Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XXXVIII
Date: 97-03-11 14:34:27 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

Hey Hey mama, how the heck are you? A very fine morn to you all, it feels like spring, this is a good thing indeed. Well today we'll journey back in time to that album with the bizarre cover. Ah ha, WHICH bizarre cover you ask? Ok, Ok, the third album. Side one, if you still have the vinyl that is, track three, clocking in at 3:29, "Celebration Day".

That weird drone you hear at the beginning has a funny story behind it. Apparently the engineer messed up and recorded over Bonham's drums at the intro to this song, almost causing the band to scrap the song entirely. In Guitar World, December 1993, Jimmy said that's why that drone is used, to compensate for the lack of drums, until the rhythm track catches up. He called it "salvaging" the track. And now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know, the rest, of the story.

Back to the song. Jimmy plays a fiery riff, almost sounding chaotic, overdubbed guitars colliding as one, and then Robert enters.

       "Her face is cracked from smiling
        all the tears that she's been hiding
        and she wonders pretty soon
        everybody's gonna know...

        And her voice is sore from shouting
        cheering winners who are losing
        she wonders if their days are few
        and soon they'll have to go...

        My my my I'm so happy
        I'm gonna join the band
        We're gonna sing and dance in celebration
        we're in the Promised Land"

Such a fun, upbeat song. Jimmy is absolutely riffing his arm off, Bonzo and Jonsey are pushing the track along like a locomotive, and Robert sings such happy, positive lyrics. At least in the chorus anyway. I wonder if this is what he said when first invited to join Led Zeppelin?

This is one of those songs that, unless you're a diehard Zep fan, most people don't even know about. Which is a shame. This song really cooks, I love the pace provided by Bonham and Jonsey, and Jimmy's riff is a classic. Another song that can really lift up one's spirits.

       "She hears them talk of new ways
        to protect the home she lives in,
        she wonders what it's all about
        when they break down the door...

        Her name is Brown or White or Black,
        You know her very well
        An' you hear her crying for mercy
        as the winners toll the bell..."

Written in 1969-1970, and yet fits in real well with our world in 1997, huh? Jimmy plays a very exciting solo on this track. The perfect way he blends in a bunch of notes, then hangs back with some cool bends, just another great solo by the man. He sounds very inspired on this track, as does the entire band.

Zep played this one in concert from the late summer tour of America in 1971, stayed in the set late 1971 to early 1972. Played again in the U.S. in 1973, then returned for the Copenhagen warm-up dates, as well as Knebworth. Used as a medley in the spring of 1971 with "Communication Breakdown". Jimmy and Robert dusted this off on their "No Quarter" tour, turning in some exciting moments as well. An excellent concert song, the energy just grabs you and won't let go.

Maybe a song overlooked by many, but Jimmy is in top form throughout the song. The riffs, the solo, and that wonderful ending, pure Page magic. So check it out if you can, I much prefer the live versions of this over the studio track, but that's me. Either way, you can't go wrong. Enjoy, and we'll see you next time.

Rock on,


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