Led Zeppelin – Black Dog

The guitar intro is instantly recognizable and although I’ve heard it so many times I still like it.

Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones got the idea for this song after hearing Muddy Waters’ 1968 album Electric Mud. He wanted to try to write electric blues with a rolling bass part.

The song was credited to Jones, Plant, and Page. the song was on what was known as their greatest album Led Zeppelin IV. It was recorded at Headley Grange a then run down country cottage. It was originally built in 1795 as a  three-storey stone structure which was originally used as a workhouse for the poor, infirm, and orphaned.

The album Led Zeppelin IV was a major success and peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #1 in the UK.

On a rough wall hangs a painting of an elderly man in a field with a large bundle of sticks tied to his back.

Jimmy Page on recording in Headley Grange: “The reason we went there in the first place, was to have a live-in situation where you’re writing and really living the music. We’d never really had that experience before as a group, apart from when Robert Plant and I had gone to Bron-Yr-Aur. But that was just me and Robert going down there and hanging out in the bosom of Wales and enjoying it. This was different. It was all of us really concentrating in a concentrated environment and the essence of what happened there manifested itself across three albums (IVHouses of the HolyPhysical Graffiti).”

It was unusual for a Zeppelin song because it was released as a single and peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100, #11 in Canada, and #10 in New Zealand. It was not issued as a single in the UK.

John Paul Jones: “I actually wrote it in rehearsal from Jimmy’s house on the train. My dad was a musician and he showed me a way of writing down notation on anything. And so I wrote the riff to ‘Black Dog’ on the back of a train ticket which I unfortunately don’t have.”

Andy Johns (Engineer): “It was more fun and more serious than for Led Zeppelin III. We mainly recorded it in Headley Grange – a haunted place – using the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit. The rest of the album was produced at Island studios, an old church. We recorded the main tracks for ‘Black Dog’ downstairs, in what used to be the crypt. The main tracks for ‘Stairway To Heaven’ were recorded in the big room upstairs.”

From Songfacts

The title does not appear in the lyrics, and has nothing to do with the song itself. The band worked up the song at Headley Grange, a mansion in Hampshire, England that is out in the country, surrounded by woods. A nameless black Labrador retriever would wander the grounds, and the band would feed it. When they needed a name for this track, which didn’t have an obvious title, they thought of the canine and went with “Black Dog.”

Jones rarely had completed songs together, but the bits and pieces he brought to Led Zeppelin’s writing sessions proved worthy. When they started putting the album together, Jones introduced this riff, the song started to form. The first version Jones played was comically complex. “It was originally all in 3/16 time, but no one could keep up with that,” he said.

When the mobile recording studio (owned by The Rolling Stones) showed up at the mansion, this song was ready to go and recorded there.

This is the first track on Led Zeppelin 4, which became the band’s best-selling album. A wide range of musical styles show up on the set, with “Black Dog” exemplifying the blues-rock that was the bedrock of the band’s sound.

The album itself is technically untitled, with symbols on the cover instead of words., but since it was their fourth album, it became known as Led Zeppelin 4. Some fans also referred to it as “ZoSo,” which is a rough translation Jimmy Page’s symbol.

In this song, Robert Plant is singing about a woman who appeals to his prurient interests, but is clearly no good for him – he tells himself he’d rather have a “steady rollin’ woman” come his way.

Robert Plant explained in an interview with Cameron Crowe: “Not all my stuff is meant to be scrutinized. Things like ‘Black Dog’ are blatant, let’s-do-it-in-the-bath type things, but they make their point just the same.”

The start-and-stop a cappella verses were inspired by Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 song “Oh Well.” Before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, they were more of a Blues band led by guitarist Peter Green. Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes performed “Oh Well” on their 1999 tour and included it on the album Live At The Greek.

The lyrics never approached “Stairway To Heaven” level scrutiny, but were still subject to some interesting interpretations. Jimmy Page’s interest in the occultist Aleister Crowley, combined with the image of the Hermit (from the Tarot) in the album art and the band’s disappearance when they set off to Headley Grange to record, led some listeners to conclude that the titular dog was some kind of hellhound, and that the line, “Eyes that shine burning red, dreams of you all through my head,” had something to do with Satan.

The sounds at the beginning are Jimmy Page warming up his guitar. He called it “Waking up the army of guitars.”

Even by Led Zeppelin standards, this is a very complex song musically, with a chaotic blend of riffs and time signatures that make it very difficult to play and a testament to the band’s musicianship. When the drums and guitar kick in, they’re actually playing completely different patterns, which is something devised by John Paul Jones. The only real consistent element in the song are the vocal interludes. This is not a song you’d want to dance to.

The songwriting credits on this one read: John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page/Robert Plant. Some bands – like U2 and R.E.M. – would credit every member on their original songs, but Zeppelin decided amongst themselves who would get the credits (and associated royalties). Page and Plant were almost always listed (Plant handled lyrics), but whether Jones or Bonham showed up as a writer depended on their contributions. This track was one where Jones clearly deserved a credit; he is also listed on the album as a co-writer of “Rock And Roll,” “Misty Mountain Hop” and “When The Levee Breaks.”

Robert Plant’s vocal was recorded in just two takes, marking one of his most memorable performances. His vocal booth was the drawing room at the Headley Grange mansion, which engineer Andy Johns set up with egg crates covering the walls as a sound-soak.

The guitars are heavily layered. Four separate Jimmy Page guitar tracks were overdubbed. Page recorded the guitar directly into a 1176 limiter preamp (manufactured by Universal Audio), distorted the stages of it, and then sent that to a normally operating limiter. In other words, no guitar amplifier was used in the recording process. 

Plant sampled this on his solo hit “Tall Cool One.”

“Whole Lotta Love” made #4 on the US Hot 100, and “Black Dog” was their next highest-charting song. Most of their tracks were not released as singles, and fans of the band were far more likely buy the albums.

As Robert Plant sings every line after the music stops, you can faintly hear Bonham tapping his drumsticks together to keep the time. 

This was one of the few songs for which John Paul Jones used a pick to play his bass.

Robert Plant would sometimes improvise some of the lyrics in concert, substituting lines like, “I’ve got a girl that loves me so love me so sweet jelly roll.” >>

This isn’t the first famous rock song with a color-animal title that doesn’t appear in the lyric: Jefferson Airplane released “White Rabbit” in 1967. In 1977, Steely Dan gave us “Black Cow,” but that one does have the title in the lyric.

Apparently, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas can knock out a killer version of this song. Slash from Guns N’ Roses told NME, March 22, 2010: “I first heard Fergie three years ago at a fundraiser in LA, where I was one of many guests with the Black-Eyed Peas. I was going to play during a rock medley, and in walks this little blonde girl from Orange County, and she sang ‘Black Dog‚’ better than any guy I’d ever heard.” 

Note the lyrics, “Baby, when you walk that way, watch your honey drip, can’t keep away.” In 1981, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page formed a group called The Honeydrippers, which scored a hit with a remake of “Sea of Love.”

Page and Plant performed an updated version of this song on their 1995 No Quarter tour. Starting in 2005, Plant added it to his setlist at solo performances. His solo renditions were more subdued vocally, but often rather intricate musically, with a range of world music elements incorporated into the song.

Led Zeppelin cover band Dread Zeppelin did a version of this mixed with Elvis’ “Hound Dog” called “You Ain’t Nuthin’ But A Black Dog.” Their lead singer is an Elvis impersonator.

In 2015, this was used in a commercial for the video game Destiny: The Taken King. Game action takes place as the song plays in the background.

Johns explained how “Black Dog” was recorded: “This one is interesting, because we trebled the guitars. On the stereo, there is one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. Each was recorded live. I wanted to try live recording, because I loved the sound that Bill Halverson had secured using this technique with Neil Young. Halverson had told me how he had done that, but I never achieved his results. One day, we were hanging around in the studio, and I told Page that I wanted to try something. For some reason, it worked. The guitars were very reliable.” 

Black Dog

Hey, hey mama said the way you move
Gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove
Ah ah child way ya shake that thing
Gon’ make you burn, gon’ make you sting
Hey, hey baby when you walk that way
Watch your honey drip, I can’t keep away

Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah

I gotta roll I can’t stand still
Got a flamin’ heart can’t get my fill
With eyes that shine, burnin’ red
Dreams of you all through my head

Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah

Hey baby, whoa my baby, my pretty baby
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Hey baby, oh my baby, my pretty baby
Move the way you’re doin’ now

Didn’t take too long ‘fore I found out
What people mean by down and out
Spent my money, took my car
Started tellin’ her friends she gon’ be a star
I don’t know but I been told
A big legged woman ain’t got no soul

Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, ah ah
Oh yeah, oh yeah ah, ah, yeah

All I ask for all I pray
Steady rollin’ woman gon’ come my way
Need a woman gonna hold my hand
Won’t tell me no lies, make me a happy man

Ah ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah ah, ah

Oh yeah
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Yeah-yeah. yeah-yeah. yeah-yeah
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Babe! babe!
Wooh, keep doin’ it babe

(Busted) hey
(Busted) hey
(Busted) hey
(Busted) hey

(Busted) hey, yeah
(Busted) hey, yeah
(Busted) hey, yeah
Oh, yeah

Oh-ah
(Well done)

Darlin’ makes ’em do it now
Darlin’ makes ’em do it now

Led Zeppelin – Heartbreaker

I talk about this a lot but this guitar riff is great and makes the song for me. I like how they ease into Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (She’s Just a Woman).

Heartbreaker was ranked number 328 in 2004 by Rolling Stone magazine, in their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was  credited to all four members of the band, “Heartbreaker” was produced by Jimmy Page and engineered by Eddie Kramer.

The solo is something different in this song. Jimmy Page does not play it with the band. He plays it by himself in a break in the song. Page didn’t find out until years later that the solo was in a different pitch than the rest of the song…but it sounded great.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, the UK, and Canada in 1969.

Eddie Van Halen: I think I got the idea of tapping watching Jimmy Page do his “Heartbreaker” solo back in 1971. He was doing a pull-off to an open string, and I thought wait a minute, open string … pull off. I can do that, but what if I use my finger as the nut and move it around? I just kind of took it and ran with it.

Jimmy Page: “The interesting thing about the solo is that it was recorded after we had already finished ‘Heartbreaker’ – it was an afterthought. That whole section was recorded in a different studio and it was sort of slotted in the middle.”

Eddie Krammer: “I met Page for the first time in Pye studios when I was working on sessions of The Kinks. Page had earned a certain reputation as a studio guitarist. I also worked with John Paul Jones on a few sessions, and we became friends. Jones was a brilliant musician. He wrote arrangements for chord orchestras and he could play many instruments extremely well. Before I left England to work with Jimi Hendrix at Record Plant studio in New York, in April 1968, Jonesy had invited me at his place to have me listen to a few demos of his new group, Led Zeppelin. I remember it sounded very heavy, and I was surprised that Jimmy Page played guitar because I didn’t know they were friends. Jonesy was very proud of John Bonham, an ex-mason from the north of England who could hit it hard on the drums, as well as of Robert Plant, their wild singer. While I wasn’t convinced by the name they had chosen, I wished them good luck. Then in ’69, I was working at Electric Lady studios when I received a call from Steve Weiss, Jimi’s right-hand man, saying that Led Zeppelin was in town. Page called later to tell he wanted I help him release what they had recorded and to make a few more tracks. Led Zeppelin had been a major success for Atlantic and they were urging Jimmy to finish the second album. Their schedule however wasn’t very arranging. So we ended up listening, doubling, recording and mixing in many different studios around New York, including Groove Sound, a nice R&B 8-track studio.

From Songfacts

This opens Side 2 of Led Zeppelin II and goes right into “Livin’ Lovin’ Maid (she’s just a woman)” on the album. Radio stations usually play them together, but “Maid” was never performed live by Led Zeppelin.

A crowd favorite, Led Zeppelin sometimes opened live shows with it.

At concerts, Jimmy Page would stretch out the guitar solo and incorporate bits of other songs, like “Greensleeves,” “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” and Bach’s “Bouree in C minor.”

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham sitting in on drums for his late father.

Led Zeppelin opened many of their live shows in 1971 and 1972 with “Immigrant Song,” followed by a segue right into this. 

Eddie Kramer, sound engineer on Led Zeppelin II, told Guitare & Claviers in 1994 how he ended up working on the album:

Heartbreaker

Hey fellas have you heard the news?
You know that Annie’s back in town?
It won’t take long just watch and see
How the fellas lay their money down

Her style is new but the face is the same
As it was so long ago
But from her eyes a different smile
Like that of one who knows

Well it’s been ten years and maybe more
Since I first set eyes on you
The best years of my life gone by
Here I am alone and blue

Some people cry and some people die
By the wicked ways of love
But I’ll just keep on rollin’ along
With the grace of the Lord above

People talkin’ all around ’bout the way you left me flat
I don’t care what the people say, I know where their jive is at
One thing I do have on my mind, if you can clarify please do
It’s the way you call me by another guy’s name when I try to make love to you, yeah

I try to make love but it ain’t no use
Give it to me, give it

Work so hard I couldn’t unwind
Get some money saved
Abuse my love a thousand times
However hard I tried

Heartbreaker, your time has come
Can’t take your evil way
Go away heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker
Heartbreaker

Led Zeppelin – All My Love

This synth driven song was a memorable one from the In Through The Out Door album. It’s not your usual love song. It’s about Robert Plant’s son Karac who died in 1977 from a stomach virus when he was 5 years old. Robert has said “It was paying tribute to the joy that he gave us as a family.

Robert Plant holding his son Karac and walking beside his daughter

Some Zeppelin fans didn’t like this album as much. I have always liked the album but I don’t consider it their best or worse. Like with Who songs…the drums here are a stand out.

John Bonham and Jimmy Page didn’t take to the song too well. They thought it was a little too soft for Zeppelin. Page said it was fine on the album but he would not have wanted to go in that direction in the future.

Robert and John Paul Jones wrote this song.

Robert Plant: “In Through The Out Door wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but at least we were trying to vary what we were doing, for our own integrity’s sake,” “Of all the (Led Zeppelin) records, it’s interesting but a bit sanitized because we hadn’t been in the clamor and chaos for a long time. In ’77, when I lost my boy, I didn’t really want to go swinging around- ‘Hey hey mama say the way you move’ didn’t really have a great deal of import anymore.”

From Songfacts

Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant and bass player John Paul Jones wrote this. The band had drifted apart, with guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham hanging out together and rarely showing up on time for recording sessions. As a result, many of the songs on In Through The Out Door were put together by Plant and Jones, with Page and Bonham adding their parts late at night.

This changes key on the last chorus.

You don’t hear much synthesizer in Led Zeppelin’s canon, but “All My Love” contains a synth solo played by John Paul Jones. In Through The Out Door was recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, which was owned by Abba. Benny Andersson of Abba had a Yamaha GX-1 synth in the studio that Jones used on the track.

This was only played live during Led Zeppelin’s 1980 tour of Germany.

Robert Plant had another son, Logan, in 1979 before In Through The Out Door was released. He has talked about how his images of Logan and Karac sometimes blur together, with his joy for Logan’s life tempered by the pain of Karac’s death. Plant’s 1993 solo track “I Believe” is also about Karac.

All My Love

Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light
To chase a feather in the wind
Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight
There moves a thread that has no end

For many hours and days that pass ever soon
The tides have caused the flame to dim
At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom
Is this to end or just begin?

All of my love, all of my love
All of my love to you, oh

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

The cup is raised, the toast is made yet again
One voice is clear above the din
Proud Arianne one word, my will to sustain
For me, the cloth once more to spin, oh

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

All of my love, all of my love, yes
All of my love to you

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
He is a feather in the wind, oh

All of my love, all of my love, oh
All of my love to you

All of my love, ooh yes, all of my love to you now
All of my love, all of my love
All of my love, love, sometimes, sometimes

Sometimes, sometimes, oh love
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Ooh yeah, it’s all my love

All of my love, all of my love, to you now

All of my love, all of my love
all of my love to, to you, you, you, yeah
I get a little bit lonely

Rolling Stones – Scarlet

Another new old song from the upcoming reissue of Goats Head Soup. This one features Jimmy Page and was probably named after his daughter. It has a very cool groove to it.

The Stones’ Keith Richards has his own recollections on how “Scarlet” took shape and how “we walked in at the end of a Zeppelin session. They were just leaving, and we were booked in next and I believe that Jimmy decided to stay.”

“Scarlet” was a freak accident. “We weren’t actually cutting it as a track,” enthuses Richards in a statement, “it was basically for a demo, a demonstration, you know, just to get the feel of it, but it came out well, with a line up like that, you know, we better use it.‘’

https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/9422217/rolling-stones-drop-long-lost-track-scarlet-featuring-jimmy-page-stream-it-now

Keep digging in those vaults guys.

Scarlet

Baby you excite me
But you talk too much
Won’t stand on a corner
Love you more, oh yeah

Scarlet, why you wearing my heart, on your sleeve
Where it ain’t supposed to be

Scarlet, why you tearing my heart, all to pieces
It ain’t the way it’s supposed to be

Scarlet, why are you keeping my heart, to yourself
It ain’t the way it’s supposed to be

Scarlet, Scarlet
Ooh yeah!

You don’t have to change your mind
And leave this neighbourhood so far behind
Honey you don’t have to cry no more
When I come a knocking, right at your front door

Scarlet, Scarlet, Scarlet

Scarlet, why you wearing my heart, on your sleeve
Where it ain’t supposed to be
Scarlet, Scarlet, oh

Scarlet, Scarlet, Scarlet
Why you wearing my heart

Scarlet, why you wearing my heart
Scarlet, why you wearing my heart
Scarlet, why you wearing my heart
Scarlet

Led Zeppelin – Ramble On

What I like about Zeppelin is change. Every album took a step in another direction. It wasn’t just the bombardment of hard guitars like the first album. They stepped into folk, reggae, rockabilly, soul, blues, country, and rock and roll. The fans and critics complained at times especially over Led Zeppelin III.

I’ve always liked this song. John Paul Jones’s bass stands out in this song. His bass in some Zeppelin songs is back in the mix a bit. The lyrics were inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien and similar themes appeared on subsequent Led Zeppelin albums. In this song they did what they did best…light and dark…soft and hard. The dynamics they worked on would later culminate into Stairway to Heaven.

This song was on Led Zeppelin II that they recorded all over in different studios on their first tour. They recorded this song in New York.

The album Led Zeppelin II peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #1 in the UK.

From Songfacts

Some of Robert Plant’s lyrics in this song were inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of The Rings. The references are to the adventures of the Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, as he goes to “the darkest depths of Mordor” and encounters “Gollum and the evil one.” Plant later admitted in an audio documentary that he was embarrassed by the Tolkien references, as they don’t make all that much sense – a fair maiden wouldn’t be found in Mordor, and Gollum would want nothing to do with her anyway, since his only concern is the precious ring.

This is one of Led Zeppelin’s most enduring songs, but they never performed it live from start to finish while the band was active. It was in their set when Zeppelin reunited for a one-off concert at the O2 Arena in London on December 10, 2007. John Bonham’s son Jason filled in on drums at that show.

What John Bonham played as percussion to supplement his drums on this song is not clear. It sounds like bongos, but has been reported to be a plastic garbage pail or a guitar case.

The concept of the troubadour “rambling on” – going from place to place and constantly moving forward – is one Robert Plant embraced. In his post-Zeppelin career, he went from one project to the next, refusing to fall back on nostalgia. It was Plant who kiboshed the proposed Led Zep reunion tour in 2007.

The group Train covered this on their 2001 Midnight Moon album. Their lead singer, Pat Monahan, was once in a band that did entire sets of Zeppelin songs. Producer Brendan O’Brien heard Train’s version and agreed to produce their second album.

This was sampled by the Insane Clown Posse for the song “50 Bucks” on their rare album Psychopathics From Outer Space and was also the single that accompanied The Pendulum #7, a 12-comic series of the group done by Chaos! Comics.

Along with “Going To California,” this is one of two Led Zeppelin songs used in the 2019 indie film The Friend. The band agreed to license the songs at a much lower rate than usual after hearing pleas from the filmmakers. The movie tells the true story of Nicole Teague, a woman with terminal cancer. The songs were part of her story and played an important role in the narrative.

Ramble On

Leaves are falling all around
It’s time I was on my way
Thanks to you I’m much obliged
For such a pleasant stay
But now it’s time for me to go
The autumn moon lights my way
For now I smell the rain
And with it pain
And it’s headed my way

Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do

Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams

Got no time for spreadin’ roots
The time has come to be gone
And thoough our health we drank a thousand times
It’s time to ramble on

Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m going ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
I gotta ramble on
I gotta find the queen of all my dreams

I ain’t tellin’ no lie
Mine’s a tale that can’t be told
My freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old
When magic filled the air
‘T was in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum, and the evil one
Crept up and slipped away with her
Her, her, yeah
Ain’t nothing I can do, no

I guess I keep on rambling
I’m gonna, yeah, yeah, yeah
Sing my song (I gotta find my baby)
I gotta ramble on, sing my song
Gotta work my way around the world baby, baby
Ramble on, yeah
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, my baby
Doo, doo, doo, doo
Doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo

I gotta keep searching for my baby
(Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby)
I gotta keep-a-searchin’ for my baby
(My, my, my, my, my, my, my baby)
Yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
I can’t find my bluebird
I listen to my bluebird sing
I can’t find my bluebird
I keep rambling, baby
I keep rambling, baby

 

Led Zeppelin – In The Evening

This is my favorite song on In Through The Out Door. The beginning sounds like the end of the world is coming. There is a build-up of sound and then Jimmy blasts the main riff of this song.

The intro was apparently taken from a soundtrack Jimmy Page was working on for fellow Aleister Crowley admirer Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising.

The song was not released as a single as usual for Led Zeppelin but the album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1979. This album and The Wall by Pink Floyd were said to help save a Record industry that was slumping at the time.

Jimmy Page used a drone effect on his guitar similar to create a sound similar to what he did on the song “In The Light,” but instead of using a cello bow on his guitar, he used a Gizmotron to create the effect. The Gizmotron is a guitar processing device invented by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley from the band 10cc to get a strange distorted sound.

After reading about the Gizmotron…I want one!

Gizmotron

Gizmotron | Vintage Guitar® magazine

A rare, restored, and  working Gizmotron.

 

From Songfacts

Robert Plant’s lyrics are about how the rich and famous are still exposed to pain and suffering, just in different ways.

When they were recording this album, Jimmy Page and John Bonham were spending a lot of time together and would usually show up at the studio very late and work through the night. This started out with just drums and keyboards created by John Paul Jones, who had a new drum machine to work with.

Robert Plant called this song, “A great one, a real stomper.”

In The Evening

In the evening
When the day is done
I’m looking for a woman
But the girl don’t come
So don’t let her
Play you for a fool
She don’t show no pity, baby
She don’t make no rules

Oh, I need your love
I need your love
Oh, I need your love
I just got to have

So don’t you let her
Oh, get under your skin
It’s only bad luck and trouble
From the day that you begin
I hear you crying in the darkness,
Don’t ask nobody’s help
Ain’t no pockets full of mercy, baby
‘Cause you can only blame yourself

Oh, I need your love
Oh, oh, I need your love
Yeah, I need your love
I just got to have

Oh, it’s simple
All the pain that you go through
You can turn away from fortune, fortune, fortune
‘Cause that’s all that’s left to you
Oh, it’s lonely at the bottom
Man, it’s dizzy at the top
But if you’re standing in the middle
Ain’t no way you’re gonna stop, oh

Oh, I need your love
Oh, oh, I need your love
Oh, oh, I need your love
I just got to have

Ooh, whatever that your days may bring
No use hiding in a corner
‘Cause that won’t change a thing
If you’re dancing in the doldrums
One day soon, it’s got to stop, it’s got to stop
When you’re the master of the off-chance
When you don’t expect a lot

Oh, I need your love
Oh, oh, I need your love
Oh yeah, I need your love
I just got to have, I just got to have

Led Zeppelin – Fool In The Rain

One of the first songs I noticed by Zeppelin when they were still a functioning band. As always in Zeppelin songs, Bonham really shines and he drives the song. BTW the B side to this song was Hot Dog. A fun rockabilly song with a hoe down guitar riff…that is the only way I know how to describe it.

Dave posted the Genesis’s song Misunderstanding the other day and I commented that I thought these two songs are sort of similar. The subject is very close (a guy waiting for the girl and both in the rain) and they do sound related…not exact copies at all but similar. Led Zeppelin’s song was recorded before and released before the Genesis song….I’m definitely not saying anything idea was ripped off… just a happy coincidence…anyway sorry about the detour.

This was on their last studio album (not counting Coda) In Through The Out Door. Fool In The Rain peaked at #21 in the Billboard 100, #12 in Canada, and #44 in New Zealand Top 50 Singles Chart in 1980.

This was the last Led Zeppelin song to chart in the US. The group didn’t release many singles, but they pegged this one for popular appeal. Zeppelin retired with six Top 40 hits in America.

From Songfacts

This song is about a guy who is supposed to meet a woman on a certain corner. When the woman doesn’t show up, he thinks he’s been stood up. It turns out he was just standing on the WRONG corner and is now a “fool in the rain.” 

This song was never performed live because the group didn’t think the sound came off well. The piano was quite necessary in the song, but with John Paul Jones on piano there could be no bass, and the bass is very important in this one. There is also a twelve-string line at one point in the song and the guitar solo that has to be pulled off. The middle section was another issue.

Jimmy Page used regular distortion on this song, as well as an obscure effect called a called a blue box, which is a fuzz/octave pedal. This fuzzes (or distorts) the guitar, then drops it down two whole octaves. James Taylor’s bassist has used this effect. 

Mexican rockers Mana recorded this for the Spanish language market edition of the tribute album Encomium

 

Here are the two songs.

Fool In The Rain

Oh, baby
Well there’s a light in your eye that keeps shining
Like a star that can’t wait for night
I hate to think I been blinded baby
Why can’t I see you tonight?
And the warmth of your smile starts a burning
And the thrill of your touch give me fright
And I’m shaking so much, really yearning
Why don’t you show up and make it alright, yeah?
It’s alright right

And if you promised you’d love so completely
And you said you would always be true
You swore that you never would leave me baby
Whatever happened to you?
And you thought it was only in movies
As you wish all your dreams would come true, hey
It ain’t the first time believe me baby
I’m standing here feeling blue, blue ha!
Yes I’m blue
Oh, babe

Now I will stand in the rain on the corner
I watch the people go shuffling downtown
Another ten minutes no longer
And then I’m turning around, ’round
And the clock on the wall’s moving slower
Oh, my heart it sinks to the ground
And the storm that I thought would blow over
Clouds the light of the love that I found, found

Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I found
Oh, that I found

Hey, babe, ooh

Hand that ticks on the clock
Just don’t seem to stop
When I’m thinking it over
Oh, tired of the light
I just don’t seem to find
Have you wait, yeah played
Whoa, I see it in my dreams
But I just don’t seem to be with you, you
I gotta get it all, gotta get it all, gotta get it all
I’ve got to get all

Ooh now my body is starting to quiver
And the palms of my hands getting wet, oh
I got no reason to doubt you baby
It’s all a terrible mess
And I’ll run in the rain till I’m breathless
When I’m breathless I’ll run ’til I drop, hey!
And the thoughts of a fool’s kind of careless
I’m just a fool waiting on the wrong block, oh yeah

Hey, now, oh, oh, oh
Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I
Light of the love that I found
Light of the hey, now light of the hey, now
Light of the love that I found
Light of the love that I found

Led Zeppelin – Kashmir

This is one of my favorite songs from Led Zeppelin. I think it’s one of their best if not their best. It was on the Physical Graffiti Album released in 1975. The song did not chart but is hugely popular on the radio.

The song is hypnotic to listen to. The drums are the key to this song… Jimmy Page has said this about John Bonham on Kashmir… It was what he didn’t do that made it work.

Jimmy also said this was the best Led Zeppelin guitar riff.

Kashmir, also known as Cashmere, is a lush mountain region North of Pakistan. India and Pakistan have disputed control of the area for years. The fabric Cashmere is made from the hair of goats from the region. The area is also famous for growing poppies, from which heroin is made.

The songwriters were John Bonham, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant.

Robert Plant – Plant explained: “‘Kashmir’ came from a trip Jimmy and me made down the Moroccan Atlantic coast, from Agadir down to Sidi Ifni. We were just the same as the other hippies really.”

From Songfacts

All band members agreed this was one of their best musical achievements. Robert Plant said it was “One of my favorites… it was so positive, lyrically.” 

Plant wrote the lyrics in 1973 while driving through the Sahara Desert on the way to the National Festival of folklore in Morocco. Kashmir is in Southern Asia; he was nowhere near it. In Mojo magazine, September 2010, 

The original title was “Driving To Kashmir.”

This runs 8:31. Radio stations had no problem playing it, especially after “Stairway To Heaven,” which was almost as long, did so well.

The signature guitar riff began as a tuning cycle Jimmy Page had been using for years.

This is one of the few Zeppelin songs to use outside musicians. Session players were brought in for the string and horn sections. Jimmy Page said (Rolling Stone, 2012): “I knew that this wasn’t just something guitar-based. All of the guitar parts would be on there. But the orchestra needed to sit there, reflecting those other parts, doing what the guitars were but with the colors of a symphony.”

Speaking with Dan Rather in 2018, Robert Plant said: “It was a great achievement to take such a monstrously dramatic musical piece and find a lyric that was ambiguous enough, and a delivery that was not over-pumped. It was almost the antithesis of the music, this lyric and this vocal delivery that was just about enough to get in there.”

Led Zeppelin played this in every live show from it’s debut in 1975 to their last concert in 1980.

Page and Plant recorded this with an orchestra and Moroccan musicians for their 1994 Unledded album.

Puff Daddy (he wasn’t Diddy yet) sampled this in 1998 for a song called “Come With Me.” He performed it on Saturday Night Live with Page on guitar.

The remaining members of Led Zeppelin performed this at the Atlantic Records 40th-anniversary party in 1988 with Jason Bonham on drums. It was a mess – the keyboards got lost in the feed and Plant was bumped by a fan and forgot some of the words. They had more success when they performed the song on December 10, 2007, at a benefit show to raise money for the Ahmet Ertegun education fund.

In the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Mike Damone tells Mark Ratner, “When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin 4. In the next scene, he is on the date with this song playing in the car. Cameron Crowe, who wrote the screenplay, couldn’t get the rights to any of the songs on Led Zeppelin 4, so he used “Kashmir” instead. Crowe used Zeppelin’s “That’s The Way” on his 2001 movie Almost Famous.

Plant said in an audio documentary that he loved this song not only because of its intensity but also because it was so intense without being considered “heavy metal,” a label none of the band liked. 

Jimmy Page: “The intensity of ‘Kashmir’ was such that when we had it completed, we knew there was something really hypnotic to it, we couldn’t even describe such a quality. At the beginning, there was only Bonzo [drummer John Bonham] and me in Headley Grange. He played the rhythm on drums, and I found the riff as well as the overdubs which were thereafter duplicated by an orchestra, to bring more life to the track. It sounded so frightening at first…”

Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant said: “I remember Bonzo having me listen to the demo of ‘Kashmir’ with only him and Jimmy. It was fantastic. What’s funny is that after a first recording of the song, we found it sounded a bit like a dirge. We were in Paris, we had Atlantic listen to it, and we all thought it really sounded like a dirge. So Richard (Cole) was sent to Southall in London to find a Pakistanese orchestra. Jonesy put it all together and the final result was exactly what was needed. He was an exceptional arranger.” 

“Kashmir” makes the “songs performed at the Super Bowl” list because a few seconds of it played during Shakira’s set when she performed at halftime in the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in 2020.

 

Kashmir

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars to fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed

Talk in song from tongues of lilting grace
Sounds caress my ear
And not a word I heard could I relate
The story was quite clear

Oh, oh
Oh, oh

Oh, oh baby, I been flying
No yeah, mama, there ain’t no denying
Oh, oh yeah I’ve been flying
Mama, mama, ain’t no denying, no denying

All I see turns to brown
As the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand
As I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find, where I’ve been

Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace
Like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place
Yellow desert stream
Like Shangri-la beneath the summer moon
I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June
When moving through Kashmir

Oh, father of the four winds fill my sails
Across the sea of years
With no provision but an open face
Along the straits of fear

Oh, oh
Oh, oh

Oh, when I’m on, when I’m on my way, yeah
When I see, when I see the way, you stay yeah

Oh, yeah-yeah, oh, yeah-yeah, when I’m down
Oh, yeah-yeah, oh, yeah-yeah, but I’m down, so down
Oh, my baby, oh, my baby, let me take you there
Come on, come on, oh, let me take you there, let me take you there

My Favorite Guitarists

Here are some of my favorite guitarists. Being fast is not something I care about… I’ve always liked guitarists who play with feel more than finger tapping.

 

Roger McGuinn, Byrds – He will not rip off lightning licks but he plays the Rickenbacker 12 string like no one else. I like the tone and his understated style.

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Neil Young – This may seem like an odd choice but when Neil plays the electric guitar…anything that can happen will. He plays by feel and feedback and God bless him for that.

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Brian May, Queen– You can hum his solos. One of the most melodic lead guitar players I’ve ever heard.

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Pete Townsend, Who – The king of the power chord. Pete does not have blinding speed but every note he plays is for a purpose.

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Keith Richards, Stones – The Human Riff… When Keith found G tuning the Stones sound changed forever and it may have been the key to their longevity.

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George Harrison, Beatles – After the Beatles, he reinvented himself into a great slide guitar player. Guitar players are still trying to find that tone. He had a great touch and taste in whatever he played.

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Buddy Guy – For electric blues and the tone he gets Buddy Guy is the man. Below is a picture of Buddy at the Festival Express playing a great version of Money.

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Jimi Hendrix – Like Keith Moon…many musicians have tried to copy him but none have. It is controlled chaos but I like it.

Image result for jimi hendrix 1970

Chuck Berry – Rock and roll owes a lot to him…he has been copied more than anyone.

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Scotty Moore, Elvis – The guitar player backing Elvis on his great 50s hits. Keith Richards said of Moore… Everyone else wanted to be Elvis, I wanted to be Scotty.

Image result for scotty moore 1955

Also

Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Peter Green, Lindsey Buckingham, BB King, Joe Walsh, Jimmy Page

 

 

 

 

 

Led Zeppelin’s Ascent and Descent

Led Zeppelin ruled the hard rock landscape of the 1970s. Critics didn’t like them and they didn’t like the press. They sold tons of records and their concerts were instant sellouts. They spawned a lot of bad imitators in their wake. By 1975 things started to go wrong for the band and soon by the start of the new decade they were done.

Led Zeppelin formed in 1968 while Jimmy Page was still with the Yardbirds but with only bass player Chris Dreja and he still left in the group. To fill other gig obligations Page formed the New Yardbirds with Robert Plant and his recommendation for drummer John Bonham. Chris Dreja dropped out so studio bassist John Paul Jones filled the bass position.

After a change of name, they were off and running. They made their first self-titled album and signed a huge deal with Atlantic Records. The album had bad reviews but sold very well. The band made their reputation off of live performances.

Their manager at this point was Peter Grant and with him made their mark on the industry. Peter made sure his band made money and no one would stand in the way. He told promoters the band was to get 90 percent of the gate…which was unheard of at the time. The promoters gave in because they would rather have ten percent of that than 100 percent of nothing.

The musicians were great. Robert Plant could sing and wail like no other. John Bonham was a groove extraordinaire who had his own style. John Paul Jones was a great underrated bass and keyboard player. Jimmy Page was one of the best studio guitarists there was at the time. Similar to The Who…it was like a Rock All-Star lineup.

Zeppelin’s first three albums were building up to the fourth. You can see it build with the first and second album’s electric hard edge to the third where the acoustic is introduced more and a more folk side is shown. It all peaked with the classic 1971 Led Zeppelin IV with the perfect combination of the two.

Songs that came off that album are classics like Stairway to Heaven, Black Dog, Four Sticks, Rock and Roll, Going to California, When the Levee Breaks, The Battle of Evermore, and my favorite Misty Mountain Hop. This album and the Who’s Who’s Next came out within months of each other and both of these albums are the foundation of classic rock radio.

More great albums were to follow like Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti though none would match the fourth album. After Physical Graffiti things started to go south for Zeppelin.

Their reputation kept growing and it was not all about their music. Wild stories about groupies, Peter Grant stopping at nothing if he perceived an injustice toward his band and there was the Jimmy Page strong occult interest that followed the band like a dark cloud. John Bonham was described as a nice family man until he started to drink. When drunk he would turn into “The Beast” (as bandmates called him) and could terrorize anyone near the band. They did a series of concerts in 1975 at Earl’s Court and after that The Zeppelin started to descend.

In 1975 Robert Plant and his wife were in a serious car wreck and it would take Plant a few months to recuperate and soon the band would record the album Presence with Plant still not able to walk without assistance. The band would not tour in 1976 because of Plants injuries but started an American tour beginning in April 1977.

When Zeppelin started in 1968 critics didn’t like them and Zeppelin didn’t trust the press. Critics thought their first two albums were the work of blues-ripoff artists. Led Zeppelin never forgot that. This was one set of rules in 1977 shared with the press covering the band.

1. Never talk to anyone in the band unless they first talk to you.
1a. Do not make any sort of eye contact with John Bonham. This is for your own safety.
2. Do not talk to Peter Grant or [Tour Manager] Richard Cole — for any reason.
3. Keep your cassette player turned off at all times unless conducting an interview.
4. Never ask questions about anything other than music.
5. Most importantly, understand this — the band will read what is written about them.

The tour was beset with problems with rowdy crowds, Pages increasing heroin intake, and Bonham’s drinking. Peter Grant had hired a British gangster named John Bindon to handle security. Zeppelin’s security crew and John Bonham attacked one of promoter’s Bill Graham’s staff after Grants 11-year-old son was pushed down… After that incident in Oakland, they flew to New Orleans for the next show and Plant received a phone call from back home informing him that his five-year-old son Karac died from a stomach infection. The entire tour was immediately canceled as Plant flew home to be with his family. The last Oakland concert was the last time they played in America.

In 1979 they would get back together and release “In Through the Out Door“, a softer more synthesizer-based album. Plant and Jones did the majority of the writing on the album. Zeppelin did two great shows at Knebworth in 1979 and a short European tour in 1980. While rehearsing for the American tour John Bonham died of asphyxiation in his sleep after a night of heavy drinking in Page’s home on September 25, 1980. Unlike the Who, who continued on without their one of a kind drummer, Led Zeppelin was no more.

The band regrouped three times for one-off concerts. Once in 1985 for Live Aid with two drummers (Phil Collins and Tony Thompson )and in 1988 for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary with Jason Bonham on drums. Neither of those turned out too well.
They did regroup in 2007 for a  concert with Jason Bonham drumming. This time they sounded comparable to their younger days and their fans clamored for a reunion and tour…Plant all but ruled that out.

I like most of their albums and consider them one of the biggest rock bands ever…They have made some of the best albums in Rock history. I just never got into them like The Who, Beatles, Stones, Cream, and Kinks. The more I learn about them the more distant they get. Their mystique and image became larger than their music at times.

I’m going to attempt to rank 10 of Led Zeppelin’s albums coming up this week.

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