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Tangerine by Led Zeppelin

Album: Led Zeppelin IIIReleased: 1970
  • Robert Plant would sometimes introduce this at concerts by saying: "This song is for our families and friends and people we've been close to. It's a song of love at its most innocent stages."
  • Jimmy Page wrote this and first recorded it when he was with still with The Yardbirds. This was the last Zeppelin song Page wrote without any input from Robert Plant. It's also the only track on Led Zeppelin III for which Plant didn't write the lyrics.
  • Jimmy Page played a pedal steel guitar on this track. He told Guitar Player magazine in 1977: "On the first LP there's a pedal steel. I had never played steel before, but I just picked it up. There's a lot of things I do first time around that I haven't done before. In fact, I hadn't touched a pedal steel from the first album to the third. It's a bit of a pinch really from the things that Chuck Berry did. Nevertheless, it fits. I use pedal steel in 'Your Time Is Gonna Come.' It sounds like a slide or something. It's more out of tune on the first album because I hadn't got a kit to put it together."
  • Why does this song fade to silence a few seconds in? Jimmy Page explained when previewing the song for Melody Maker in 1970: "That's commonly known as a false start. It was a tempo guide, and it seemed like a good idea to leave it in – at the time. I was trying to keep the tempo down a bit. I'm not so sure now it was a good idea. Everybody asks what the hell is going on."
  • Led Zeppelin played this during acoustic sets on their early tours.
  • This was used at the end of the 2000 movie Almost Famous in a scene where a bus drives away.
  • This was the second Zeppelin song named after a fruit. "The Lemon Song" was the first.
  • According to Jimmy Page, this song was dedicated to Jackie DeShannon, who was his girlfriend when he wrote the song. DeShannon, a member of the Songwriting Hall of Fame, had hits as a singer with "What the World Needs Now Is Love" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart."
  • This was recorded on April 4, 1968 at one of the last studio sessions for The Yardbirds, under the title "Knowing That I'm Losing You." This first version performed by The Yardbirds, featured music almost identical to "Tangerine" by Led Zeppelin, but with different lyrics (vocals by Keith Relf), and was never officially released. It was supposed to be included on the Cumular Limit compilation (which was released in 2000), together with other materials from the same sessions, but interestingly enough, Page vetoed the release of the song. Since then, the version from The Yardbirds has leaked onto the internet, and Page has been accused of ripping off a Yardbirds composition, simply changing the majority of the lyrics (probably initially written by Keith Relf) in order to avoid any problem with the other members of his previous group. This would explain his veto against the release of the original song. It is not easy to ascertain the above, as the remaining members of The Yardbirds haven't spoken about the subject so far. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
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Comments: 74

Big Head Todd and the Monsters does an awesome cover of "Tangerine" on their album "Live Monsters". I heard this version before the Led Zeppelin version and fell in love with the song.Krista - Chicago, Il
It was played by The Yardbirds in 1967 and 1968, though it was not recorded on any Studio Album.

In April 1968, when The Yardbords were in New York, they recorded it (April 1968), but with different lyrics by
Keith Relf, and with a different title.

The song has a Folk-Rock flair, which was the way Keith Relf wanted to go musically. The song could be a compilation of both
Jimmy Page and Keith Relf.
Paul - Southern Pines, Nc
A beautiful song,

Originally performed by 'The Yardbirds' with Jimmy Page.

May have been written in mid-late 1967, and was always associated with Jimmy Page and his relationship with English Singer - Jackie De Shannon.

This song was played during the 1967 and early 1968 Tour with 'The Yardbirds.
Paul - Southern Pines, Nc
Great song from the greatest bands of all time.Ernest - Corpus Christi, Tx
This song and The Rain song still make me tear up after all these years. Thank YOU Led Zeppelin for reminding me that I am still a human and that music can still affect me. How lucky are we to be alive with this music!Joie - Strafford, Vt
i think alot of my favorite songs by led zeppelin are very short, i just wish they were longer, but still, its amazing.Sara - Kenosha, United Kingdom
Love this song! Did not come across it untill 10 yrs. And it just became my fave. Now it's my daughter's middle name. Everyone thought i was crazy and no one knew where it came from but i knew and it is unique and special to me!Michelle - Miami, Fl
This was the last song Pagey wrote alone, it was suppose to have been a left over from Jimmy's Yardbird's days and ,his reminisce of a love from his session days with a girl by the name of Jackie De Shannon (who he played on a session of hers 1966' I think).Or at least that what I've read.Beautiful song none the less. No better band than Zeppelin.........ever.Lisa - Blountville , Tn
I was at a friends house last spring and he started playin this song. wow... i had forgotten about it. hadn't heard it since high school back in the 80's... i absolutely love this song. thank you gary.. u gave something back to me when u played this.. beautiful song. one of my favorites of all time.....Laura - Stone Mtn, Ga
I have to play this song over and over and over! It is a great addition to Almost Famous at the end and really has a kind of feeling of resolution in the movie. That makes sense about the Penny Lane character, or whatever her name was, and this is a beautiful song to end a beautiful movie and so much more! Thank you Led Zeppelin!Kelly - Durango, Co
Tangerine is the greatest and most evocative song about lost love. I was her love, she was my queen, and now a thousand years between.

Does she still remember times like these?
Daniel - Montreal, Qc
I love lisening to this on my mp3 ...you can hear Page counting off in the begninning 1 2 ...1234.Beautiful song.Took alot of courge to cut this album afterZeppelin II. Not to mention it take ALOT of talent for the band to change up so much not just on LP's but in the shows.They were just so diverse in the muscial abblities.95% music now is trash garbage or just plain vulgar.I don't know about y'all but I think I've heard the word "bitch" enough in these so called songs to much me sick of that type of crap they play,Zeppiln was waaayyy ahead of their time.The music stands the test of time.

How many artist today will still be adored by old and winning over new fans and ,the music still played on radio stations and T-shirts by 16 yr old kids who belived they just discovered the greatest band thenselves 35 to 40 years later. TAKE THAT BRITTNEY SPEARS.
Lisa - Blountville , Tn
Long one of their best songs about mourning, be it for a lost love or for the death of a loved one.
Plant's vocals are some of his finest on this.
Oldpink - New Castle, In
This is my favorite Led Zeppelin song, and my favorite word is Tangerine. I guess it all makes sense. This song has such a beautiful feel and flow to it, kind of reminds me of a warm summer sunset with oranges and reds. Its been my favorite Zep song since the first time I heard it!Heather - Madrid, Spain
This is one of the few songs that, once i learn how to play it on guitar, i still enjoy listening to it, and i can't say that about many, including Stairway to Heaven, unfortunatly, Led Zeppelin's songs are all great, cant say ive found one i dont like.Dylan - Worcestor, Ma
UNderated?????????????????????????????????Derek - Mulvane, Ks
This song is amazing... If only i had a girl to dedicate it to................. :-(John - Somewhere In, Ma
this is the best song iv heard....
i was showed this song by a bestfriend. he had feelings for me that i didnt know... its a very beautiful song!
Indiana - Queensland, Australia
This was played live from 1971-1972 and again in 1975.Peter Griffin - Quahog, Ri
Personally I don't think it's about a love affair, more like a girl from the past that he still remembers. "And now a thousand years between/ Thinking how it used to be/
Does she still remember times like these?" anyway, this is such a beautiful song. I can listen to it over and over
Melanie - Seattle, Wa
I love the false start in this song...and to comment on the length: it's perfect because, at the end of the song, it just makes you want more.Ian - Mt. Pleasant, Mi
haha why does it matter that it's the second song to be named after a fruit by led zeppelin?Ben - Cincinnati, Oh
God I love them this song always makes me cry, rock-n-RollPetra - Fwb, Fl
Tangerine and The Rain Song are so masterful it's crazy. The songs really move you. As for the comment about Stairway to Heaven being the only song that can keep you entertained for over 8 minutes, i have to say, Achilles last stand, also by the mighty led-zeppelin is over 11 minutes long and is also very entertaining and captivating.Brian - Brantford, Canada
When I first heard this song, I couldn't stop playing it- it's addicting. That said, I don't know why people would want to play this for their girlfriends. It's talking about a girl who isn't his anymore... unless you're trying to foreshadow a break-up. ("The hours they bring me pain...")Stephani - Iowa City, Ia
The lyrics- so simple yet so deep. definitly under-rated.

Too bad people have to feel this way though
Dan - Detroit, Mi
plants voice in this song is just so mellow sometimes it makes me want to cry even when i have no relation to itScott - Ephrata, Pa
I think Page used a Fuzzbox for the guitar solo sound.Vickeybird - Pune
on the solo is Page using Distortion?Tom - Westfield, Nj
well i am not from usa but i speak english. i love Led Zeppeling `cause them songs makes me fell something diferent. them music is amazing.Estefi - Bsas, Argentina
i love this song. My current boyfriend opened me up to this amazing world of music. Led zeppelin being one of his favorite bands. I decided to look up songs on my own. i randomly picked this one because of the funny title...a fruit. I love it! i dont even think he's really heard this song much. I guess it really is underated.Juanita - Miami, Fl
This is an amazing song. So touching, and beautiful. Led Zep just really amazes me. Their music is so... incredible. I'm so amazed that I have a lack of better words to even describe how I feel about this song and other Led Zeppelin song.Mandy - Calgary
what effect does page use on the solo?Ben - Cincinnati, Oh
page also tuned his guitar 1/4 step down instead of a half step, tuning down a half step and playing along with the song will sound almost right but if you sharpen each string a little it sounds perfectChris - Milford, Ct
This is an awesome song, but don't diss DMB. They're one of the only modern bands that carry on the tradition of soulful rock that made the '60s and '70s the pinnacle of musical achievement.Nathan - Vancouver, Canada
This is my favorite song... I just love it. One day, my friend asked me what LZ used to make the sounds, so I came on here to find out what it was. A twleve string guitar. Rock gods. Rock on + be excellent to each other.Sifuhb - Somewhere, Canada
I love this song. It's just so underated, i cant believe it.Mike - Saint John
page used a 12 string guitar for this song just incase anyone didnt know.Chris - Milford, Ct
well....just another great song by led zep....
Vikram,New Delhi,India
Vik - Delhi, India
Tangerine is a mind blowing song with amazing lyrics. One thing i dont get is why the first 10-11 seconds of the song is different... what with the mandolin n stuff... hmmm another case of "black dog"???Vivek - Bangalore, India
Just listened to this song for the first time, and I listened to it like 20 times straight after that. Lyrics like that really get to you. Make you think, and a lot of times you can relate to what they are saying, like "Thinking how it used to be. Does she still remember times like these? To think of us again, and I do"
When you are sad and thinkin about how you have messed up before, this song really is erfect to listen to.
Evan - , Tx
I love to listen to this song when i'm down about a girl, this is my 2nd favorite song behind of course Stairway to Heaven.Shawn - Buffalo, Ny
Yes. Definately a great song. My second favorite by Zeppelin, with Stairway to Heaven being the first. I do think it is kind of short, but I dont think it would be as good a song if it was 8 minutes. Only Stairway can keep you interested that long.Ryan - Lakewood, Oh
I will agree with some other guy on here, its beautiful, but sounds as if it should be waay longer!Merve - Stockton-on-tees, England
A very reflective song, that when played when you are really tired, makes you feel really humble. No the typical song by Led, but certianly one fo their best. Like Bron-y-Aur, a flowing guitar always feels good.Stephen - Steamboat, Co
This is the last song i play when i do a gig or something... its a beautiful song and can really soothe the audience... makes my girlfriend relaxed and sleepy...Adam - Hickory, Nc
how come all of led zeppelin's love songs are so SAD? o well it's a great song.Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
In reply to Amanda's question: Tangerine is a person. She's a legendary groupie, or in the parlance of "Almost Famous," a legendary band-aid. She was with the Grateful Dead entourage for a long time, and currently lives in California. One of my favorite songs....really fits in the movie, since the Kate Hudson character is based on another real-life groupie, Bebe Buell.
Marti, Eugene, OR
Marti - Eugene, Or
The song I will play for the girl I want to marry. Nuff said.Sam - Boise, Id
Awesome song. In the words of Quagmire from Family Guy: Giggattygoo!Taylor - Austin, Tx
Is the delay of Page's voice intentional in this song, it has a cool effect and it would be even more awesome if they did it on accident? Does anyone know?Justin - Chicago, Il
Tangerine-what a great song! I think its probably the best song ever done by Zeppelin!!! How can you not love this song!!!!Tina - Cuse, Ny
This is by far the best Zep song!absolutley beautiful song! so glad its in almost famous its my favourite film, just rly wish i'd been alive in the 70's hahaNatalie - Manchester, England
3 Minutes 10 Seconds of the best Rock & Roll ever played but some how it doesn't seem to get the recognition that it deserves.A true Classic for all the ladies.Matt - Pittsburgh, Pa
This is my favorite Led Zeppelin song. I love everything about it. Its just too short! Way under-rated.Maddie - Knoxville, Tn
Considering that Page wrote this when with the Yardbirds, Tangerine probably refers to a young lady in Britian with that as a name in the fine hippie times of then. A sweet unassuming love song with great acoustic work thru out. I agree with the other posters-----a highly under rated Zep Tune. The fact it's on Zep 3 is fantastic as it is a perfect fit. And finally, ther is a radio station her in Brunswick GA that plays Tangerine. Their Program Director knows his Zeppelin.
Rock On!
Bryan - Brunswick, Ga
Todd, amazing. Truer words were never said, I completely agree with you on every aspect of what you wrote. Chrissie...for shame, for shameCharles - Woodbridge, Ct
Bring it on Home is vastly under-rated as well.Todd - Menomonee Falls, Wi
The fact that DMB covered this song is complete blaspheme to the gods of rock, and proof of all that is wrong with rock music today. 'Tangerine' is by far the most underrated Zeppelin tune (which leads to no radio airplay, fortunately)and is hands down my favorite LZ song. It is also the most uncontrived love song in all of rock music.Todd - Charlotte, Nc
The Dave Mattews Band is awful. Thats really all that needs to be said. I dont like good bands covers of classic rock, so DMB doesnt stand a chance of doing the song wellMike - Richmond, Va
good point brian kind of off topic but fool in the rain is very underratedEdward - Virginia Beach, Va
am i missing something really obvious when i ask what a tangerine has to do with this song?
i mean i love this song but i definately like the chorus less than the rest of it simply because of the tangerine part.
Amanda Craigie - Winnipeg, Canada
Page wrote it while in the Yardbirds, but never recorded it until LZ3. There is so much Zep in "Almost Famous" because the writer/director, Cameron Crowe, is friendly with the band. The movie is a fictionalized account of Crowes experiences as a teenaged writer for Rolling Stone magazine. He often found himself travelling with rock bands, including LZ.Pants - Calgary, Canada
Guys, play this song to your girlfriends, they will love you for it!Adrian - Wilmington, De
if you get a chance to buy the tribute to led zeppelin it has a very good cover of the song and i feel that this is prolly my favorite songMatt - St. Charles, Mi
So simplistic and could be related to anyone's situations in life. The lyrics are direct, that's what gives it its raw emotion with no hidden meanings.Andrew - Edison, Nj
Does anyone know how the people who made the movie Almost Famous got permission to use Zeppelin's songs?? According to Jack Black on school of rock it is very hard to get permission from Zeppelin to use there songs??Jes - Canal Fulton, Oh
Two thumbs up. Great feel-good song, and the steel guitars kick ass.Ben - New York, Ny
makes me think of her........Terence - Mumbai, India
Actually..."Feel Flows" by the Beach Boys was played during the credits of Almost Famous, "Tangerine" was played right before the credits...sorry...I like to correct people cuz Im kind of a jerk..Joseph - Manteca, Ca
beautiful and simpleKelly - Los Angeles, Ca
Played during the credits in "Almost Famous"Saurabh - Mumbai, India
The 2nd most under-rated Zeppelin song ever behind "Fool In The Rain"

Such a beautiful song.
Brian - Paoli, In
The Dave Matthews Band does an awesome cover of this song!Chrissie - Raceland, La