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Album: Led ZeppelinReleased: 1969
This is based on some old blues songs that influenced the band. Some of the lyrics are from blues singer Albert King's song "The Hunter," and much of the song was derived from Howlin' Wolf's "How Many More Years
." Some other Led Zeppelin reworkings of blues songs include "You Shook Me
" and "The Lemon Song
The writing credit on this song went to Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham - everyone in the band except Robert Plant, who didn't get a writing credit for any songs on the Led Zeppelin
album, although he did help put this one together. The arrangement of old blues songs was something he'd done with his former band, Hobbstweedle.
This was the last song on the first Led Zeppelin album. It was listed as 3:30 on the album, but the correct length is 8:28. The reason that the song was listed as only being a little over 3 minutes was to promote radio play. Jimmy Page knew that radio would never play a song over 8 minutes long, so he wrote the track time as shorter on the album to trick radio stations into playing it.
Led Zeppelin used this to close many of their early concerts. During the instrumental section, Plant would often thank the audience and showcase the other band members.
Robert Plant contributed the line, "I got another child on the way, that makes eleven." It referred to his unborn child, Carmen, who was born a month or two after Zeppelin recorded this album.
This is one of three songs where Jimmy Page played his guitar with a violin bow. The others are "Dazed And Confused
" and "In The Light." Jimmy's bowing can be heard in the section after his double-tracked guitar solo ("I was a young man, I couldn't resist...").
Talking about this song in the BBC book The Guitar Greats, Jimmy Page said: "We had numbers from the Yardbirds that we called free form, like 'Smokestack Lightnin',' where I'd come up with my own riffs and things, and obviously I wasn't going to throw all that away, as they hadn't been recorded, so I remodelled those riffs and used them again, so the bowing on 'How Many More Times' and 'Good Times, Bad Times' was an extension of what I'd been working on with the Yardbirds, although I'd never had that much chance to go to town with it, and to see how far one could stretch the bowing technique on record, and obviously for anyone who saw the band, it became quite a little showpiece in itself."
At the end of the song, the sound pans between the left and right channels.