Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Subj: Song of the day XLI
Date: 97-03-21 14:54:02 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL@AOL.COM (Jeff Lybarger)

WE'VE DONE 40 ALREADY BUT NOW WE'RE STEADY... AND THEN THEY WENT... ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR... And so begins today's song, from the Houses Of The Holy, track eight, clocking in at 4:28, "The Ocean".

Of course Bonzo says "we've done four already", but I thought I'd try to be cute with that intro. You want a MONSTER song? Well here it is babe. That spoken intro by Mr. Bonham kicks off what is one awesome slice from the Zeppelin pie. Jimmy enters with one of his most famous and loved riffs, and yes, we can just FEEL the groove. Bonzo is all over this one, can't you just picture him and Jimmy smiling at each other, each one feeding off the others inspired playing?

     "Singing in the sunshine,
       laughing in the rain...
       hitting on the moonshine,
       rocking in the grain...

       Got no time to pack my bag,
       my foot's outside the door...
       I got a date, I can't be late,
       for the hell high halia ball..."

Ah yes, Robert singing about good times. I've always loved his vocals on this song, at times he's got a "little boy" quality to his voice, and he seems to be having a lot of fun, which, in turn, just makes this whole song more fun. Another aspect of Robert's singing on this song is his back-up singing. The way he comes in with the "Ooh ooh's", I really enjoy all of his parts on this song. As for the last line in the above verse, I know the record lists those words as something different than I wrote, but if you listen very hard, what is printed is not what he says. I think I've gotten pretty close to what he actually sings.

       "Singing to an ocean,
         I can hear the ocean's roar...
         Play for free and play for me,
         And play a whole lot more, more...
         Sing about the good things,
         and the sun that lights the day
         I used to sing to the mountains,
         has the ocean lost it's way...

         I don't know..."

Now this is where things get real interesting. As Jimmy kicks into his solo, at the 1:37- 1:41 mark, again, listen closely, you will actually hear a telephone ring. It rings several times, and you may not catch it at first, but listen a couple of times, it's there. Now my question is, who is calling the studio? Can't you see the engineer, Eddied Kramer, just freaking out. As Page wails away on his Les Paul somebody has got to get the phone, and NOW! Yet another example of the humour in Zeppelin. Most bands would have re-done the track, minus the ringing phone of course, but not Jimmy. Nah, leave it yeah!

Following Jimmy's solo we are treated to a most unexpected section, Robert acapella, singing "nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah", ect. Who came up with this part, and why is beyond me. Most likely it was Robert, and as strange as it is, it works perfectly.

        "Sitting ' round singing songs,
          till the night turns into day...
          I used to sing to the mountains,
          but the mountains washed away...
          Now I'm singing all my songs,
          to the girl who won my heart...
          She is only three years old,
          and that's a real fine way to start..."

Here Robert makes a reference to his then three year old daughter, Carmen. What a proud father, including her in a song. Then, out of nowhere, the song takes an abrupt change, into an up tempo ' 50's kinda thing. Jimmy lays down some cool leads on the Les Paul, and Bonzo once again shines with more awesome drumming, and at the very end Robert sums up this song, this album, and in fact the entire career of Led Zeppelin with these words: "Ah, so good". Indeed!

The *Ocean* is supposed to represent the crowds that Zeppelin faced every night. A *sea* of people, and of course *Houses Of The Holy* is where these shows took place, ie; the auditoriums, hockey arena's and such. Very cool on Robert's part to always include the fans.

One can't say enough about John Bonham on this song either. Yes, he gets the intro, but his drumming is so amazing, so tight and solid. He will throw in some little fills here and there that would leave a lot of drummers spinning on their stool. God, why did we have to lose him?

Zeppelin performed this live as early as 1972 in the U.S., used it as an encore in the 1973 UK tour, during the spring of 1973 in Europe and the summer U.S. tour of that same year. Then sadly, they dropped it after that. Of course we are all quite familiar with Robert's "Tall Cool One", with the riff sampled for that. The Beastie Boys ripped it off as well, in one of their mostly forgettable songs, but the neatest use of this song, post-Zeppelin, came from the man who wrote the riff, Jimmy Page. On his Outrider tour, during "Custard Pie", in the second verse he changed from the "Pie" riff to include little bits of "The Ocean" riff, quite cool the way he pulled that one off.

So enjoy this one, cause it's a classic. Great riffs, great drumming, great singing, Jonsey dead on as usual, and a spoken intro via John Bonham. Who could ask for more? Till we meet again, take care of yourselves...

Rock on,


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