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Album: Led Zeppelin IIIReleased: 1970
A seven-and-a-half minute Blues number with some electric piano played by Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones, this was a live favorite for the band. They started working on the song during the sessions for Led Zeppelin II
, but was bumped for "Whole Lotta Love
." By the time they recorded it for Led Zeppelin III
, they had worked out the song in live performances, but according to Jimmy Page, it was still the hardest track to record for the album. The guitarist says they were getting very self-critical around this time.
Before this song was committed to tape, Led Zeppelin performed it at their famous January 9, 1970 concert at Royal Albert Hall in London. The show was filmed and recorded, but the keyboards didn't make it into the mix on this track, so the song was not included on the 2003 DVD Led Zeppelin, which featured footage from the show.
This is a very difficult song to sing, and it showed off Robert Plant's vocal range quite well. He said in a 2003 interview with Mojo: "The musical progression at the end of each verse - the chord choice - is not a natural place to go. And it's that lift up there that's so regal and so emotional. I don't know whether that was born from the loins of JP or JPJ, but I know that when we reached that point in the song you could get a lump in the throat from being in the middle of it."
This was recorded live in the studio with very little overdubbing. If you listen carefully, you can hear the squeak of John Bonham's drum pedal.
Jimmy Page did his guitar solo in one take. Engineer Terry Manning called it "The best rock guitar solo of all time."
Plant used a sample from this on his solo track "White, Clean, and Neat."
Just before their Physical Grafitti
tour, Jimmy Page broke the tip of his left ring finger in a door-slamming incident. They went on with the tour but they had to drop this and "Dazed And Confused
" from the set lists as he couldn't play them until his finger healed.
The riff in the beginning is taken from "New York City Blues" by The Yardbirds - Jimmy Page was not a member of that band yet when the group wrote that song.
The track was recorded live (except for the vocals part and a few overdubs) at Island Studios in London. This features John Paul Jones on both bass pedal and organ. Interestingly, Jimmy Page's famous solo was recorded in a studio in Memphis, whereas the whole album was recorded in Headley Grange and in Island Studios.