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Night Flight by Led Zeppelin

Album: Physical GraffitiReleased: 1975
  • Led Zeppelin first recorded this song in 1971. it was intended for Led Zeppelin 4, but was put on Physical Graffiti to fill the double album. This song is about a man dodging a military draft, according to Robert Plant. Despite the title, it has nothing in common with: The album by Moody Blues, the 1933 Clark Gable film, the novel by Antoine de Saint Exupery, or the groundbreaking, classic, 1980s, USA network TV series Night Flight, which we will never shut up raving about because it is just that many tons of awesome.
  • Most of this song was written by Led Zeppelin's bass player, John Paul Jones, who is listed first on the writing credits. It is one of the few Led Zeppelin songs with no guitar solo.
  • While there's no official live recording of the band playing this, bootlegs abound of one time when they did it during a sound check on stage. A different studio version was produced with extra backing vocals.
  • In the liner notes for the Led Zeppelin box set, Jimmy Page declares: "To be able to fuse all these styles was always my dream in the early stages, but now the composing side of it is just as important."
  • In Frank Moriarty's book Seventies Rock: The Decade of Creative Chaos, Moriarty recounts how critics were less receptive to Zeppelin's stateside invasion than their fans: "The writers insisted the band's concerts did little more than placate legions of Quaalude-swallowing, whiskey-and-wine-swilling cretins, a vulgar audience that filled the soulless hockey rinks and municipal auditoriums of the United States - and Led Zeppelin was more to be blamed for the group's low-rent audiences than praised for their music." Good thing their reputation recovered, then!
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Comments: 35

A fantastic song that was partially together in late-1970 by John Paul Jones. The band had an abundance of songs for the
Led Zeppelin IV Album (Released in 1971) and this song was held for a later album that they had planned for 1972 .

Surprisingly, it was not on the 'Houses of the Holy' album, and was pushed back to 'Physical Graffiti'
Paul - Southern Pines, Nc
Yes Peter, John Paul Jones is playing an organ throughout the song, you're right.Nate - New York, Ny
I listened to this by Jeff Buckley. I didnt know it was LedZeppelin. thats how dope they both areMark - Ann Arbor, Mo
Sorry, Adrian, but you only have to look at "In The Light" and "Trampled Underfoot" on the same album to see credit order was based on level of contribution, not alphabetically.Robert - Houston, Tx
This song is about fleeing the Vietnam draft. When Zeppelin toured North America they would hear about the draft dodgers and met a few in Canada. They opposed the war, and this is a great song...Jim - Long Beach, Ca
Just a note, John Paul Jones was always listed first on every Zeppelin song he got credit for, because they listed the names alphabetically.Adrian - Gettysburg, Pa
Swan Song actually became Midnight Moonlight by The Firm, Pages post Zeppelin group with Paul Rodgers.Bill - Fairfield, Ca
Led Zeppelin did in fact perform this live once during a soundcheck at Chicago Stadium on July 6th, 1973. There are bootlegs of this.Peter Griffin - Quahog, Ri
This song is so awesome! I can't believe I hadn't heard it until recently.Melanie - Seattle, Wa
Is that an organ that you can hear throughout the whole song?Peter Griffin - Quahog, Ri
it's about fleeing from the militaly draftTrevor - Los Angeles, Ca
To Ryan,Mesa,AZ, where and how can I get swan song please tell me I've been searching!!!Thomas - Staten Island, Ny
yeah do chrisNiall - Dublin, Ireland
A little revision to my previous post, Page/Plant used this as an encore during a few concerts for the 1998 tour. I have a full version if anybody wants me to upload it......Chris - Whitesboro, Ny
this song is so awesome....but what the hell is it about?Max - Brockton, Ma
love this tuneNiall - Dublin, Ireland
This sounds like early led zeppelin from the sixties.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
I love this song. It's so under rated but most good music is. I love turning my radio up and jammin' to it.Addison - Versailles, Ky
Jeff Buckley does a gorgoeous version of this which appears on the Live at Sin-e (Legacy Edition) CD.Amy - Melbourne, Australia
JPJ's awesome! This song is awesome!Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
thanks chris, never knew that. anyway i think john paul jones, should of wrote more songs.Niall - Dublin, Ireland
Night Flight WAS in fact performed during the 1996 stretch of the No Quarter tour, but only as a part of the Whole Lotta Love medley...Chris - Whitesboro, Ny
What is this song about? "Across the water" seems like it could mean on the other side of the Atlantic, and some of the other stuff sounds like it might refer to Viet Nam, maybe.Greg - Erie, Pa
nice song. you start appreciating jpj more and more the deeper you go.Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
a great fun track, i love itNiall - Dublin, Ireland
I'm almost certain this song was NOT on the No Quarter tour, but I could be wrong as well.Kyle - Naperville, Il
This song, and Over THe Hills And Far Away, are JPJ's finest in my opinion.Steve - Oroville, Ca
I'm fairly sure I can remember Page and Plant playing this on the No Quarter tour? Please correct me if anyone knows any different.Paul Humphreys - Margate, England
Incredible man, kinda reminds me of rushBen - Oakville, Canada
this is my daughter's (paige) favorite song. jpj is the best rock bass player that ever lived hands downColin K - Sndy Creek, Oh
John Paul Jones, always pretty simple but when he hits the right notes, its just like jimmy busting out the sweetest solo ever. id say this, the lemon song, and misty mountain hop are jpjs best songsFrankie - St. Louis, Mo
I read somewhere that the acoustic "Swan Song" track that was never released was re-written and called Night Flight. I dont know though cause Swan Song and this sound nothing alike. By the way if you haven't heard it...get Swan Song. It's excellent.Ryan - Mesa, Az
what exactly is this song about?
i love it though.
Amanda Craigie - Winnipeg, Canada
I agree kelly, Robert's singing on this is awesome and Bonzo's drumming rules!Adrian - Wilmington, De
this is a great song! underrated, just like jpj.Kelly - Los Angeles, Ca