Led Zeppelin – The Ocean

“We’ve done four already but now we’re steady and then they went: One, two, three, four”

This song has a great guitar riff that carries the song along with the drums. It’s been said that the Ocean referred to was the fans as they were seen by the band on the stage. In the last line, the Girl who won my heart is Robert Plant’s daughter Carmen, who was 3 years old at the time.

This song was off of the Houses of the Holy album released in 1973. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Charts, #1 in the UK, and #1 in Canada. The band didn’t release many singles but this one was released and managed to peak at #8 in Germany.

Bonham and Jones make a rare appearance on backing vocals for the outro.

This song was #14 on Rolling Stones 40 greatest Led Zeppelin songs.

From Songfacts

The voice on the intro is drummer John Bonham. When he says, “We’ve done four already, but now we’re steady and then they went, 1… 2… 3… 4…,” he is referring to the takes. They had tried to record it 4 times prior but couldn’t get it right, so as a pep talk he said his famous line. 

This is one of the few Zeppelin songs where all four members shared the writing credit.

Robert Plant used parts of this for his solo song “Tall Cool One.”

The Beastie Boys sampled this on “She’s Crafty.” It wasn’t their first use of Zeppelin – they took some of Bonham’s drums from “When The Levee Breaks” for “Rhymin’ And Stealin’.”

It can barely be heard due to all the guitar overdubs, but during the last minute or so, John Paul Jones and John Bonham sing for one of the only times on a Zeppelin album. They are harmonizing the phrase “Doo wop.” 

If you listen carefully, you can hear a phone ringing in the studio at 1:37-1:38 and again (second ring) around 1:41. 

The lyrics about “The Hellhound” refer to Blues musician Robert Johnson, who according to legend, sold his soul to the devil. On the lyrics sheet that came with the album, the word “hellhound” was replaced with “high hopes hailla.” 

The Ocean

“We’ve done four already but now we’re steady
And then they went: One, two, three, four”

Singing in the sunshine, laughing in the rain
Hitting on the moonshine, rocking in the grain
Got no time to pack my bags, my foots outside the door
I got a date, I can’t be late, for the high hopes hailla ball, uh uh, uh uh, yeah

Singing to an ocean, I can hear the ocean’s roar
Play for free, I play for me and play a whole lot more, more!
Singing about the good things and the sun that lights the day
I used to sing on the mountains, has the ocean lost its way

I don’t know, oh oh, yeah’

Ooh, yeah

Sitting round singing songs ’til the night turns into day
Used to sing about 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 it’s a real fine way to start

Oh yeah!

It sure is fine!
Ah blow my mind!
When the tears are goin’ down! 
Yeah! Yeah, yeah

Oh so, oh so, oh so good!
Oh so good!

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

17 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – The Ocean”

  1. It is hard to take this song seriously, because it is so overplayed on ‘classic rock radio’ these days. But those are some fun bits of trivia about its recording. I listened for the phone ring and couldn’t hear it, but I’ll keep trying when it comes on the radio…which should be about 10 times today. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lol Yes it should be on at anytime. I keep my mp3s close to me now so I don’t have to resort to the radio.
      There were some interesting facts about this one…but sadly radio has killed this one.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Off topic… The Jays picked up Brock Stewart…he was not a bad pitcher. He was looked at as a middle of the rotation guy…He has slipped this year. Maybe the Jays can find that pitcher again.


    1. Yes Bonham’s drumming and Pages guitar was great in this one. I haven’t done a Zeppelin in so long I knew it was time…I’ve always liked this one

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is Jimmy and Bonham. The bass in Zeppelin’s songs is usually in the background…Pages guitar and the drums carries so many of their songs. The bass is there but really low.
        I just re listened to be sure…yep it is Page.


    1. Off Topic… I just wanted to give you a heads up…tomorrow morning I’m linking to your site with your name for your review of the Marshall Crenshaw debut album. I hope that is still cool.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I never knew that either until I found that. The phone ringing is also funny…things like that hardly happen anymore… human mistakes or touches.


  2. This is a much-played track in my home… er, make that in my room, as other half isn’t overly impressed by it. I love the intro and the timing throughout it, and the freshness…

    I’d not heard the ocean/audience references but now you mention it, it makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

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