Jeff Lybarger's Song OF The Day

Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 04:01:56 EST
From: OUTRIDERJL To: zeppelin-l@lists.Stanford.EDU
Subject: Song Of The Day LXV

...slowly he awoke from sleeps silent chamber
and turned to face the new rising sun...

the warmth of a brand new day 
kissed his fingertips
while the remains of promises broken
lie in ruin at his feet...

a solitary voice beckons him onward...

the illusion of love had dissipated...
his soul returned intact...

his destiny to the north
the bridge facing south...burned
the tide, once so powerful and awesome
is silent now...

with each step his confidence grew
with every thought the horizon brightened
the scent of a woman lingers on...

the image of you erased from his mind
he steps out
to greet the Ocean...

Ah yes, I see we meet again. It has been a long time hasn't it? That does mean Peace, not this. Peace! HaHa. A big thank you to all who have written over the past several and many month's. Some of you asking, some requesting, a few demanding, that I carry on with, well, with whatever it is I do. Your sentiments and words are much appreciated.

Back in the saddle again, so to speak, so let's get started, shall we? Today's song is a happy song. Because...well, because life is too short to not be happy. So, from that album with the spinning disc, (yes, you too can spotlight your favourite member of Led-Zeppelin! Or your favourite vegetable, whichever the case may be), from side one, track five, clocking in at 4:04, "Out On The Tiles."

You know, this song, perhaps more than any other Led-Zeppelin song, typifies, for me anyway, everything that we know about John Bonham. Think about this. John Henry Bonham was a man who enjoyed the simple things in life. He loved his family dearly, he hated touring, particularly in the latter years, he loved sports cars with big engines, he loved to throw people into swimming pools, and get him behind a drum kit, and he would display the most incredible talent the world of Rock and Roll had ever seen or heard. He was a big hearted man who didn't care about the "mystique" of Zeppelin, he just cared about the music. That's all. Plain and simple.

The lyrics in this song have always reminded me of John. Or something he would write. Bonham is given a songwriting credit on this song, but it's because this song came from a riff inspired by him. I doubt he was playing around with Page's Les Paul one day, probably the "riff" was the drum pattern, which in turn inspired Page to write the riff. But the lyrics, they seem to really reflect what John Bonham was about.

     "As I walk down the highway
      all I do is sing a song...
      And a train that's passin' my way
      helps the rhythm move along...
      There is no doubt about it
      the words are clear, the voice is strong
      it's oh so strong...

      I'm just a simple guy
      I live from day to day...
      A ray of sunshine melts my frown
      and blows my blues away...
      There's nothing more that I can say
       but on a day like today
       I pass the time away...
       and walk a quiet mile with you...

       All I need from you
       is all your love...
       All you gotta give to me
       is all your love..."

This song is about a "simple" guy, he doesn't require much, but when it comes to the love of his life, he needs "all your love", and to him, it's not that difficult. It's easy. That's all you gotta do, give me ALL your love, and we'll pass the time away taking romantic strolls down country roads living for the moment with each other. And that, based on everything I know about John Bonham, sums him up quite nicely.

The other thing about this song, as simple as the lyrics are, is the music is so intense. The reference in the first verse to a "train" is so apt. Because this song sounds just like a train barreling down the tracks...and headed straight for you! A "typical", if there is such a thing in Zeppelin's music, twist, is the way they break up the chorus. Robert sings the two lines, then the DUH DUH, DUH DUH, DUH DUH section just adds such a nice break. Again though, this is a very simple thing, but in the context of a song, it adds so much to the overall feel.

       "I'm so glad I'm living,
       gonna tell the world I am
       Got me a fine woman,
       she says that I'm her man,
       One thing that I know for sure,
       gonna give her all the loving like
       Nobody nobody, nobody nobody can..." 

It's funny, but as you listen to these words it seems almost obvious. Never before, and certainly never since, has Robert written lyrics quite like these. Very simple. Vanilla, one could say. Even "Thank You" has some beautiful touches of eloquence. I may be completely wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me if Bonham actually wrote, or helped write some of these lyrics. This song just screams JOHN BONHAM!!!!!

For those of you into the bizarre, right after Robert sings the line "I'm so glad I'm living" you hear a voice say "Stop." Rumour has it that it's Page. Others contend it's Plant. It sounds more like Plant to me, but you'll have to listen and decide for yourself. Listen in the left speaker.

      "Standing in the noonday sun,
        trying to flag a ride...
        People go and people come,
        see my rider right by my side...
        It's a total disgrace, they set the pace
        It must be a race
        and the best thing I can do is rock..."

This last verse is definitely Robert's writing. Actually Robert Johnson! "Trying to flag a ride" and "see my rider right by my side" are either a tip of the hat to Johnson, or just plain thievery, whichever you prefer. The last word in this verse has been written by others as "run", but to me it sounds like "rock." It also fits the song mentality better. The best thing I can do is run? Nah, best thing I can do is ROCK!!! "

Out On The Tiles" is a fun, rocking song. A very clever Page riff, some very good drumming by Bonzo, Robert seems to be having a good time, Jonsey adds some cool bass lines, doubling the riff with Page and giving that "heavy" feel. He plays off Bonham so well in this song, proving once again they were the ultimate rhythm section.

"Out On The Tiles" was only performed live in the early fall of 1970, during their sixth US tour. And that's a shame. Once again, if they could have cut the damn solos down to a minimum they could have added more SONGS, and this one would have been a good choice to start with. Perhaps one of Zeppelin's least known songs, though it is famous for being a link to "Black Dog." Used as an intro to kick start the more popular Zep number, it seems it has always been destined as a throwaway. In the 1977 tour the intro was expanded and used as the lead into John's drum solo, then known as "Over The Top." Jimmy played this intro again with David Coverdale in Japan in 1993, once more to lead into "Black Dog", and Page/Plant toyed around with the riff on their "No Quarter" tour.

Perhaps we never will hear this song performed in its entirety again in a live setting. I guess without Bonzo around it really doesn't matter, does it? I do know this, it is a very good song, always overshadowed in the Zeppelin catalog, but it still reminds me of our dearly departed John Henry Bonham. A simple man perhaps, but what he could do on the drum kit...

Till the next time,
Rock on,


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