Album: Led Zeppelin III (1970)


  • Page told interviewer Daniel Rachel (The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters) that he wrote this after a massive argument with someone. "And yet you wouldn't know," he said. "I was inspired, I guess, by this feeling: I've just got to release this somehow."
  • On a trip to India in 1972, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant recorded a version of this song with musicians from Bombay. This version can be found on various bootleg recordings.
  • Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this in 1970 at Bron-yr-Aur, the cottage in Wales they went to after a grueling US tour. The cottage had no electricity or running water. It didn't even have cable.
  • This was one of a few Led Zeppelin songs that used strings. The band wanted an Indian sound, but unlike The Beatles, they played the instruments themselves instead of bringing in Indian musicians. Their bass player John Paul Jones did the arrangement.
  • Jimmy Page had his guitar in an alternate tuning for this song. It's Open C tuning, a tuning standard for foreign folk musicians. It explains the low pitched sound and the rattling heard from the strings throughout the song. This is achieved by tuning your strings C, A, C, G, C, E. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    JT - Tullahoma, TN
  • Previewing this song for Melody Maker before the album came out, Jimmy Page commented on Robert Plant's vocals: "Robert shows his great range – incredibly high. He's got a lot of different sides to his voice which come across here."
  • Influenced by Neil Young, this song has been closely referenced to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's "Carry On." If you listen, the first part of the song is almost exactly identical to this song. Even so, this song has not been tried on conviction of plagiarism like many Zeppelin songs. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jeff - Kendall Park, NJ

Comments: 39

  • Teddy from Indiana U.s.a.Call me crazy but I get an Alien Abduction vibe from this song. "Bright light almost blinding. Black Knight still there shining. I can't stop. Keep on climbing. Looking for what I knew." You all know about the Black Knight satellite , right ? The music doesn't seem like an accompaniment to a song about friendship. Those multi tracked voice harmonies of Plant's ! WHOAH! My elder brother used to play this on a reel to reel mix tape in his room late at night. It used to scare the daylights out of me.
  • Sirnixalot from Tnwho plays the violin in the friends song led zeppelin
  • Mike from Nampa, IdI read an interview with JP that the music came to him right after a "massive" argument that he & his wife had. He said that ironically Robert wrote the lyrics about friendship.
  • Lee from Broomall, PaI've always been fascinated by the chatter before the curse. Trying to figure it out for more than 30 years. The best I can come up with is they are reminiscing about Philadelphia (which they played in July of '69). Something must have happened there, because it appears one person remembers the city name first, then the other seems to remember half-way through before the other can finish. Sort of a "......Philadel-Philadelphia". They step on each other, and by the end of the word they are saying it in unison. Listen for it. You definitely hear "Philadelphia".
  • Brad K from Huntley, IdThe noises (heard before the song begins) are all in-time with the song. You can tap your foot to them.
  • Collin from Rochester, MnIt's neat how this goes right into 'Celebration Day' as if in one recording.
  • Tara from Petoskey, MiOkay, I swear I listened to the beginning almost 25 times and never really caught the f-bomb. Then, I turned my speakers up as loud as they can go and then I clearly heard it. LOL
  • Jesse from Madison, WiNobody mentions the Zep's early use of the Moog synthesizer at the close of the song. That ain't no wah pedal! And the fact that to me it sounds as if it was played on a 12-string. Was it? You tell me, I'm not a guitar guy. What I like too, whether it IS the actual lyric or not, is the "It's very easy, Jesse". I must need to trip on acid more, because after listening perhaps a couple of thousand times, I never once heard the "F-bomb"...
  • Amanda from Ridgewood, NjFirst Led Zeppelin Cd i bought... very haunting. getting chills listening to it right now!
  • Lisa from Blountville , TnYeah you can hear F%*@ at the 09 mark.I belive it's Jimmy.I don't why but when I hear that it makes me giggle.Maybe Pagey came in too early on the song.Funny. Lovely song.
  • Dizzy from Santa Cruz, CaThe first song I ever heard of the Zep, that I KNEW was the Zep. Plagiarized? I'm starting to realize after 25 years of listening to Led Zeppelin that many, many songs were, if only in part for some. Oh well!
  • Drake from Murrieta, Cai definitely heard F@#% at about :09 - :10
  • Chinegra from Grand Rapids, Mii mean out on the tiles
  • Chinegra from Grand Rapids, Misomebody says something at 1:23 in the background
    sounds like "sorry"
  • Jesse from East Setauket, Ny, NyYou want to hear a GREAT version of this song get the Plant / Page concert CD/DVD of "No Quarter." This version will blow you away!!
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiEspecially the "my my, my my" or whatever. The way Plant says that scares the $#!+ out of me.
  • Lee from Clarkston, MiResponding to a certain "Peter Griffin's" comment, i believe in the beginning of this song where there are random voices, after you hear a little bass/ guitar chord part, right before the actual intro/opening of the song, you can vaguely make out someone saying F@#$% and another person saying S#$%
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiThis song sounds messed up. Very messed up. It freaked me out at the beginning and end. Anyone know what they're saying at the beginning?
  • John from Sydney, AustraliaIn 'Carry On' the opening chord shifts between a simple major and suspended fourth, whereas in 'Friends' the melody shifts between a third, a flat fifth and a fifth. Completely identical? Seems as though people with very poor ears are posting moronic comments.
  • Lance from Blaine, WaA folksy and yet haunting song from a suprisingly versatile band. This song is another reason why Led Zeppelin III is such an under-rated album.
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnThe album is a little underatted honestly. It's not the best, in fact I really hated this album for a while, but it's still good. The first four song sare amongst some of the best zep songs I've heard.
  • Sean from Colorado Springs, CoHmm... I hadn't noticed the similarities before.. it IS nearly the same sound. Maybe not quite the same sound, but the notes Page plays are remarkably similar to the beginning of "Carry On".. however, "Friends" is a much darker song in general. A lot of people criticized Zeppelin for ripping off CSNY's then recent, successful use of acoustics for Zep III... but Zeppelin had used acoustics on at least 7 songs from their first two albums.. and furthermore, the stuff they made was ALways planned out and created far in advance of an album. Its also a hard truth that Zeppelin lost the first cut to 'Friends', and had to hastily scramble to make another cut before the album was ready to go out.. so it seems likely that they might have nicked a bit from CSNY last minute... though Page said that the original version was by far the band favorite.
  • Ian 59 from Graham, WaThe studio version of this song is played in C G C G C E. The Page/plant version is played a half step down. I think that the tuning was changed to meet the ability of Plant's modern, lower voice.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScWell, I'm hnot sure the guitar cords would sound the same. I don't play guitar. In fact, I never thought about that similarity until I saw the songfacts here.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI am not sure if I quite agree with the songfact that states that "Carry on" and "Friends" sound alike. They have different tempos, and if they were in the same key, the courds would be the same. Even though these differences do exist, there is a similarity between both songs, which is harder to define. At least that's what I think. What about you guys?
  • Marlow from Perththe version page and plant do on no quarter is a little different but also great
  • Olivia from Perth, Australiahey dan, i totally agree with you! it is a great album, and underrated! while i don't own it myself, i've heard the songs, and they are some of my fave zep songs!!!!!!!!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI didn't hear it specifically but, I think I can remember him saying something.
  • Dan from Lee, NhLed Zeppelin III is such an underated album. This song is great. You just can't go wrong with Led Zeppelin.
  • Jake from Clarion, PaAt the beginning of the song, Page starts to play and stops. After that, if you listen carefully, it sounds like he drops the F-bomb. It's about 10 seconds in to the song. If anyone else hears it, tell me to reassure I'm not crazy.
  • Tim from Detroit, MiFor the record Jimmy Page's guitar is NOT out of tune on the song "Friends". In fact it is tuned to open C (For the guitarist out there, the open C tuning begining with the bottom string is: C G C G C E). You might notice the 'drone' or 'buzz' sound Jimmy's guitar makes on the low end. Its sounds very similar to a hurdy gurdy. An amazing piece of work from a rock band that wasn't afraid to experiment.
  • Paul Humphreys from Margate, EnglandThe song's chord structure is based on 'Mars' from Holst's 'The Planets Suite'. Have a listen to the original classical recording and compare!
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI like the fact that the instruments sound like they have an Indian influence, but the vocals sound a little like something you'd here in a blues song. That' the genius of Led Zeppelin. I think it's a gteat song.
  • Jim from North Billerica, MaNot only was Jimmy's Guitar slightly out of tune, you can hear some fret buzzing (the strings hitting or buzzing against the frets). I'm actually surprised that real strings were used. I just figured a Mello-tron was layered multiple times across several tracks. Usually a Mello-tron tries to sound like a string section, but this is a string section sounding like a Mello-tron! Go Figure!
  • Neil from London, EnglandI am a full blooded heavy metal fan, but also love zeppelin. Despite my general persuasion towards loud,heavy and fast music - this is probably my faverout zeppelin song - maybe tied with Kashmir - but it is just love the strumming patteren and the sound of the stings as they over-vibrate. I don't get why this is not on the 'Early years' best of CD
  • Jason from Monterrey, MexicoI love the background vocals, they make the song sound really trippy.
  • Anders from Cph, DenmarkMy favorite on their third album...
  • Jello from Miamisburg, OhPage's guitar is played slightly out of tune on this one
  • Kelly from Los Angeles, Cai quote this song in my e-mail signature ('the greatest thing...')
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