Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er

I know some Zeppelin fans who hate this song with a passion. For me it showed the band had a sense of humor instead of just glowing red eyes, naked children climbing rocks, and symbols that looked like ZoSo.  Jimmy Page had an interest in the occult and Robert Plant often wrote mystical spiritual lyrics…so this one comes out of the blue.

Is this Led Zeppelin’s best song? No, not even in their top 50 but a fun romp through reggae or their version of it anyway.

I bought the single at a yard sale when I was around 10 and there was something wrong with it. On one side “The Crunge” was printed and on the other…D’yer Mak’er was there. The only problem was that the labels were reversed. This was before I knew anything about Led Zeppelin. For years I thought D’yer Mak’er WAS called The Crunge and the opposite. It was not until later when I got the album Houses of the Holy that I found out. I then thought they had the album listing wrong. I wish I still had that single!

The song was one of the few singles released by the band in America. They never released a single in the UK while they were still together. The song peaked at #20 in the Billboard 100 and #24 in Canada in 1973.

The title, frequently mispronounced as ‘Dear Maker’ or even ‘Dire Maker’, is actually meant to be pronounced “Jamaica” in a double-edged reference to the old joke that Robert Plant told in a Rolling Stone interview and also the way in which locals pronounce the name of their Caribbean island. I looked this up on the title… D’yer Mak’er (intended to be pronounced with a British non-rhotic accent as “jah-may-kah”)

Plant has confirmed that the title “D’yer Mak’er” does, in fact, come from a bit of Cockney humor, which usually goes something like this:
Cockney Man 1: My wife is going on holiday.
Cockney Man 2: D’yer make ‘er? [“Jamaica,” but pronounced quickly so that it sounds just like “Did you make her?”]
Cockney Man 1: No, she’s going on her own accord.
The allusion to Jamaica made sense for the song: “D’yer Mak’er” is Zeppelin’s reggae move.

John Paul Jones didn’t like the track and he said that Bonham didn’t like reggae period.

John Paul Jones: “John was interested in everything except jazz and reggae, he didn’t hate jazz but he hated playing reggae he thought it was really boring.”

JImmy Page: “I didn’t expect people not to get it. I thought it was pretty obvious.”

D’yer Mak’er

Oh oh oh oh oh oh,
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry, ay ay ay ay
All those tears I cry, oh oh ah ay
Baby please don’t go

When I read the letter you wrote me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it told me, it made me sad sad sad
But I still love you so
I can’t let you go
I love you
Oh, baby I love you

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Every breath I take, oh oh oh oh
Oh, every move I make
Oh, baby please don’t go

Ay ay ay ay ay ay
You hurt me to my soul, oh oh oh oh
You hurt me to my soul oh, oh
Darling please don’t go

When I read the letter you sent me, it made me mad mad mad
When I read the news that it brought me, it made me sad sad sad
But I still love you so
And I can’t let you go
I love you
Oh, baby I love you, oh

Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh
You don’t have to go, oh oh oh oh
Oh, baby
Babe, please, please, please, please
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh, baby
Oh oh, oh I really love you, baby

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

27 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – D’yer Mak’er”

    1. Oh I love it… I know many though who just hate it with a passion. My favorite Zep song is Hey Hey What Can I Do… I like when they went out on a limb a little.
      Sometimes they could get a little too serious… thats why songs like this and Hot Dog kinda broke it up.

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  1. So strange about the label switch. I’m guessing that 45 is worth something? It’s funny that this one got so much air play when it isn’t that much like their usual sound. In that respect it reminds me of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay.” I always thought the “Did you make her?” had a more prurient meaning, and knowing Zep I would believe it was more that way than someone forcing their partner to go on vacation. The song is an earworm and one I like even with its historical idiosynchrosies (sp?)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea it will forever be The Crunge to me and my friends who liked it.
      That is a good comparison with Dylan…it was outside their norm. Yea with them you never know what something means…I was telling someone …I like their outside the norm songs like Hot Dog and Hey Hey What Can I Do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I just went out and listened to Hot Dog and it isn’t one I remember at all. Funny how some of the biggest bands, like Zep, the Stones, the Fab 4, always have to try their hand at a little twang.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea that one is a fun song…again it’s not their best but they could be…like you hinted at…quite dark at times so it’s nice to have a fun song… Yea I loved that twang!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I quite like it, it would be somewhere in my… I’d guessing top 20 LZ songs. I still hear most radio DJs call it “dire maker”, which is what I thought until recently, then like Lisa suggested, I read it was slurred “did you make her?” ‘Jamaica’s a bit of a stretch! too bad you don’t have that 45 still… it would be a conversation piece or else probably earn you some decent cash if you sold!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I might have it somewhere or my sister may have ended up with it my mistake…I’m gonig to look anyway.
      Yea with Zeppelin you never know. Unlike The Who…Zeppelin was a bit dark at times so songs like this is a nice break.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I, too, like this- it’s a change-up from the relentless sonic war- which is what we listen to Zep for, but- please, not all the time. I can now hear the Jamaica reference, but it’s very ‘British, innit?’ (Even at the time that ‘Jamaica’ joke was as old as the hills, it goes back to the between the two World Wars Music Hall times I’d say.)
        Max, dig out the record, if you can. The mislabeling , in the parlance of the times- ‘that’s so flipped-out, Man.’

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Groovy dude…I’ll give it a spin man.
        I would have never got that from that title…signed Thick American

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Houses of the Holy is my favourite Zep album, although your single has my two least favourite cuts (sorry!). The Hold Steady referenced the song with their own song titled ‘Joke About Jamaica’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They have a lot of competition on that album… although I’ve never been a fan of No Quarter.
      I do like this album more than ZoSo

      Like

  4. I didn’t much care for hard rock in my teens, at least anything harder than the Stones. The only song by Led Zeppelin I liked was “Stairway to Heaven” (which has been my all-time favorite song my entire adult life), but man, I loved “D’Yer Mak’er” from the first moment I heard it. It got lots of radio play in the San Francisco Bay Area where I lived, and it made me a Led Zeppelin fan, opening my ears and mind to the rest of their music. It’s such a fun, sexy song, which I also thought was pronounced ‘dire maker’. It would definitely rank among my top 10 favorites of their songs.

    Liked by 1 person

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