Dancing Days

Album: Houses Of The Holy (1973)
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  • This was inspired by an Indian tune Jimmy Page and Robert Plant heard while traveling in Bombay. When they returned home and recorded the track, the band was so ecstatic with the result that they ran out on to the lawn of their Stargroves studio and danced to it, which gave them the idea for the title and lyrical content. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - Milton, Canada
  • The song is about summer. It's very light and relaxed for Zeppelin.
  • If you listen closely, you can hear John Bonham's drum pedal squeaking.
  • The Stone Temple Pilots covered this on the 1995 Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin album.
  • The chorus of Bobby Brown's 1992 single "Humpin' Around" samples the guitar riff from "Dancing Days." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Geoff - London, United Kingdom

Comments: 59

  • Scrab from Westchester, NyTo answer the comment about the kids on the cover being Robert Plant's, no they're not. They were Stefan and Samantha Gates.
  • Stuball from EnglandYou’re all thinking too much. At the time Zep were getting loads of s--t from the English press. Lion tadpole etc had no hidden meaning, it was all about putting nonsensical lyrics into a song. It’s a very British thing. That's why you don’t get it.
  • Evad from Moosic, PaTo Bill Huelbig from Weehawken, NJ. I have the Offical House of The Holy Song Book. Last thing Plant says.. is "Dig! I know it is-n't" Hope that solve that mystery...lol
  • Bill Huelbig from Weehawken Nj Does anyone know what Robert Plant is saying at the end of this song, after the last of the official lyrics? All I can figure out is that it sounds like 5 words, and that's as far as I've gotten in 47 years. Thanks.
  • Andy from FergusFurther to Michael's comment, I think it is a tape garble sound. It can happen when there are wrinkles on the tape.
  • Louis from Drexel Hill, PaConsider this:
  • Tommi from Helsinki To me it seems to be inspired by Brown Sugar. The timing and chord-patterns are technically similar. Definitely the tuning is the same: open-G and Brown Sugar we published two years before. There is more complicated things in Dancing Days, like half-step chord changes and grace-notes. Just that much, that it might be developed from Brown Sugar. If you learn how to play Dancing Days, you might also learn Brown Sugar, but not vice versa.
  • Adam from South FloridaHas anyone ever noticed the hidden sounds in some of Zep's songs? Dancing Days has a weird sound like a motor or drill at the 2:48 mark. It lasts for only a couple of seconds but it is definitely there.
  • John from San Mateo, CaliforniaYou all have it wrong. The tad pole in a jar, is a old English symbol for sex. It is that simple and the joke is on you, Because Jimmy page and Robert Plant once saw a Tad Pole in a jar front of a wooden lion in front of a Pub as they were walking one night. It was just a joke. like many of there song lyrics. This comes from Plants mouth too.
  • Michael from Orlando, FloridaIf you listen closely to the start of the track, you'll notice the snare drum is buried for the first two hits, whoever had their hand on the mixing board (Page?) didn't bring it up until the third stroke.
  • Particle Wave Front from Dublin, IrelandOk , Tadpole in a Jar. (I Saw a lion, He was standing Alone) Is the young lady's Father waiting for her to return (but she's Late, & he's worried. (Tadpole in a Jar) , is the way the porch Light Looks glowing in the darkness. The jar being the ornamental glass fixture, around the bulb. The reason can only be interpreted by Rp (& he cannot Remember), because of memory loss. Interpret that. -k
  • Laura from Loganville, GaI wanna know what jeanette thought it said? lol.. and i agree on the Robert Plant's son story and the song remains the same movie... I think he was moving on maybe.
  • Collin from Rochester, Mn@Kevin in pittsburgh, throughout just about the whole song the pedal squeaks.
  • Jonathan from Everywhere, NcThe children used on the album cover are Plant's.
  • Michael from Fuquay-varina, NcI think that everyone is missing out of something obvious. Remember in "The Ocean", Robert Plant sings the lyric "Now I'm singing all my songs to the girl who won my heart.
    She is only three years old and it's a real fine way to start." This obviously is a line refering to his young daughter Carmen. I believe that the line in "Dancing Days" refers to his young son Karac. If you recall the scene in the movie "The Song Remains The Same" in which Robert, wife Maureen, and the two children are relaxing and playing by a stream, you can imagine young Karac capturing a tadpole with a jar and standing there, proud and facinated, and wonderful and magical to look at with Robert's proud father's eyes. I believe that it's really that simple. Remember the young children climbing on the album cover? Obviously Robert was in a "family state of mind" when this album was recorded, likely stemming from his extended time on the road away from the family he deeply loved.
  • Jane Doe from Nj, NjLOL I think it would HILARIOUS to see them dancing on the lawn of their studio. Especially Page and Plant! I mean, a buncha guys! Dancing! Wish they had recorded that!!
  • Joe from Hamden, CtI think the lion is Robert (his golden locks besides, I believe he is a Leo?). Standing alone (date is over). Tadpole in a jar (he had to masturbate). I know it's Robert Plant, but even he couldn't have gotten lucky all the time!
  • David from Los Angeles , CaGreat, my brother's favorite Led Zeppelin song
  • Ernie from Seattle, WaOne of their best tunes!!!and brings back great memories of the 70's for me.
  • Eric from Albuquerque, Nmwith response to Jonathon, Clermont, FL, this one is even less of a "flower power" song than Misty Mountain Hop. And I think there is a little bit too much analysis about the lion and tadpole in the jar. Basically you all are right. It is about adolescent hormones running wild. It captures the mood when young guys can ONLY think about ONE THING!
  • Paul from Phoenix, Az"I saw a lion he was standing alone, with a tadpole in a jar." As another comment mentioned, taken in context with getting his girlfriend home without a car, the lion is a certain part of Plant's anatomy and the tadpole is, well, what a sperm looks like. LOL.
  • Paul from Phoenix, Az"I saw a lion he was standing alone, with a tadpole in a jar." As another comment mentioned, taken in context with getting his girlfriend home without a car, the lion is a certain part of Plant's anatomy and the tadpole is, well, what a sperm looks like. LOL.
  • Maelissa Jarvis from Hick Town, Ohhey led heads!
    i love this song, as do i every song they play.
    i personally think that this has to do with
    the lion being the boyfriend.
    and the tadpole being the girlfriend.
    and the road they travel.
    like romeo and juilet in the summer.
    either way, its a beast song.
  • Maelissa Jarvis from Hick Town, Ohhey led heads!
    i love this song, as do i every song they play.
    i personally think that this has to do with
    the lion being the boyfriend.
    and the tadpole being the girlfriend.
    and the road they travel.
    like romeo and juilet in the summer.
    either way, its a beast song.
  • George from Little Rock, Army favorite Led Zeppelin song along with when the levee breaks. It just makes me want to dance for some reason.
  • Melanie from Seattle, WaHahaha they danced to it?! That's so funny. :D Awesome song from a great album, very underrated.
  • Bill from Topeka, KsYou can't really hear it i think it is a cowbell like in "House of the Holy"
  • Kevin from Pittsburgh, Paat what time can you hear his drum pedal squeaking?
  • Mark from Twin Cities Metro Area, MnOne of my all time favorite songs. #2 or #3 Behind I Feel Fine.
    Back when it came out I used to love to cruise around in my red 66 Mustang with Dancing Day pouring out of my 8 track. Whatta a great summer
    cruising song.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaYes, Stone Temple Pilots did make a cover of this song.. which is very good.
  • Juanita from Miami, Fli LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. My boyfriend loves Led zeppelin so i decided "hey why not give them a try?" and MY GOD this is one of my favorites (at least till i download the next album)
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlThis song is probably the biggest display of flower power on an Led Zeppelin recording. I love it.
  • Swansong200 from Calhoun, GaIn the 1973 European tour, Plant said this song was about "Our love of Little school girls-not too little mind you..." The best versions though are easily the ones from Osaka and Tokyo, the How the west was won version is too young, it was only played for the first time 6 days prior in Seattle. But by the time the hit Japan, it was a nice addition to the set list.
  • Elaine from Spokane, WaI have to agree, the live versions are better. Maybe it's just because you can feel the energy of the song or something. When I first heard this, I couldn't even tell there were Indian influences. But now I can definately hear it. Great song!
  • Justin from Richmond Hill, AlI think if you pay attention to the line before these,"you told your mama I'd get you home, but you didnt say i had no car", the line about the lion and tad pole make more sense. It is, i think, about experience having it's way with experience, the lion being wise and full of life(summer) and the tadpole being vestal and fresh(spring. The guy is going to get the girl home, but it is not going to be with his car! He is going to take her virginity, her youth, make her make her a woman,expirenced, summer.
  • Kurdt from Concord, NhThe tuning for dancing days is simple, nothing wierd like open d or dadgad, just tune your high e down one whole tone to a d; EADGBD. Guaranteed thats the way Page played it on the album.
  • Danny from Vancouver, United Statesu know that c sharp note that jimmy page uses, which kinda gives it that errie sound, use to be illegal in churches back in the day.
  • Salvatore from Los Angeles, CaA great song about Friday night dances and the energy that surrounds it as a kid growing up.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Caactually it probably is a metaphor for isolation rather than two people because it never says a lion standing alone with a tadpole in a jar it says a lion standing alone, a tadpole in a jar. like its the same thing. so its like a guy standing alone with no one with him.
  • Mike from Emmaus, PaBrilliant lyrics by Plant and fine singing! What an underrated lyricist he was.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, CaI don't get the lyrics at all... oh well nice song. I didn't even realize they ever said tadpole in a jar. Great now I'll be up all night thinking about what the heck that means. I love that song!
  • Steve from Oroville, CaOn the " How The West Was Won " album Robert Plant says this is a song about summertime and good things.
  • Derek from Boston, MaA great song. Several of the live versions are much better though.
  • Nick from Baton Rouge, Lagreat summer time song...
  • Isabella from Tucson, AzThis is an awesome song..simply amazing, and it's pretty hard to picture the "evil" Page playing such a cheerful number.
  • Taylor from Austin, TxAwesome song. I think this has one of the most memorable openings of any Led Zep song. I lie the way Plant says the word "Power" at the begining.
  • Wade from Houston, TxThe live version on How the West Was Won is much better than the studio version.
  • Joe from Stoughton, MaBy far my favorite Zeppelin song.
  • Jd from Severn, MdTry an open G tuning dudes, that's the way it's done. Perfect for the slide solo. JC in Severn, MD callahanjd@hotmail.com
  • Jon from Weston, Fli believe the song was inspired by Romeo & Julite
  • George from Martinsville, Vafor some reason, i feel certain that tadpole in a jar is a metaphor for isolation. im so certain, that my band has a blues song called "tadpole in a jar" thats about feeling lonely and isolated after your wife dies
  • Ben from Beaverton, OrThe bit about the lion standing alone with a tadpole in a jar, i think its supposed to be like an affirmative guy with a weak and easily manipulative woman. think about it, a tadpole in a jar can never go anywhere or do anything, but a lion can do whatever he pleases. Thats probably way wrong, but next time i talk to robert or jimmy ill ask them.
  • Dennis from Toledo, OhIt sounds plenty like Plant. The man has a versatile voice, get to know it better :). The indian influence is present in the sitar-like slide in the 3rd measure of the intro riff. As for the Lion line, I think the lion is a certain type of guy and the tadpole in a jar is a certain, easy kind of girl. They're both probably people you don't like...
  • Brian from Grand Forks, NdCan someone explain the Lion Standing alone with a Tadpole in a jar...

    I Don't get it and For some reason... I really want to know...
  • Amit from Fair Lawn, NjDoes Plant actually sing this song? It sounds nothing like his voice.
  • Robin from New York, NyInspired in Bombay? The intro sounds like horns & gridlock into the Lincoln Tunnel. Beautiful imagery in the lyrics telling of the idealism of young love. A true gem.
  • Brian from Paoli, InAlthough I don't really get the lyrics, they sound cheesey for Zeppelin, but I think it's a great song.
  • David from Chatham, Canadait's a great song
  • T.j from Buford, GaI believe Stone Temple Pilots did a cover of this song.
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