Led Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times

The first song on Led Zeppelin’s 1968 debut album, John Bonham, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page are the credited songwriters on this track. Jones and Bonham really stand out on this track.

To get the sound on his guitar Page ran his guitar through a Leslie cabinet to make the swirling sound. A Leslie cabinet has a speaker in it that spins and makes the sound swirl. The Beatles and Buddy Guy first used that effect with a guitar in 1965. Before that, it was used mostly with the Hammond Organ.

This song peaked at #80 in the Billboard 100 in 1969.

Jimmy Page: “John Paul Jones came up with the riff. I had the chorus. John Bonham applied the bass-drum pattern. That one really shaped our writing process. It was like, ‘Wow, everybody’s erupting at once.”


From Songfacts

John Bonham used a device called a “Triplet” on his bass drum for this song to get a double bass pedal sound. He used the tip of his toe to flick the bass pedal back fast, creating an effect many drummers tried to copy. Jimmy Page explained in the BBC Book Guitar Greats, “‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ as usual, came out of a riff with a great deal of John Paul Jones on bass, and it really knocked everybody sideways when they heard the bass drum pattern, because I think everyone was laying bets that Bonzo was using two bass drums, but he only had one.” 

Led Zeppelin played this at their live shows until 1970.

Page put microphones all over the studio to capture a live sound when they recorded this.

When the band reformed for a benefit show on December 10, 2007 with Jason Bonham playing drums in place of his father, this was the first song in the set. Bassist John Paul Jones told Rolling Stone magazine after the show: “That’s the hardest riff I ever wrote, the hardest to play.”

There are some rumors that “Good Times Bad Times” (and “Your Time Is Gonna Come”) was played in its entirety once or twice in 1968 when the group was transitioning from The New Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin. However, there is no recording of this, and there’s no complete version on any of the unofficial live recordings from 1968 to 1980, the closest being inside a “Communication Breakdown” medley on September 4, 1970, in which John Paul Jones played a bass solo. They did play parts of it in different medleys, usually either “Communication Breakdown” or, most often “Whole Lotta Love.” The first recorded instance of the entire song being played by the full band is the 2007 reunion.

Good Times, Bad Times

In the days of my youth
I was told what it was to be a man
Now I’ve reached the age
I’ve tried to do all those things the best I can
No matter how I try
I find my way to do the same old jam

Good times, bad times
You know I had my share
When my woman left home
With a brown eyed man
Well, I still don’t seem to care

Sixteen I fell in love
With a girl as sweet as could be
Only took a couple of days
Till she was rid of me
She swore that she would be all mine
And love me till the end
When I whispered in her ear
I lost another friend

Good times, bad times
You know I had my share
When my woman left home
With a brown eyed man
Well, I still don’t seem to care

Good times, bad times
You know I had my share
When my woman left home
With a brown eyed man
Well, I still don’t seem to care

I know what it means to be alone
I sure do wish I was at home
I don’t care what the neighbors say
I’m gonna love you each and every day
You can feel the beat within my heart
Realize, sweet babe, we ain’t ever gonna part

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

19 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – Good Times, Bad Times”

    1. Off topic…Have you ever played through a Leslie cabinet? I played through one at a music shop…but the price was crazy.


    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! So what you are saying… I have an automatic view with Led Zeppelin! lol.

      I’ve been commenting with this great lady in England that saw them in 69 and or 70…I can’t imagine seeing the historical bands like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh God, yeah – one of my favourite tracks from the first album. And on the second, ‘What is and what should never be’. – the latter of which Page and Plant they nearly ruined during the filming of (and film of) Unledded – Page played it ultra-slowly, I thought he’d taken some mandies (Mandrax) or something!! But Good Times, Bad Times – one of the best!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Mandies. Way back in my youth…a friend of mine somehow got a few. It was a one time thing…I saw why they were so popular in the 70s.

      With the Unledded I wish they would have invited Jones but I guess they didn’t want to count it as a Zeppelin project…or Plant didn’t anyway.
      Plant seems to want to rewrite history at times with Led Zeppelin. I’m very surprised he did that reunion concert…they really sounded great there though in 2007.


      1. I was at the Unledded filming… it was strange at times, to say the least. I wish someone would release an ‘outtakes’ of it, because Plant kept up an almost non-stop stream of chat and jokes in between songs. Yeah, it would have been great if Jones had been there. Or if they’d used a ouija board and got Bonzo… 😉

        I never had mandies, could never really see the point of them – I’d just have fallen asleep, I think. One of the ingredients was what was in Ludes, you know? That was another I don’t think I ever had.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea Bonzo…that would have been the best!

        That is the trick…you have a 15 minute window to stay awake…once you do…you are fine and smiling.
        I never had a Quallude either…that was one thing I completely missed.

        Liked by 1 person

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