song originally written and performed by Memphis Minnie and
Kansas Joe McCoy which they recorded on June 18, 1928.
o "The Song Remains The Same" - The beginning of the song, and the
layered chords that give the song its impetus is a very similar
effect to that used by Jimmy on the Yardbird's ong "Tinket Tailor
Soldier Sailor" from the "Little Games" album. The resemblance
is quite apparent even to a casual listener, and, the song also
features some early experimentation from Jimmy with the violin
bow, which was to become his trademark in later years. The violin
bow also appears on another track from that album, "Glimpses".
o "The Crunge" - A play on James Brown's "Sex Machine", complete
with lyrics about missing bridges. In this song Brown frequently
says "Take it to the bridge, take it to the bridge" and as "The
Crunge" has no bridge, the search for the bridge at the end can be
explained by this.
o "D'Yer Mak'er" - Initially an attempt to recreate a 1950's doowop
feel, Rosie and the Originals, although this was warped by a
subtle reggae influence.
o "Custard Pie" - The lyrics to this song also draw on bluesman
Bukka White's "Shake 'Em On Down." Other reference points that
Dave Lewis cites are Sonny Boy Fuller's "Custard Pie Blues,"
Blind Boy Fuller's "I Want Some Of Your Custard Pie," and Big
Joe William's "Drop Down Daddy," which was the most important of
these three. However, the earliest source for this seems to be
Sleepy John Estes song "Drop Down Daddy" in 1935, which preceeds
Blind Boy Fuller by five years. Sonny Terry covered it with the
title "Custard Pie Blues."
o "Trampled Underfoot" - The lyrics are thematically similar to
those in the song "Terraplane Blues" by Robert Johnson, and more
recently the Rolling Stones' "Brand New Car."
o "In My Time Of Dying" - Page borrows a riff from Bob Dylan's
version on his first album. The song was recorded by Blind Willie
Johnson as "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed", which has more in common
with the Zeppelin version than Bob Dylan's. The Animals song
"Bury My Body" also features some of the lyrics of this song,
"Leave me, Jesus leave me. Why don't you meet me in the middle
of the air. And if my wings should fail me, won't you provide me
with another pair", albeit altered slightly. The Animals give
credit to Al Kooper for their version. Kooper jams with Hendrix
on "Electric Ladyland" and his most recent work is doing
soudntracks, such as the NBC series "Crime Story". While he may
have written the music for the Animals, the lyrics are most
certainly derivative of "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed". Plant has
cited Josh White's 1933 song "Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed" as a
source for Zeppelin. A similar version appears on the self-titled
album by the Canadian band Fear Itself, whose "In My Time Of
Dying" is credited to Ellen McIlwaine, the band's lead singer and
slide guitarist. Besides many musical and length similarities,
the Fear Itself version ends with the line, "My dying... cough."
o "Kashmir" - The way the string section echoes around Page's guitar
in this song harks back to the earliest Page and Jones
collaborations, such as on the Yardbird's song "Little Games"
where Jones's arrangement for the strings seeks to achieve a
o "Down By The Seaside" - A guitar section in the song apparently
sounds reminiscent of "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band,
however, "Signs" was released in August 1971 while Zeppelin had
been working on "Down By The Seaside" since 1970, so any
resemblance between the songs is likely to be the other way
o "Ten Years Gone" - Part of this song, the slow part then the
several chord lead into the solo, sounds like the opening bars of
"Band On The Run" by the Beatles or the part where the Beatles
lyrics go `If we ever get out of here.'
o "Boogie With Stu" - This track features the "sixth" member of the
Rolling Stones, the late Ian `Stu' Stewart, and it borrows from
Richie Valens "Ooh My Head," which in turn was based on Little
Richard's "Ooh My Soul." There is a credit on the track for Mrs.
Valens, Richie's mother, as the band heard his mother never got
any royalties from Richie's songs. The result was that the band
was sued! A working title dreamt up by Plant was "Sloppy Drunk."
o "Nobody's Fault But Mine" - The lyrics are borrowed from Blind
Willie Johnson, although the song has thematic similarities with
Robert Johnson's "Hellhound On My Trail." Robert Plant has the
following to say about this song, "First of all, it's public
domain because he's been dead so long, and secondly it wasn't his
song in the first place - nobody knows where it comes from."
o "Candy Store Rock" - During the `Nanananananananah, yeah' vocal
section the riff being played as the same one in "Walter's Walk"
which is being played as Plant sings `I've been walking the floor
over you'. One of the bass riffs resembles one from "The Wanton
o "Hots On For Nowhere" - A riff from this song might also have been
borrowed from "Walter's Walk".
o "In The Evening" - James Carr has a song entitled "In The Evening,
When The Sun Goes Down", but the two are not similar.
o "I'm Gonna Crawl" - Dave Lewis points to the influence of people
such as Wilson Pickett, O.V. Wright, and Otis Redding. Lewis
cites Pickett's "It's Too Late" as a reference point.
o "Poor Tom" - Owen Hand, a little-known friend of Bert Jansch
recorded a couple of albums during the 1960s, one of which
featured the song "She Likes It", shares a few licks with "Poor
o "Darlene" - This song features a line borrowed from Don McLean's
"American Pie". "With a pink carnation and a pickup truck..."
o "We're Gonna Groove" - Originally written by Ben E. King and James
Bethea, Led Zeppelin recorded this way back in 1969.
o "Travelling Riverside Blues" - Like "When The Levee Breaks" this
is a much changed cover of an old Robert Johnson song originally
recorded in 1937. The song "Don't Know Where I'm Going" by Norm
Gallagher also features the section about the `rider', although
it is obvious that Gallagher also borrowed this section from
Johnson. Moving from the lyrics to the music, there are some
lifts from Johnny Winter's "Leavin' Home Blues" and another Johnny
Winters song, "I'm Yours She's Mine". This song was performed
rather unsteadily by the Rolling Stones at their free Hyde Park
Concert in 1969, and although credited to Jagger and Richards, is
usually credited to Johnny Winter.
o "White Summer" - This Page composition draws upon Davey Graham's
"She Moved Through The Fair", credited to a traditional
arrangement, but performed in a DAGDAD tuning. Interestingly,
when page performed the "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" medley
live he also frequently played an excerpt of Bert Jansch's
"Casbah". A 40 second excerpt was played by Page at the Anderson
Theatre Yardbirds concert that appeared on a quickly withdrawn
album, "Live Yardbirds With Jimmy Page". Another Page performance
of this medley, at a 1969 concert at Houston, Texas, includes a
section of the Anne Briggs song "Go Your Way My Love", also
recorded by Bert Jansch a year later than Briggs in 1967. Page
also tossed in bits and pieces of the never completed instrumental
"Swan Song" to this medley when playing live in the late 1970s.
o "Dazed and Confused" - The title neatly fits both the original
lyrics about an acid trip and Plant's diatribe on getting the
runaround from a woman.
o "The Lemon Song" - The title is drawn from the "squeeze my lemon"
lyrics in the song which are borrowed from Robert Johnson's
"Travelling Riverside Blues." Elements of the song use Howlin'
Wolf's "Killing Floor" as a source, the title of which is a
synonym for being in serious trouble, or being mistreated.
o "Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)" - Thought to be a
reference to an aging and persistent groupie on early American
o "Out On The Tiles" - The title means the same as a slang term such
as `Out On The Town.' Page recently said that song may have drawn
on some drunken lyrics Bonham came up with about drinking such as
`Now I'm feeling better because I'm out on the tiles.'
o "That's The Way" - Another song written during the highly
productive time Page and Plant spent together at the cottage,
this was originally titled, "The Boy Next Door."
o "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" & "Bron-Yr-Aur" - The title, which is correctly
spelled `Bron-Y-Aur,' and, pronounced `Bron-Yar,' is the name of a
derelict cottage in South Snowdonia in Wales where Page and Plant
retreated to write some songs and get to know each other before
the third album was recorded. It has been attributed as having
several meanings, and Welsh is a language best left to the Welsh.
The most common translation is "breast of gold." Another version
is offered by Cameron Crowe, "...Bron-Y-Aur, so-called for the
stretch of sun that crossed the valley every day." The working
title for "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" was "Jenning's Farm Blues." This
early version was quite different from the song that finally
appeared on the album, particularly as it was not acoustic.
o "Hats Off To (Roy) Harper" - Roy Harper is an eccentric folk
singer who was a friend of the band. Harper is perhaps better
known for his involvement with Pink Floyd, and David Gilmor in
particular. Harper can also be heard on the Pink Floyd song
"Have A Cigar," and a variety of recordings with Jimmy Page.
o "Black Dog" - Named after a black labrador that was a frequent
visitor to the Headley Grange studio during recording sessions.
According to "Unplugged" producer Alex Coletti, this dog is the
one that can be seen during the Slate Quarry sections of the MTV
"Unledded" special. However, this seems exceedingly unlikely,
and the dog in the "No Quarter" video is a black Russian
wolfhound, which may or may not be related to the dog in Plant's
"Little By Little" video. Additionally, onstage, Plant used to
introduce "Black Dog" saying how the dog was `...too old to
boogie anymore..." and "...he'd go down the road to boogie with
his old lady and be too tired to get back home...'
o "Misty Mountain Hop" - The title is drawn from "The Hobbit" by
J.R.R. Tolkien, the Misty Mountains being a location in the book.
o "Four Sticks" - Bonzo plays the drums with four sticks, two in
each hand, hence the title.
o "The Song Remains The Same" - Originally titled "The Overture"
when it was an instrumental before Robert added lyrics. This
song was also known as "The Campaign" at one point.
o "The Rain Song" - The working title for this song was "Slush",
a reflection on its smooth, flowing nature.
o "The Crunge" - The title and lyrics are a parody of what Dave
Lewis calls `...the James Brown/'take it to the bridge' school
of funk mannerisms.' The song is rendered undanceable however
by Bonham's beat and the band `...named this non-dance cult 'The
Crunge'...' There were plans at one stage to release this as a
single with the cover being a picture of the band doing the dance
steps for the song.
o "D'Yer Mak'er" - The title to this song is pronounced in the same
way as "Jamaica" and may have several meanings. The song sounds
a bit like reggae so the title may be a reference to that. Also
possible is that the title is drawn from an old music hall joke
along these lines,
`Two men are sitting in a pub. One says to the other, "Me
and muh wife are goin' to the west indies." The other asks
"Jamaica?" The first one replies, "No, she wants ta go."'
Another school of thought has it that D'Yer Maker is a Jamaican
term equivalent to the phrase `Did you make her?' or `Did you
score?' Plant has been attributed as saying this, although no
firm reference has ever surfaced.
Yet another theory is that it is a British/American term as in the
Beatles' "Lovely Rita": `Thinking that he has already made her...'
In conclusion, it is probably a combination of elements of these
theories, and when said with a Cockney accent it apparently sounds
very much like `Jamaica.' Knowing Plant's lyrical style, and
preoccupation with the opposite sex, sexual connotations are
However, the answer to this was provided by John Paul Jones in a
1993 radio interview, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the
formation of Zeppelin, where he indicated that the name comes
from the jokes about the wife going on holiday.
o "Kashmir" - As the geographically aware would have noticed,
Kashmir, the place, is not in, or even anywhere near, Morocco,
which was the inspiration for Plant's lyrics. The lyrics describe
a car trip Page and Plant took across the Moroccan desert, yet
Kashmir, not really a specific city, more of a region, is
comprised mostly of fertile farmlands. Furthermore, it is
situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, the tallest mountain
range in the world, and has been the subject of fighting between
muslims for years, fighting which contines to this day. About the
only thing that Kashmir might have in common with the song is it's
history of religious mysticism, which would attract Plant,
although there is no record of any band member ever having visited
there. The lyrics describe sand, heat, and endless desert, so the
choice of song title is hard to explain. It may be Plant trying
to evoke the imagery of some sort of metaphorical "paradise", in
the same way people talk about places like Hawaii. However, he
has the terrain and geography completely wrong. Most likely, he
just though that the title just sounds great, which it does. The
song was originally titled "Driving To Kashmir".
o "The Wanton Song" - Despite also being the name for a type of
Chinese appetizer similar to a spring roll, although it's spelled
Won Ton, this title is more likely a reference to `wantonness'
which dictionaries variously define as capricious, luxuriant,
licentious or sportive, and generally more fun than Chinese
o "Black Country Woman" - This song was originally know as "Black
Country Woman (Never Ending Doubting Woman Blues)," in reference
to a final spoken line from Plant that was left off the album
version, `What's the matter with you mama, never-ending, nagging,
doubting woman blues.' The `Black Country,' the area around
Birmingham where Plant and Bonham were from, was so known because
it had formerly been an important iron-working and coal-mining
district. Whether the women in the area have assumed distinct
characteristics as the title infers is open to debate.
o "Boogie With Stu" - The song is named for the participation of the
Rolling Stones resident boogie-woogie pianist Ian Stewart, who was
for a time a member of the Rolling Stones, but was deemed `too
normal' by then-manager Andrew Loog Oldham and subsequently became
the band's roadie and long-term associate until his death in 1985
while the Stones were working on the "Dirty Work" album. The
snippet of honky tonk piano at the end of side two of that album
is their triubte to him.
o "Achilles Last Stand" - The recording of "Presence" was a
magnificent achievement considering Plant was confined to a
wheelchair the whole time due to his car accident. Legend has
it that the first time this song was played back to him after he
had done the vocals Plant fell out of his wheelchair he was so
taken with it. Given that he had a broken heel at the time and
his superb vocal performance on this song the title may well be
o "South Bound Saurez" - The title is a mispelling of "suarez", a
Spanish word for a party, similar to the French "soiree".
o "Carouselambra" - The name is a reference to the band thinking
the song sounded a bit like Carousel music.
o "All My Love" - The working title for this song was "The Hook",
due to its commercial nature.
o "Poor Tom" - The title refers to the main character in the song,
the ubiquitous Tom, who was the seventh son, and thus did not
inherit any land or property and was poor in terms of material
o "Ozone Baby" - The title may be some sort of dated equivalent to
bimbo, or airhead, with similar connotations.
o "Wearing And Tearing" - A gesture from the band to the emerging
punk music genre, which harboured a pathological dislike of the
band, which never failed to mystify Page, seeing them as rock
`dinosaurs.' This may be regarded as a sort of `we're just as
screwed up as you are' type response to the punk movement's
disdain for the band. Plant has been attributed as saying it is
partly about the lifestyle of a rock star which certainly fits in
with this idea and the hectic feel of the song.
o "Jennings Farm Blues" - The title of this unreleased song,
although it is available on bootleg studio outtakes, is the name
of the farm where Plant lived at the time of the song.
Across the Zeppelin catalogue, various songs incorporate some
form of additional dialogue. This ranges from unintelligible
background chatter to timeless lines such as "Shall we roll it
o "You Shook Me" - The way this song is produced there are echoes
all over the place, and if you turn the volume right up and listen
to it on headphones, occasionally you can hear faint sounds such
as at 0:24 in the left speaker which sound like far off voices.
Much more obvious is Plant's laugh at 1:45, and his "Ooh, ooh,
ohh..." at 3:18. Harder to pick is what sounds like Plant
crooning something along the lines of "Doobee-doo-doo..." at 4:45,
which you can just make out through the static in the right
speaker if you listen very closely. A few other miscellaneous
moans from Plant can be heard at 3:35 and 3:56.
o "Your Time Is Gonna Come" - Right at the very end of the song,
just as the first notes of "Black Mountainside" are about to be
played, and this is first noticeable at about the 4:33 mark, Plant
can be heard to say what sounds like 'Wait for ya, Wait for ya...'
o "Friends" - Before the song starts and for the first few moments
once it begins talking can be heard in the background, what is
being said though is impossible to make out. However, at about
the 0.09 mark, just as the bass guitar starts, Jimmy can be heard
to exclaim 'Fuck!' About the same time someone can be heard
saying 'Ssh!' Why Page says this is not clear, maybe Jones
started before he was ready, and possibly the other person was
telling the people speaking in the background to quieten down.
One of the voices in the right channel sounds like Peter Grant.
o "The Lemon Song" - Plant can be faintly heard to yell something
unintelligible at the 1:58 and 2:04 points in the song. This can
be heard in the left channel.
o "Since I've Been Loving You" - Just before Page's solo starts
Plant shouts 'Watch out!' This happens around 3:38 into the song.
Also worth noting is Plant's "Oh..." at the 53 second mark as Page
and Bonham really begin to wind up.
o "Out On The Tiles" - Between the 10 and 11 second marks a voice
can be heard in the left channel to say what sounds like `Stop.'
Also, at the 1:23 mark Page clearly says `Stop'. He did this to
remind himself to get the timing straight on the riff because he
kept screwing it up in practice. Or so rumour has it. However,
the voice actually sounds more like Plant than Page, and the
rumoured explanation for that is that Page was making faces at him
as he was trying to do the vocal track.
o "Tangerine" - The count in which goes 'one, two' and then barely
spoken, 'one, two, three, four, one, two,' is provided by Page.
o "The Crunge" - at the end of the song in a continuation of the
final lyrics about looking for a bridge, Plant asks, 'Where's that
confounded bridge?' Anyone in doubt as to whether it's Plant
should have a close listen to the version of "Whole Lotta Love" on
the bootleg of the 13/7/73 Detroit show. During the theremin
section Plant exclaims, `Where's that confounded bridge?!' in
exactly the same voice as he does on the studio version of "The
Crunge". Jimmy and engineer George Chkiantz can be heard talking
before Bonzo comes in on the intro. The conversation sounds
Jimmy Page : "One more straight away George."
George Chkiantz : "You like it?"
Jimmy Page : "Right... [obscured by the start of the song]"
o "The Ocean" - at the start of the song Bonzo says, 'We've done
four already, but now we're steady, and then they went, one, two,
three, four...' He is referring to the number of previous takes
they had done on the song. Also, at the 4:20 mark Plant very
clearly half sings "Oh, so good". This song also features some
rather unusual, for Zep, backing vocals which start around the
3:40 mark in the form of 'Doo wop doo, doo wop doo...' Also at
this point, buried in a background part of the mix Plant can be
heard to say `I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, yeah'. He then
does some `woo-hoo-hoo' style harmonising before apologising
again. There is some other stuff he seems to be singing but it
o "In My Time Of Dying" - Getting towards the end of the song, Plant
half sings 'Oh, feels pretty good up here... pretty good up here.'
Surely the understatement of the century. At the end of the song
a discussion something like this takes place,
Someone : [loud cough]
Plant : [sings the last line of the song] "Cough."
Bonzo : "That's gotta be the one... hasn't it?"
Someone : [continued quieter coughing as Bonzo says the
Ron Nevison [?] : "Come and have a listen then."
Jones [?] : "Oh yes, thank you."
Other discussions are taking place in the background but it is
not possible to make out what is being said. Also noticeable is
someone coughing at the 40 second mark.
o "Black Country Woman" - at the start of the song which was
recorded outdoors at Headley Grange an airplane can clearly be
heard flying overhead and the following conversation takes place,
Eddie Kramer : "Shall we roll it Jimmy? We're rolling on, er..."
[Someone] : "One."
Eddie Kramer : "One, oh, one again."
[laughter] : [Plant?]
Eddie Kramer : "Can't keep this airplane on."
Robert Plant : "Nah, leave it, yeah.
o "Boogie With Stu" - After the song finishes laughter can clearly
be heard, the last laugh in this case certainly sounds like it is
most likely Plant. The first laugh on the other hand could well
o "Achilles Last Stand" - Some listmembers with amazing hearing
claim to be able to heard a very faint "Yeah" somewhere between
the 7:17 and 7:20 point in the song, just between the second and
third of four note bends Jimmy is doing at the time. The exact
point of the sound is around 7:18.
o "Hot Dog" - The `One, two, three, four' count-in, where Jones can
be heard to noodle on the bass momentarily as `three' is said,
sounds like it's more likely to be Jones than Page.
There seems to be a wealth of unusual and interesting background
noises, and in some cases foreground noises, in Led Zeppelin songs,
some of which are so obvious you really wonder how you missed them
when you listened to that song the first 5,000 times.
o "Good Times Bad Times" - A suggsted explanation for the hollow
sound that Bonzo makes during the opening of the song is that he
might have been hitting a cymbal stand. The sound is a crisp,
metallic type sound, which gives the impression that a hollow
object of this nature is being struck. On the other hand, this
could well be a cymbal.
o "I Can't Quit You Baby" - Referring to the version on the first
album, the odd metallic sound heard on "Good Times Bad Times"
recurs through this song as well, which suggests it is probably
a cymbal. It doesn't sound as hollow on this song.
o "Whole Lotta Love" - Plant can be clearly heard to laugh just
prior to the start of the song. The middle section features a lot
of randon knob twisting in the studio from Page and Eddie Kramer.
o "The Lemon Song" - A gong can be heard right at very beginning
of the song.
o "Moby Dick" - Careful listening to this song reveals a variety of
noises which could range from Bonham moving about on the drum
stool to various sqeaking noises, probably drum pedals. There is
a particularly odd scraping noise at 1:58.
o "Immigrant Song" - The odd buzzing sounds at the beginning of the
song are tape noises coupled with the count in.
o "Friends" - The fret buzz in parts of the song is due to the
guitar being in a different tuning where the sixth string is
quite loose, which combined with poor fingering at that fret
causes the string to buzz on the fret. The tuning Jimmy is
using is a C tuning, C, G, C, G, C, E, where the low E is tuned
down 2 whole steps.
o "Celebration Day" - The drone that carries over from "Friends" is
there to compensate for the rhythm track which was accidentally
erased during recording.
o "Since I've Been Loving You" - the bass drum pedal has a clearly
audible squeak about which Page recently said, 'It sounds louder
every time I hear it!' Also, as Plant is singing the first line
of the song, "Working from seven..." while he sings "from" a
strange wheezing sound can be heard in the left channel.
o "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" - Some interesting extra instruments in this
song are spoons and castanets, all played by John Bonham.
o "Black Dog" - In the early stages of the song Bonzo can be heard
clicking his drumsticks together, keeping time for the band.
o "Stairway To Heaven" - Not really a weird sound, but the subject
of some occasional discussion in the wind instrument being played
at the start of the song. It is a recorder and it's being played
by John Paul Jones. This instrument was incorrectly claimed to be
a mellotron by _Q_ magazine in 1995.
o "Misty Mountain Hop" - There is a mistake in this song in the line
that begins "There you sit...", but the band apparently felt the
rest of the take was too good to warrant discarding it.
o "Four Sticks" - There is the sound of possibly either a cough or
someone exhaling at the five second mark of the song. Then again
in the left channel at the 41 and 43 second marks, a very similar
sound, that sounds like an exhalation. This occurs again at 1:51.
Someone, possibly Page, may have had a microphone a little too
close to their face. The same sound, although fainter and closer
to the middle in terms of the channels, occurs at the 30 and 37
o "When The Levee Breaks" - The titanic drum sound was created
through experimentation by Page and Andy Johns with Page's
penchant for distance miking. In perhaps the ultimate case of
this, they had Bonzo set up his kit, a brand new one, in the
stone stairwell at Headley Grange and experimented with
microphones in various positions before placing one a few flights
of stairs above him. A similar technique was used by producer
Don Was and the Rolling Stones on the song "Moon Is Up", where
drummer Charlie Watts is playing at the bottom of a stairwell.
Right near the end of the song, where the sound is panning all
over the place, the basic riff is also played backwards at one
point. The idea of reversing riffs is not all that uncommon,
Jimi Hendrix did it frequently.
o "The Rain Song" - Bonham's squeaky drum pedal can be heard on this
song. The string on this song are not real and are actually John
Paul Jones on a mellotron, an early synthesizer.
o "Over The Hills And Far Away" - Another track where Bonham's
squeaky pedal can be heard, most clearly from about the three
minute mark onwards.
o "The Crunge" - Again, a sequaky drum pedal can be heard,
especially at the start of the song where just the bass and the
drums are being played. Page can be heard to depress the whammy
bar, he used a Stratocaster on this song, at the end of each
o "Dancing Days" - Another track on "Houses Of The Holy" where
Bonham's squeaky drum pedal was somehow overlooked.
o "No Quarter" - In a _Guitar_World_ interview Page revealed he
lowered the track half a tone to make "the track sound so much
thicker and more intense." Plant's voice is also slightly
flanged, while Page uses a theremin to create the moaning of
"the dogs of doom" that Plant sings about.
o "The Ocean" - A phone can clearly be heard ringing at about the
1:38 point in the song. The sheet music that accompanies the box
set has the word `ring' printed twice above the percussion tab
of this song, so the inclusion of the phone sounds like it was
intentional. As well as this, there is also the sound of the
squeaky bass drum pedal that is present on "Since I've Been
Loving" you, which is most apparent in the early parts of the
song. And, yet more odd noises occur at 1:59-2:00 and 2:12-2:13
where it sounds like someone is making the `c' sound, as in the
first letter of the word `cat'. Just as Bonham comes to "Two" in
the introduction you can hear the first five notes far off in the
distance, the result of some sort of production glitch.
o "In My Time Of Dying" - Some members of the list with very keen
hearing have in the past claimed to have heard the sound a
television makes when it's turned on, about half way through this
song. The sound they are hearing is produced by the high voltage
power supply, or more specifically, the flyback transformer,
of the tv which is somewhere around 32,000 volts for color
televisions. Not so much a weird noise, as an anomaly, at the
5:44 mark it sounds like Bonham misses a beat. Them cymbals
continue as they are but at that time it sounds a bit like a
drumbeat is missing.
o "Houses Of The Holy" - Recorded initially for the album of the
same name, the squeaky drum pedal that can be heard on a lot of
the tracks from that album can also be heard on this song. At
the 3:41 mark a strange sound, resembling a bird call, can be
o "Kashmir" - The orchestra riff that is first heard at the 1:19
point in the song can be heard earlier, in the left channel, very
faintly, after each line of the first verse, such as at 0:25,
0:34 and 0:43. What this is, is the original track using the
orchestra that was wiped off, but a slight "ghost" of that
recording remains and is slightly audible.
o "Night Flight" - A strange hissing sound can be heard for around
half a second in the right channel before the organ starts.
o "Ten Years Gone" - The squeaky bass drum pedal that was noted in
"The Ocean" and "Since I've Been Loving You" occurs here as well,
although slightly quieter than on both previous occasions. Also,
at the 2:59 mark, and faintly in the left channel, a strange sound
can be heard, which has been suggested as the sound of a guitar
being plugged in. Another sound, sounding much more like a guitar
being plugged in occurs between 5:44 and 5:47.
o "Sick Again" - Bonzo can be heard to cough faintly at the end of
o "Achilles Last Stand" - Despite Page's assertions that there
weren't any keyboards on "Presence" between 6:54 and 7:00, on the
ascending runs with the staccato background guitar, you can hear
what sounds very much like a keyboard. It could also be an
extremely affected guitar sound though. Bonham is said to groan
at one point during the song, but the time for that is unclear.
o "For Your Life" - Plant makes two weird noises after the lines,
'Wanna find myself a crystal, Payin' through the nose.' The two
noises sound very much like a snort, most likely a play on the
line about crystals and paying through the nose, in reference to
cocaine. This starts at around the 5:30 point in the song.
o "In The Evening" - The third Zeppelin song on which Page uses the
violin bow, the others being "How Many More Times" and "Dazed And
Confused", the unusual noises in the guitar solo are caused by the
springs of a fully depressed whammy bar.
o "Fool In The Rain" - An odd noise can clearly be heard at the 1:05
point in the song. The sound occurs just after the line `And you
said that you'd always be true'. The sound is most likely Plant,
and may be some sort of play on that line. The sound itself is
like a sort of `ppttt' noise made with the lips. A suggested
explanation for this involves the meaning of the prior line of the
song. When someone makes a hand shape like a gun with a clenched
fist, extended fore-finger and raised thumb, the sound they most
commonly make when they `fire' the gun is similar to this noise,
a sort of `ppttt' noise made with the lips. Hence, it may be that
Plant was firing off a shot at someone that had not been true to
him. This is a rather tenuous theory however.
o "Carouselambra" - The unusual sounds that have been described as
`percolating' that occur in this song are most likely to be Bonham
hitting some sort of drum as they follow a rhythmic pattern, which
rules out other explanations such as perhaps a bong.
o "Wearing And Tearing" - At the 0:19 mark a sound that is similar
to a phone ringing, one of the newer ones, not the older ones that
actually make a ringing noise, can be heard in the right channel.
Proposing what a particular song is about is usually futile,
unless the artists has clearly spelled out what the meaning is,
and even then there is plenty of room for personal interpretation,
a largely speculative process. One song can mean many different
things to different people. The aim of this section is not to
engrave in stone what the song is supposed to mean, but to just
present some interpretations.
o "The Lemon Song" - The frequent references to a "killing floor" in
this song hightlight a recurrent theme in blues lyrics. The term
does not specifically refer to a slaughterhouse or abbatoir, but a
situation, after you have been, for example, cheated on, dumped
by your woman, ignored, or hurt, or some such unfortunate
predicament. The term is probably used an analogy, as a man could
see an animal being slaughtered, and then when his wife cheats on
him for example, saw a similarity in terms of feeling that way.
This is only a subset of the song's lyrical themes however. The
concept was popularised by Chicago bluesman Howlin' Wolf in his
appropriately titled song, "Killing Floor", from whence the riff
to this song is derived.
o "Ramble On" - The reference to `the darkest depths of Mordor' is
one of the several Tolkien references in Plant's lyrics. Mordor
is, in _Lord_Of_The_Rings_, essentially a wasteland, obviously
artificially so because of Sauron's, the `dark lord' in "The
Battle Of Evermore", poisonous sphere of influence. Mordor is
surrounded by a mountain range that encloses it on three sides.
Another Tolkien reference is the line referring to Gollum. He is
more pitiful than evil. He was once a Hobbit-like creature who
fell under the power of the ring and became a monster that he is.
His entire essence is now controlled by the ring. The evil one
that is mentioned as accompanying Gollum could be one of a variety
of characters, such as Saruman, Morgoth, a ringwriath, however,
Morgoth was not a contemporary of Gollum's in Tolkien's world.
Another part of the song that may be related to Tolkien is the
section about "spreading roots", "goin' round the world", "gotta
find my girl". In "Lord Of The Rings", Frodo and Sam wander into
the forest after being captured by the Orcs. While there they
meet an old Ent called Treebeard who tells them the story of the
Ents' loss and subsequent search for the Entwives. More likely
though, this is part of Plant's recurring lyrical theme of having
to find his woman, a neverending search further chronicled in
"Going To California".
o "Immigrant Song" - The inspiration for the lyrics for this song
are said to have come from a trip to Iceland in June 1970, which
goes some way to explaining the Viking overtones of the song.
o "Since I've Been Loving You" - One of the most interesting lyrical
moments in this song is Plant's updated blues cliche', the "new
fangled back door man". "Back door man" is a term used to
describe a woman's secret, or alternative lover, who may enter the
house via the back door to preserve the secrey of the affair.
Plant's spin on this, the "new fangled" version, may imply that
the lover has a unique style, or is particularly up-to-date in
appearance or some other detail about him. It could also be that
he is reflecting that times have changed since this ancient blues
mannerism was first used. Another song that revolves around this
concept is the Doors' "Back Door Man".
o "Tangerine" - Written during Page's days with the Yardbirds, he
wrote this for his then girlfriend Jackie DeShannon. Marianne
Faithfull in her not-to-be-taken-too-seriously autobiography,
_Faithfull_, recalls an instance where she was in a hotel room
next to theirs and that Page was through his involvement with
DeShannon making the transition to being "interesting".
o "That's The Way" - The song centres on the dissolution of a pair
of star crossed lovers. This song has been interpreted as having
pro-conservation themes, although the generally peaceful nature
of the song may have been in part inspired by the unrest Plant
witnessed first-hand during his travels across the USA in 1970.
Plant has said that it was about the loss of a friend, with a
divergence into various social and environmetal issues.
o "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" - The song is about Plant's dog Strider, which
in Plant's words is a "blue-eyed merle". This is likely to mean
the dog is a Collie, by breed, with blue-grey fur speckled or
streaked with black.
o "Black Dog" - It has been suggested the lyrics are about Plant's
feelings towards fat women.
o "The Battle Of Evermore" - With some imagery borrowed from Tolkien
and lyrics inspired by a book Robert was reading at the time about
Scottish border wars, it is likely that the song is a compilation
of elements of these two sources. The lyrical reference to
`ringwraiths' is an indication of the use of some middle earth
imagery. The actual ringwraiths reference, "The ringwraiths ride
in black..." refers to the Nazgul in Tolkien's middle earth. The
Nazgul were evil servants of the Dark Lord, also referred to in
the song, Sauron, who roamed the earth in search of the one ring
to rule them all, the magic ring of invisibility found by Bilbo
Baggins in _The_Hobbit_. The Nazgul were referred to as
"Ringwraiths" by common peoples. Another line from the song
"Bring it back, bring it back..." is interpreted by some as the
rapidly fading links between England and the magic of the past.
The lines "The magic runes are writ in gold, to bring the balance
back" are interpreted by some as meaning the band had found or
regained some sense of balance, although this is very probably not
what Plant was singing about. Additionally, the Queen of light
referred to is Galhadriel, and a ringwraith is a human that fell
under the power of Sauron and now lives as a "shadow" or being on
another plane of existence. A ringwraith is essentially one of
Sauron's henchmen and were dedicated to finding the ring and to
bring it back to Sauron. They also dress in black. Some other
lyrical ideas are supposed to have come from "The Magic Arts In
Celtic Britain" by Lewis Spence.
o "Stairway To Heaven" - The meaning of this song has to be one of
the most enduring musical debates of all time. Australian
comedian and tv personality Andrew Denton has throughout his tv
career expressed his complete ignorance of the meaning and sought
to enlighten himself. He finally gained his chance to ask the
man who wrote the words what the phrase "If there's a bustle in
your hedgerow" actually means, and Plant related an idea, after
checking with Jimmy to see whether he should pass on the Freudian
meaning, and being told not to, which bears a striking resemblance
to one aired in _Guitar_ magazine several years ago. The winner
of a contest in that magazine as to what the meaning was also
concerned himself with that particular phrase. The theory had it
that a hedgerow can also be defined as a "bush", which is also a
slang term for the female genitalia. A bustle is a disturbance or
some similar dispruptive activity. Supposedly this refers to a
woman's period. The May Queen, mentioned in the next line of the
lyrics, symbolizes a woman's first period, and thus the two lines
taken together relate to a woman's coming of age. Plant's reply
to the question on _Denton_ was, "What it is, it's the beginning
of Spring, it's when the birds make their nests, when hope and the
new year begins. And it's nothing to do with any of that weird
stuff you read about in America!" These two explanations at
a stretch can be reconciled, so one part of the song is thus about
a woman's coming of age. Jimmy has also said that one of the
original lyrical inspirations was a woman they both knew. This
may be so, but the "lady" in the song appears to be some sort of
reference to materialism. The song is reportedly based on a
number of Celtic myths and also drew on English literature such
as "The Faerie Queene" by Edmund Spenser.
o "Misty Mountain Hop" - Despite a title that is a location drawn
from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," from what Plant has said about
the lyrics, it sounds much more likely that the song is something
to do with an afternoon in the park and some illegal substances.
A rough paraphrase of Plant's words is that it about is the
trouble one can get into when spending an afternoon in the park
with some `cigarette papers.' Another source says that the song
is written about a love-in near London that was broken up by the
o "Going To California" - The song is, according to Plant, about the
unrequited search for the ultimate lady. He would often adlib,
"It's infinitely hard," when they played the song live. At
Knebworth in 1990 Plant added, "Do you know what? It's still
o "When The Levee Breaks" - The story behind this song is that,
after the civil war, many black freemen and former slaves settled
on farms in an area along the Mississippi side of the Mississippi
river. This area, known as the Delta, is from Greenville north to
Memphis, Tennessee. Obviously, this is not the only delta on the
Mississippi, and should not be confused with the one south of New
Orleans. The reason for settling in this area was the richness of
the soil, primarily because of semi-annual floodings In response
to this phenomenen a 45 foot tall dirt levee, a ridge of soil, was
constructed along the side of the river for mile after mile.
Early in the century, a series of floods managed to penetrate the
levee and flood the area, devastating crops and farms. Thousands
of familes moved upriver to Chicago as a result of this, and also
due to the hope that jobs were plentiful and homes inexpensive in
that area. However, levees were not just the haunts of farmers.
Criminals such as prostitutes, bootleggers and thieves often lived
in levee camps, as the people who ran them found it very hard to
enforce the rules and were prepared to turn a blind eye to their
activities. In such an environment, early bluesmen found a place
to play and learn their trade, people such as Robert Johnson,
Tommy Johnson and Son House. The levee camps were dangerous
places and if a musician failed to impress the patrons there was a
good chance he could be in serious trouble.
o "The Song Remains The Same" - Zeppelin's tribute to world music,
and the varieties they experienced on their travels.
o "Over The Hills And Far Away" - A song about the joys of the open
road and `acapulco gold', a popular slang term for marijuana. Roy
Harper, a Zeppelin associate and the subject of the last song on
"Led Zeppelin III" actually has a song of that name.
o "The Crunge" - In a song that is basically a James Brown parody,
the closing spiel from Plant, `Where's that confounded bridge?' is
a reference to the fact that there is no key transition at that
point in the song. A musical "bridge" is a segment wherein there
is a key change from the tonic key, so at that point in the song,
Plant is looking, probably in jest, for the key change, without
which the band is stuck in the same key forever, and the song
doesn't end. The point at which the bridge is first mentioned is
after the band has been playing the riff in the same key several
times, hence Robert's search for a transition.
o "Dancing Days" - This positive, upbeat song was inspired by music
Robert and Jimmy heard in Bombay during their stopover there.
Eddie Kramer recalls the band dancing on the lawn at Stargroves
during the playback for this song.
o "The Ocean" - While it is generally agreed that the "Ocean" Plant
refers to is his view of the crowd at a concert from the stage,
less obvious is his reference to his three years old daughter at
the time, Carmen. Carmen is now grown up, and is married to
Plant's bass player Charlie Jones. The couple brought a son into
the world in early 1995, making Robert Plant a grandfather! In
several live versions of "The Ocean" Plant changed the lyrics to
"She is only four years old" to keep up with Carmen's age. The
line "Playin' in the moonshine, rockin' in the grain" is a clear
reference to grain based alcohols, which were the most common ones
during the Prohibition period in America, when the term moonshine
was coined to describe illegal liquor. A term was also coined for
the people involved in the production and distribution of the
alchohol, bootleggers, a term which has also been used to describe
those who illegally tape concerts by artists such as Led Zeppelin.
o "In My Time Of Dying" - This antiquated song froma round the turn
of the century is the cry of a man on his deathbed as he tries to
have his life and soul justified. It is a cry from the edge of
the grave, an impassioned beg for mercy, and an attempt to ensure
a place in heaven for the man's soul. Hence, the lyrics have,
quite literally, got to be "It's gotta be my Jesus" and "Oh my
Jesus" as it would make no sense, in such a moving, spiritual song
which gradually builds up to a brilliantly executed catharsis, for
Plant to start yelling out the name of some woman, Gina being the
suggested name he uses. However, when peformed live Robert did
sometimes swap the Jesus for Georgina or Gina, depending on what
sort of variations took his fancy on the night. But, on the album
version it would make no sense for it to be anything other than
Jesus. This ties in with the cultural values and beliefs
prevalent in the culture Zeppelin came from, and from the
spiritual side of the blues, as the original performer of this
song, Blind Willie Johnson, sought to convey.
o "Achilles Last Stand" - Given Plant's enthusiasm for mythology the
lyrics seems thematically linked to the Trojan war during the
Hellenistic age. On the other hand, the rumour persists that
Plant, in a wheelchair with his leg in a cast due to a car
accident at the time of the session for "Presence", literally
fell out of his wheelchair when he first heard the completed
song. Given his leg injury, the title may indeed be a reference
to this incident.
o "Nobody's Fault But Mine" - Another Blind Willie Johnson song,
this has a similar lyrical theme to "In My Time Of Dying", a man
on his deathbed or staring death in the face taking responsiblity
for his sins and seeking redemption by doing so.
o "Royal Orleans" - Rumours have persisted for years that this song
is about John Paul Jones and some rather decadent exploits at the
Royal Orleans Hotel. The line about `kissing whiskers' infers
some sort of involvement with a drag queen. In the song, Jones
is referred to as John Cameron, to avoid naming him directly.
o "Hots On For Nowhere" - The reference to `Corner of Bleeker and
nowhere' sounds like it might be a reference to Bleeker Street, in
which case there are several he might be referring to. There is a
Bleeker Street in New York City, in Greenwich Village, which is
home to many aspiring musicians and is the location of some small
bars that Jimi Hendrix and others played in before they became
famous. Also, this Bleeker Street is very close to the building
on the cover of "Physical Graffiti", and may be adjacent to, or
actually converge with St. Marks Place at some point. There is
also a Bleeker Street in London which is famous for having lots of
pubs on it. New Orleans, in keeping with the delta blues style of
the album, may also have a street named Bleeker. Another lyrical
reference to Bleeker Street is in the Simon and Garfunkel song
"Bleeker Street". The rest of the song is something of a diatribe
by Plant against close friends "who would give me fuck all", the
people in question apparently being Jimmy Page and Peter Grant.
o "Tea For One" - A melancholic reflection by Plant on the time he
was separated from his wife after their car accident.
o "Hot Dog" - Unsurprisingly for Plant, this is a song about women.
There are several theories that have been postulated as to what
it's about, the funniest being that it is about having a 17 year
old girlfriend dump you. It is claimed that Robert once said that
the song is about a woman who he used to mess around with in
Texas, but this is not confirmed. The song though, is filled with
jokes about the way Americans speak, with several extremely corny
puns such as "U-Haul" instead of "Y'all", "Set down" instead of
"Sit down" and so on. One particular line, "Hangin' round for
more, ah more" would appear to be play on the French word "amour"
or the Spanish "amor", both meaning love. The word "Dungarees"
also makes its only appearance in a Zeppelin song. The use of the
word "U-HauL' is a reference to U-Haul moving vans, as the girl
involved is going to Texas and needs to move her belongings also.
o "Carouselambra" - An observation about the person who is the
object of the song is disguised by references to the past, who,
according to Plant, will one day realise it was written with him
in mind and say, "My God! Was it really like that?"
o "Poor Tom" - Tom, according to the lyrics, is a family's seventh
son. Thus there is little left for him to inherit in terms of
land or money because the six previous brothers have taken it
all. However, in occult lore, negro mysticism and other belief
systems, a dispensation for this is the influence of seven which
is considered a lucky number, the seventh son may have a variety
of supernatural powers to compensate for his reduced birthright.
This is referred to in Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man", also
written by Wille Dixon, amongst others. The magical powers seem
to relate quite often to having good luck with women. Wille
Dixon also wrote a song called "Seventh Son" about the belief that
the seventh son was lucky. However, the poverty aspect of his
predicament means he has to live the blues which probably appealed
to blues songwriters. Basically, as the seventh son, you may be
poor in material riches, but may be able to make up for this by
developing non-material riches. Another group to have recorded a
song about this is Iron Maiden with their song, "Seventh Son Of A
Seventh Son". The seventh son of a seventh son is even luckier
than than a seventh son, and is as legend has it, blessed with
incredible magic powers.
o A suggested explanation for the intriguing question of whether the
version of "I Can't Quit You Baby" on "Coda" comes from the
rehearsal or the actual concert that same evening, is that if Page
had proper audio equipment set up to record the show, then if it
was multitracked, that would give him the opportunity to stereo
separate it at a later date. The recording of this show may have
been intended for the long mooted live box set, or retrospective.
o The issue of whether the "Coda" version of "I Can't Quit You Baby"
is from the rehearsal or the subsequent show is further brought
into question by the video clip purporting to be from that date
that features an identical version. Either, it is from the show
that night, or a very well attended rehearsal.
o Zeppelin were nowhere near the first people to play and popularise
"Train Kept A-Rollin'". The song was already a standard for the
beat boom bands of the sixties, and Page's previous band, The
Yardbirds, although before his time in it, did the most to
popularise it at the time. It was re-recorded during Page's stint
with the band as "Stroll On" for the Antonioni film "Blow Up".
The only change was to the lyrics, which were re-written, the
reason being that they were unsure that they could obtain
permission to use it from the copyright holder. That version may
feature Page on either bass or guitar, no-one seems to be sure.
The song was originally written by Tiny Bradshaw, L. Mann, and H.
Kay and recorded by Tiny Bradshaw's Big Band in 1951. Originally
it was a jump blues tune, but was re-recorded as a rockabilly
song by The Johnny Burnette Trio in 1956. The guitarist involved
was Paul Burlison, who sometimes filled in for bluesman Howlin'
Wolf's guitarists, Hubert Sumlin and Wille Johnson, and was a
major influence on Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds first recorded the
song in 1965, and then again in 1966 for "Blow Up". Zeppelin
played the song at their first meeting, and then on their early
tours. It made a re-appearance on their last tour and was
mentioned by Plant as being on the next album, indicating that
they intended to cover it for the next album, which was of course
never made. When Page jammed with Aerosmith at Donington in 1992,
just before his solo Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler shouted
"Stroll on, Jimmy!" Aerosmith are noted fans of the Yardbirds and
their version of the song can be found on their "Gems" album, and
a newer version on the box set "Pandora's Box".
o The Rolling Stones' resident honky-tonk pianist Ian Stewart, who
was originally the sixth Rolling Stone, is the man responsible for
tinkling the ivories on the Zeppelin songs "Boogie With Stu" and
"Rock And Roll". Apart from the Stones and Zeppelin, Stewart, now
deceased, also appears on some songs with Howlin' Wolf from the
London Sessions for Wolf. Stewart died before the Stones "Dirty
Work" album came out and the snippet on honky tonk piano on the
fadeout from the album is a tribute to him.
o On "You Shook Me" and "Bron-Yr-Aur" Page is using backwards echo,
a technique he pioneered during his time with the Yardbirds. By
playing a solo once, flipping the tape over and recording over the
solo and some studio tricks he managed to get the echo preceeding
the signal. The effect is quite odd at times, for example the
brass section on the Yardbirds song "Ten Little Indians" uses this
technique, and it sounds like the song is going backwards. The
backwards echo in "You Shook Me" is right near the end of the
o "The Rain Song" was recorded in the key of G on "Houses Of The
Holy" but was performed in A in concert. In a 1990 interview
in _Guitar_World_ Page said this was because the studio version
used an odd tuning and the live version was an approximation.
o "In My Time of Dying" is recorded in the key of A on "Physical
Graffiti", but was performed in G live.
o A parody of "Stairway To Heaven" by Little Roger And The
Goosebumps which involved combining the lyrics from the theme to
tv show "Gilligan's Island" received little radio coverage when
it was released thanks to Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant's use of
some strong arm tactics to prevent it from getting any airplay.
o The solo to "Stairway To Heaven" was done in several different
takes by page on a Fender Telecaster. Hence, there are several
alternate takes that have not seen the light of day, but remain
in the vaults on the master. Page said one of his _Guitar_World_
interviews that he recorded three different solos and then picked
the best one.
o A version of "Whole Lotta Love" was recorded as the theme song for
BBC's "Top Of The Pops" show by a group called C.C.S., and led by
influential English bluesman Alexis Korner. The cover had a big
band feel, with a flute used to emulate the vocals in the middle
section. A single of it was released on Mickie Most's RAK label.
Despite the obvious watering down of the song, the "Way down
inside" lyrics was kept for this cover. This rendition can be
found on at least two compilation albums in the U.K., "The No.1
70's Rock Album" and "The Premier Collection Of Instrumental Hits
o "Kashmir" has been covered by The Dixie Dregs on their reunion cd,
"Bring 'Em Back Alive". Steve Morse emulates the vocal melodies
on guitar, while the bass, keyboards, strings and drums replicate
the original parts.
o Due to the primitive analog recording equipment used by the band
in the early days, there was frequent leakage between the tracks.
This was certainly the case with Plant, whose voice was so strong
it seeped across the tracks. This is also the explanation for
the reason the orchestra can be faintly heard in "Kashmir" some
time before it appears at the correct point. This may have been
due to a decision not to have the orchestra appear that early in
the track, and so the tape track with the orchestra part was
erased. However, because of the signal strength, it had already
seeped onto other tracks, whichever was next to it, and thus can
be heard faintly. The leakage of vocals in songs such as "You
Shook Me" and "How Many More Times" can be explained similarly.
With the quipment at the time it was probably not noticed, but
with the clarity of today's stereo equipment it is possible to
notice these things. Alternately, when it was decided that the
orchestra would not be used at that point the tapes were erased
but the tape was saturated, and the oxide on the tape had been
re-arranged with such force it was not possible to comepletely
erase the sound. Another theory has it that pre-groove echo may
be to blame for these type of phenomena. When the Mother record
which is used to press the acetates is cut, if the signal is too
hot what happens in that the actual sound waves on the record
itself bleed over to each other.
o A sample from "Misty Mountain Hop" has turned up in an Adidas
Tennis Shoe commerical, broadcast in the U.S.A. The sample is set
to a hip hop type background beat. This only serves to remind us
that the band no longer has any sort of control over their music
when artistic control is not stipulated in the sale. All the
rights apparently belong to Atlantic these days, with only Plant
admitting he has sold all his rights to the music. The sample
again turned up in a commercial tied into the 1994 World Cup in
the U.S.A. which began with the voice-over, "In my country,
England, we call it football..."
o "When The Levee Breaks" was only performed twice by Zeppelin, both
times on the early dates of the 1975 tour, Rotterdam and Chicago.
The presence of that and "How Many More Times" on the setlist was
due to Page's injured finger which prevented him from playing the
live staple "Dazed And Confused". Unfortunately, both the live
recordings of "When The Levee Breaks" are of a low quality. At
the Chicago gig, both Page and Plant were ill at the time. The
song was rarely performed because it involved a lot of effort to
set up the stage for the song, with Bonham and his drumkit in a
specially prepared pit onstage.
o Rumour has it that the rhythm track at the beginning of
"Celebration Day" that was wiped, was erased by Richard Cole.
o The first song Led Zeppelin ever played together was the
Yardbird's "Train Kept A Rollin'."
o Pagey is unsure just how many overdubs he did on "Achilles Last
Stand." One anecdote about this song is when Page presented the
song to the band, Jones did not see any scale in what Page was
playing. Page had to explain what it was in detail before Jones
o On the album "Led Zeppelin," the duration of "How Many More Times"
is listed as 3:30, not even close to the actual duration of 8:28.
Rumour has it that this was done so that discjockeys would think
it was within the time limit for what was considered appropriate
for airplay and it would thus get played at least once.
o "Walter's Walk" was among the tracks overdubbed by Jimmy at the
Sol in 1982, and actually may also have vocals overdubbed by Plant
at the same time. People who heard the track at this time confirm
o Jimmy plays a strat on "The Crunge" and depresses the whammy bar
at the end of each phrase.
o Jimmy lowered "No Quarter" half a tone in the studio, "...because
it made the track sound so much thicker and more intense."
o At one of the October 1972 shows at Budokan Hall in Japan Plant
introduced "The Song Remains The Same" as "The Campaign" as the
band had no title for the song at that stage. It was also known
as "The Overture" and "Zep" at other times before the band settled
on a title.
o The backing vocals for "The Battle of Evermore" are Sandy Denny of
Fairport Convention. Sandy Denny was also a member of the group
The Strawbs and another group called Fotheringay. Her premature
death in 1978 was due to a brain haemmorhage caused by falling
down a flight of stairs. Ties between Fairport Convention and
Zeppelin are numerous ranging from a jam between the two in 1970
to the late inclusion of Fairport's Dave Pegg in an incarnation
of The Band Of Joy and his appearance along with former Fairport
members Richard Thompson, and Maartin Allcock on Plant's "Fate Of
Nations." The book "Rock Movers and Shakers" claims that Plant
was part of a group with Dave Pegg called The Exception (or The
Exceptions) that around 1967 released a single called "The Eagle
Flies On Friday". The book though is fairly vague about whether
Plant was actually a member of the group or whether he sang lead
vocals on that song. However, in an interview in the now defunct
_Nirvana_ fanzine, Pegg said that while he had jammed with Plant
and Bonham he was never in a group with them.
o The first time "Stairway to Heaven" was performed live was on
March 5, 1971 at Belfast Ulster Hall. This was prior to the
release of the untitled fourth album and the performance was
partly intended to determine if they should even place it on the
album. They played it perfectly and when they were finished
there was a deafening silence in the crowd. Plant turned around
to the band and said, "I guess we'll scratch that one." When he
turned back to the crowd Plant saw one lighter going in the far
back of the center. The crowd went into an incredible ovation
for the band and they wound up repeating the song immediately
again. The accuracy of this story has not been established.
o The album "Stairways To Heaven" is an album of covers of "Stairway
To Heaven" by a very eclectic collection of artists ranging from
Rolf Harris (largely unknown in the USA, but famous in Australia
and the UK for such gems as "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" and an
advertisement for British Paints) to Kate Ceberano (Australian
jazz/pop/soul singer). The songs come from the tv series "The
Money Or The Gun" a weekly tv show on Australia's ABC network that
took a humourous look at various issues raning from prostitution
to physical disabilites. The latter episode entitled "The Year Of
The Patronising Bastard" won an international award. The host of
the show, Australian comedian and tv show host, Andrew Denton
seemed endlessly fascinated with what "Stairway To Heaven" meant
and he had a different artist perform the song on each episode,
which is where the album comes from. A compulsory interview
question during each show was what the interviewee thought of the
song. The performances of all the versions are collected together
on a video with the same title as the album. Rolf Harris's cover,
complete with `wobble board', was released in the UK and charted
surprisingly well. It also resulted in some London bikers
declaring a fatwah against Rolf Harris, which they have sadly not
followed through... The covers of "Stairway To Heaven" are by the
Kate Ceberano and the Ministry of Fun, John Paul Young,
Pardon me Boys, Nick Barker and the Reptiles, Rolf Harris,
The Australian Doors Show, Sandra Hahn and Michael Turkic,
Helen Jones, Robyne Dunn, Neil Pepper, The Rock Lobsters,
Toys went Bersek, Jodie Gillies, The Beatrix, The Fargone
Beauties, and others.
o There has been some speculation over time about who it was that
blew the whistle in "Fool In The Rain." It turns out that a
Chicago blues harmonica player, Norton Buffalo, was in the studio
at the time, and there is some speculation that Page invited him
to perform the task. Page plays on one of Buffalo's albums, "Draw
Blues," so this seems a logical assumption. Although for such a
small part, the task may well have fallen to the group member who
seemed to play anything, John Paul Jones.
o Zeppelin's last concert was on July 7, 1980 in Berlin at the
Berlin Eissporthalle. This concert in an interesting twist of
fate saw the band play one of the longest, if not the longest,
version of "Stairway To Heaven" they had ever played.
o The whereabouts of the tapes of "Baby Come On Home" were unknown
for years until they turned up, according to rumour, in a bin
outside a studio in London in time to be included on "Box Set 2".
To add to the confusion, the tapes were labelled "New Yarbirds."
o The first Zeppelin recordings enter the public domain in the year
o On Box Set 2, the two Bonham percussion tracks, "Moby Dick" and
"Bonzo's Montreux" are both track 13 on disc one and two
o The similarity between a section of the solo in "Heartbreaker" and
Edward Van Halen's solo piece "Eruption" has been noted
frequently. Edward admits Page is where he got the inspiration
and in a _Guitar_World_ interview before the release of the Van
Halen album "OU812" said,
"As far as the hammer-on thing is concerned - I never really
saw anybody do it okay? I'm not saying, `Hey, I'm bitchin',
I came up with it,' but I never really saw anybody do it.
But I got the idea a long time ago when I saw Led Zeppelin
back in '71 or something like that. Page was doing his
guitar solo before "Heartbreaker," or in the middle of it
[hums guitar riff]. He stood there playing [hums some more],
and I think, `Wait a minute, open string, pull off. I can
do that. Use that finger up here, and use this as the nut,
and move it around.' That's how I first thought of it, and
I don't know if anybody else did it. I just kind of took it
and ran with it."
"Eruption" appears on the group's debut album, "Van Halen".
o Some "Stairway To Heaven" trivia. "Stairway" is the biggest
selling piece of sheet music in rock history. It seels about
15,000 copies every year on average these days. In total, over
one million copies have been sold. It has been broadcast on
radio over three million times. There is a Muzak version
available, and rightly so, in a solo harp format. These tidbits
come from the Columbia House monthly catalogue.
o The outtakes that were collated on "Physical Graffiti" were
recorded as follows. "Houses Of The Holy" was recorded in 1972,
obviously as the title track for that album, at Olympic Studios.
"Black Country Woman" and "The Rover" were recorded at the same
time as "D'Yer Mak'er". "Bron-Y-Aur" was originally recorded for
the third album. The following Jimmy Page quote is taken from
"Led Zeppelin In Their Own Words" by Paul Kendall.
"As usual, we had more material than the required 40-odd
minutes for one album. We had enough material for one and a
half LPs, so we figured let's put out a double and use some
of the material we had done previously but never released.
It seemed like a good time to do that sort of thing, release
tracks like Boogie With Stu, which we wouldn't normally be
able to do."
Stephen Davis, a name to mention in a mumble at most, claims that
"Down By The Seaside" was recorded along with "Bron-Y-Aur" for
the third album as well. Also, "Night Flight" and "Boogie With
Stu" were from the fourth album sessions, while "Houses Of The
Holy", "Black Country Woman" and "The Rover" were destined for
"Houses Of The Holy". Thus, after collating this, we are left
with the initial version of "Physical Graffiti" containing, on
the first record, "Custard Pie"/"In My Time Of Dying"/"Trampled
Underfoot"/"Kashmir", and on the second, "In The Light"/"Ten
Years Gone"(the origins of which go back earlier too)/"The Wanton
Song"/"Sick Again". This would amount to in total, the album and
a half, or so, of material Page describes.
o In the album version of "Misty Mountain Hop", a listmember once
claimed that after the lines "Why don't you take a good look at
yourself and describe what you see? And baby, baby, do you like
it?" one of the band members loses sync and all of a sudden
they're playing the riff a quarter note apart. The lapse isn't
rectified until Plant does his loud breathing, when the band gets
back in sync.
o It was not unusual for Zeppelin to debut a song on tour before it
came out on an album. Here is a brief, and by no means exhaustive
list of examples.
- "Led Zeppelin" : "Dazed & Confused", "I Can't Quit You Baby",
"You Shook Me", "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", "How Many More
Times" - through late 1968, and very early in 1969.
- "Led Zeppelin II" : "The Lemon Song" (as "Killing Floor" in
early 1969), "Whole Lotta Love" - mid 1969.
- "Led Zeppelin III" : "Since I've Been Loving You" in early 1970.
- "(Untitled)" : "Stairway To Heaven", "Black Dog", "Rock And
Roll" (first introduced as "It's Been A Long Time"), "Going To
California", "Four Sticks" at least once, all in early 1971.
- "Houses Of The Holy" : "The Song Remains The Same" (initially
was introduced as "The Campaign" or "Zep"), "The Rain Song", "Over
The Hills And Far Away", "Dancing Days", all in late 1972 and
- "Physical Graffiti" : "Sick Again", "In My Time Of Dying",
"Kashmir", "Trampled Underfoot", "The Wanton Song" at least once,
all in early 1975.
- "In Through The Out Door" - "In The Evening" and "Hot Dog", both
at Knebworth, and the prior warmup dates.
Additionally, early versions of some songs from "Led Zeppelin II"
were played throughout 1969. "Moby Dick" was originally titled
"Pat's Delight" after Bonham's wife.
o The origins of an acoustic version of "Black Dog" are somewhat
unclear, however, it is not Zeppelin. One theory has it that it
is taken from a collection of Zeppelin samples called "The Slog".
The acoustic guitar and keyboard accompaniment may have been
performed by one of the well known Zeppelin tribute bands such as
The White. The sample is a looped vocal track taken from the
album version of "Black Dog". On the other hand, it has been
claimed that this acoustic version is taken from rehearsals for
the fourth album. Thor Iverson's funk-enhanced FAQL however,
states that the acoustic version is by a now defunct tribute band
called No Quarter.
o Jimmy has said that the only time Zeppelin repeated themselves was
with "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Tea For One". These tracks
have quite a bit in common. Both are minor blues, and both in the
same key, C. The changes aren't the same, but both have a similar
feel, until "Since I've Been Loving You" gets louder. The live
versions of "Since" moved closer to "Tea For One" over the years,
although the 1980 version was a bit of a send-up.
o The answer to the question of who does the backing vocals on "Hey
Hey What Can I Do" is unclear. It sounds like it might be an
overdubbed Plant vocal in the left channel, but it also sounds
like it might be more than one person, in which case it might be
either or both Page and Jones.
o The length of some of Zeppelin's live jams is staggering. The
version of "Dazed And Confused" on the bootleg "From Boleskine To
The Alamo", lasts around 30 minutes. The version of "Dazed And
Confused" from the 27/3/75 show at the L.A. Forum on the "Electric
Orgasm" bootleg, is even longer clocking in at over 43 minutes.
During the 1975 tour, when this song was performed live,
renditions of 30 minutes and longer was not an uncommon
occurrence. Another famous jam of this nature was at the Dallas
Pop Festival in 1969 where the band stretched "How Many More
Times" to twenty minutes duration.
o The performance of "White Summer/Black Mountainside" that appears
on the various boxed sets was taken from the live performance
taped by the BBC at the London Playhouse on 27/6/69. The version
of "White Summer" at the end of the "Another White Summer" cd is
from the Julie Felix Show, on UK tv, taped in May 1970.
o When Zeppelin played "Whole Lotta Love" live, Plant would often
ad-lib a few lines from John Lee Hooker's "Let That Boy Boogie".
At the end of one of the Knebworth '79 shows, they eventually end
with "Whole Lotta Love", and Jimmy, exhausted after two hours of
playing is exasperated to hear Plant sing "One night, I believe I
told you this before, but one night I was laying down and hear my
mamma and pappa talking..." However, Page gets his revenge as
after that Plant goes to walk off the stage and Page puts up his
index finger, indicating one more song, then starts playing
o When "No Quarter" was being recorded, everything but the drums were
recorded, then slowed down, then the drums were recorded at this
slower playback speed. The studio version is around the key of
C# minor, while the live version is in D minor.
o One of the reasons "When The Levee Breaks" has such an impact
is because everything apart from Plant's vocals were recorded at
normal speed then played back slightly slower. The song is
pitched between the keys of F minor and F# minor, but the effect
of the slowed tape was to put it a little flat of true F#.
o The strings and horns on "Kashmir" are authentic, and are not
mellotron enhanced as "The Rain Song" is.
o "Travelling Riverside Blues" features a very unusual guitar setup
from Page. It's played on a 12 string electric guitar with an
open G tuning, possibly a Nashville tuning, which creates a rich
ringing tone, so when you finger chords they seem very tight
because all the notes are in and around the same octave, creating
a lush multi-tracked type of sound, especially when played slide
o "Bron-Yr-Aur" is another example of an interesting tuning. It is
not a standard open C tuning, one of the strings is higher than
it should be, which makes all the difference by allowing a certain
chord to be formed without fretting. This special tuning opens up
a lot of chords you can't reach any other way, and in this case
serves to create the illusion of multiple guitars. Michael Hedges
uses tunings in much the same way in more recent times.
o "All My Love" and "Ozone Baby" are examples of how Page chording
or arpeggioing a fuller chord shape, and using the B string bender
to change the chord as it's ringing.
o The "Hot Dog" solo, an unusual one, includes a lot of double-
string picking, where 2 notes, 1 or 2 strings apart forming chords
whereby Page is building harmonies, as well as doing some pedal
steel style string bending. Another example in this vein is how
Page played "Ten Years Gone" live. He would pre-push the B string
bender while holding an Asus2, which creates a A chord, and then
let go on the bender to form the native Asus2.
o The promotional video for "Over The Hills And Far Away" that came
out at the time of the first boxed set features footage from the
1979 Knebworth concert, but the sound comes from the original on
the "Houses Of The Holy" album, not the concert. However, not all
the footage is from Knebworth in 1979, the parts where Robert is
wearing a polka-dot shirt, Jimmy is in a blue silk shirt, and
Jones is in an all-white suit, are, but the parts where Jimmy is
in the dragon suit, and someone's kitchen, are likely to be from
several 1977 sources, with possibly some 1975 as well.
o Several Zeppelin songs have changing modes. "White Summer/Black
Mountain Side" changes its mode emphasis frequently. "Dancing
Days" is another example of this type of style.
o "The Battle Of Evermore" was the first time Page had ever played a
mandolin. The mandolin belonged to Jones, but according to Page
he just picked it up and moved his fingers around until the chords
sounded right. The same goes for "Gallows Pole", that was the
first time Page had played banjo, and again, the instrument in
question belonged to Jones.
o Sandy Denny's role in "The Battle Of Evermore" was as a town
crier, urging the people to throw down their weapons.
o "Gallows Pole" is Page's favourite track on "III", but it was only
played live once, in Copenhagen in 1970, the same date "Four
Sticks" was given it's only public airing. "Four Sticks" was
later re-recorded along with "Friends" with the Bombay Symphony
o "Kashmir" is one of the few tunes the band reportedly considered
re-recording for various reasons, Plant for example claims he
put in a sub-standard vocal performance on it, while the original
score in Jones's handwriting indicates that the band were thinking
of including a string section including cellos and violas on the
song, either in the studio or in concert. The handwritten score
marked `Olympic Studios, November 10th, 1976' was recently
auctioned by an art house.
o "I'm Gonna Crawl" is not really a minor blues, the chords are C
Major, Ab, and G, which is a very unusual chord progression, but
through the way he band plays the song it actually resembles a
typical blues song.
o The track times on "The Complete Studio Recordings", some of which
were corrected version of those on the first boxed set, differ
markedly with those on the original album sleeves. While it is
plausible that today's equipment and the remastering process might
make one to five seconds difference to a track's total time, some
of the difference are quite large.
Song Title Original Remastered Difference
"Your Time Gonna Come" 4:21 4:14 -0:07
"How Many More Times" 3:30 8:28 +4:58
"Thank You" 3:50 4:47 +0:57
"Ramble On" 4:35 4:23 -0:12
"Friends" 3:00 3:54 +0:54
"Gallows Pole" 4:38 4:56 +0:18
"Tangerine" 3:12 2:57 -0:15
"Nobody's Fault But Mine" 6:15 6:27 +0:12
"Custard Pie" 4:20 4:13 -0:07
"Kashmir" 9:42 8:31 -1:11
"Ten Years Gone" 6:55 6:31 -0:24
"Night Flight" 3:57 3:36 -0:21
"Boogie With Stu" 3:45 3:51 +0:06
"Black Country Woman" 4:24 4:35 +0:11
o On the cd reissues, Atlantic have tried to correct various errors
that appeared originally with regard to song timings and recording
dates and locations. "The Complete Studio Recordings" highlights
this, as two different times are listed for the recording of
"We're Gonna Groove" on Coda, one on the original artwork, and
another differing by six months in the liner notes. The location
also differs, with the song originally listed as being recoreded
at Morgan Studios, while the updated credits list it as being
recorded at the Pye Mobile Truck, at the Albert Hall. The latter
also lists guitar overdubs as having been added at Page's Sol
Studio in Cookham, Berkshire. The much discussed question of
whether the version of "I Can't Quit You Baby" on "Coda" is from
the soundtrack or the actual show is still not answered to
everyone's satisfaction though.
o There are several other mistakes with track times in "The Complete
Studio Recordings" box set.
1) "Darlene" : listed (4:37), actual (5:07) - The reason for this
timing mistake may be that originally Jimmy was planning to fade
the song out quickly, as around 4:37 Plant says "Go" for the last
time and the song does begin to fade, but it takes a further 30
seconds to fade out completely.
2) "Nobody's Fault But Mine" : listed (6:27), actual (6:16) -
During the remastering process Jimmy cut out the first 11 seconds
of the original version on the original release of "Presence".
This section is somewhat non-essential to the song, featuring only
a faint introduction. Whoever did the track timings obviously
didn't notice this though.
3) "Tangerine" : listed (2:57), actual (3:11) - The reason for the
discrepancy is quite obvious after a listen to the remastered
version on the 4CD set. That version does not contain the false
start and Jimmy's subsequent count-in. However, that was
reinstated for "The Complete Studio Recordings" and again, the
difference went unnoticed.
4) "Your Time Is Gonna Come" : listed (4:14), actual (4:35) -
Again, the difference is explained by the change from the 4CD box
set. On that, Jimmy cut out the last 21 seconds, which featured
some repititious chords before overlapping "Black Mountainside".
However, on the 10CD set, the original fade into the next track is
restored, and yet again, whoever typed out the track timings
o The `thick' guitar sound in "Bron-Yr-Aur" is a clever combination
of an open tuning and Page's backwards echo technique.
o According to Page, the ending of "In My Time Of Dying" is a jam,
and that the band had no idea how to finish the song.
o The basic tracks for "Black Dog" were recorded in the downstairs
crypt at Headley grange.
o The unaccompanied solo in the middle of "Heartbreaker" was
recorded seperately to the rest of the song and slotted in later.
These sales figures were posted to the list in 1992 and may well
have changed since then. In all cases the total number was derived
by adding the sales of the various formats (CD, Records, etc.)
together to give an overall figure. "m" indicates a million copies
- AUS = Australia GER = West Germany
CAN = Canada UK = United Kingdon
FIN = Finland USA = United States Of America
EUR = Europe
- Led Zeppelin 4m USA
- Led Zeppelin II 6m USA, 1m EUR, 0.1m CAN
- Led Zeppelin III 3m USA, 0.5m UK, 0.05m CAN
- (Untitled) 11m USA, 1m CAN
- Houses of the Holy 6m USA, 0.25m GER
- Physical Graffitti 4m USA, 2m outside USA
- Presence 2m USA, 0.1m CAN
- The Song Remains the Same 2m USA
- In Through the Out Door 5m USA, 1m outside USA, 0.1m UK
- Coda 1m USA
- Remasters (1990 Box) 0.1m UK, 0.07m AUS, 0.01m FIN
- Led Zeppelin (1990 Box) 1.33m USA
- Remasters (1992 Box) 0.5m USA
- Whole Lotta Love (Single) 1m USA
Making observations about favourite or least favourite songs is
being purely objective and is likely to vary wildly from one person
to another. Rather than having another flamefest on the list about
"Hats Off To (Roy) Harper" being better than "Kashmir" here are the
results of a poll that was conducted by Bryan Durall that were posted
on Monday, April 5, 1993.
A L B U M S :
Led Zeppelin I 2 (5.5%)
Led Zeppelin II 5 (13.8%)
Led Zeppelin III 2 (5.5%)
(Untitled) 4 (11.1%)
Houses Of The Holy 5 (13.8%)
Physical Graffiti 17 (47.2%)
The Song Remains The Same 0
In Through The Out Door 1 (2.7%)
S O N G S :
Stairway To Heaven 4
Achilles Last Stand 3
In My Time Of Dying 3
Over The Hills And Far Away 3
When The Levee Breaks 3
Travelling Riverside Blues 2
The Song Remains the Same 2
Since I've Been Loving You 2
No Quarter 1
Fool In The Rain 1
That's The Way 1
Good Times Bad Times 1
Ten Years Gone 1
Bring It On Home 1
Rock And Roll 1
The Ocean 1
The Wanton Song 1
Hey Hey What Can I Do 1
Going To California 1
Wearing And Tearing 1
Dazed And Confused 1
The Lemon Song 1