Houses Of The Holy

Album: Physical Graffiti (1975)
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  • Houses Of The Holy is the name of Led Zeppelin's fifth album, released in 1973. This song was going to be on it, but they decided to hold it back and use it on their next album, Physical Graffiti.
  • The "Houses of the Holy" are the venues Zeppelin played. The song refers to the spiritual feel of their concerts.
  • Despite being a fan favorite and about their shows, this was never performed live.
  • The squeak of John Bonham's drum pedal can be heard about 3 minutes in.

Comments: 61

  • Rob from Raleigh, NcChuck, I'd agree with the assessment that multiple mics were used on Page's amps. He used that technique frequently as well as other tricks like putting his amps in cabinets just to create different textures.
  • Wayne Cm from CaNobody knows what the song means to Page and Plant except them. In an interview, Page basically stated it was a tribute to things the youth were into and then explained the name as “It’s about all of us being houses of the Holy Spirit, in a sense” so some of the satanic rhetoric is a fixation people have imposed. I know Page was very intrigued by the supernatural, and some Crowleyan dark stuff, but even the Bible honestly talks about Satan... I think more than anything they were writing what felt right with the music as they composed the song, and Page and Plant had different ideas going on in their heads. I just hope for all of us, including Page, Plant, Jones, Bonham, that this "Satan and man" world is not the only world we have.
  • Tedd H. from Lakeland,fl.I'm a big fan of Zep as many are, and I recall the satanic panic era we went through. Page obviously had a big interest in Crowley to obtain a property and artifacts and books written by him but I don't think that equals that he's a Satanist but either way it's all based on deception and everything else so I think if you're going to label them satanic then you might as well label everything satanic because deception in our today's world is everywhere on our packaged food we buy leaders of the country you know just in every aspect deception is just part of the rules of the game so if that's true then this is Satan's world and we're just living in hell you know but I feel good when I hear Zeppelin music and that's where I leave it lie right there I don't feel you I don't feel bad I feel good so you know if that's deceptive way to hell then you know come on I think they come up something better than that and as one comedian said I don't think that the devil really needs rock and roll when you look at the fan base today anywhere cuz most of them don't live by you know Christian rules, not even the high profile so-called religious leaders of today I mean how do you justify me and multi-million dollar homes and whatnot and whatnot and in just about every denomination leaders of the pack of all live pretty much that lifestyle I mean look at the Catholics Christ sakes. I think just because they were the biggest band and absolutely album by album just they could they couldn't do a bad song I think that's why they're so highly picked on because there's a lot of other bands out there that probably for the money put the imagery out there and don't even like say hide the fact they promote the fact that there's a satanic and they're just half-assed or less musicians anyway.
  • Judy from Tacoma , WaRegarding blatant sexuality... I meant Robert Plant!
  • Gy from SingaporeThis is an interesting thread about the only song that Zep mentions "Satan". Apart from Jimmy Page's hobby, I've always found their music more Blues influenced than anything else. But then again, the Blues was also referred to as the "Devil's music" so Zep has no monopoly on that claim even if they wanted to. I like the theory of this being about Adam & Eve which gives the reference to Satan a lot of meaning. Would have preferred if they said "the devil's daughter" which was a common term at the time in rock and roll. Zep knew they were "bad" and this song is a playful confession in some ways. Of course, it could be an insidious way to lead us all down the path to ruination, but if we're posting here, we're all doomed as it is.

    This is one of my favourite Zep songs - probably one of the grooviest - and it reminds me of how they say Plant could sing the telephone book and make it sound good.
  • Ross from DallasSatanism boils down to you doing whatever you want - you are your own master BUT in following such a course you are also letting Satan be your master just as Adam and Eve took him up on his offer of independence way back when - they were really choosing Satan as their master and shunning their Creator, Jehovah.
    It's a very honest song actually. Satan promotes fornication which is against Godly principles. The song is about wanton sex - seducing a girl. "Does it hurt to hear them lying?" refers to the overt religious lies she'd been taught by her religion, most likely some part of Christendom who, unwittingly or not are part of Satan's world as well. She might feel sad about it but that's just the way the world works.
    "Let the music be your master" - Sex, Drugs and RocknRoll.
    "Satan's Daughter" could refer to the girl herself as some sort of virgin sacrifice (by giving it up). The "white doves" are just for show - to make it seem like a holy thing.
    If you've got the "sword of gold" - money and fame, you pretty much can do whatever you want or have any girl you want. Sorry it doesn't have a more ethereal meaning than that. Plant and Page were both notorious seducers (no surprise there) and they wrote about what they knew. It's not as glamorous when seen in the rear-view mirror. At least they weren't on the level of Bill Cosby - they didn't have to slip a mickey to make up for being so ugly. But ole Bill is just another face of Satanism, making victims of women.
    The song could have been titled Virgin Killers - because it's pretty much the same thing, only a bit more glamorous.
    But that said, it's a rollicking great tune.
  • Robin from Apple Valley, CaHmmm...Having been a teenager at the time the album "Houses of the Holy" was released, I tend to think that it may have been marketing savvy that kept this song from being a part of this album due to the lyrics. This is because I remember those days with Manson and all kinds of weirdness going on at the time. The result was our parents being wary of the new music we brought home. The album might have been banned or even avoided by the fans themselves... We may have been rockers but we were not all cool on spiritual darkness for the "fun" of it. My older brother and I are musician/songwriters and were very much into Led Zep and Jethro Tull.

    Here I think I agree with A.J. Orange County and Kwami D.C.

    F.Y.I. ..For Emmett, Canadian Texas: Look up Jimmy Page. He admits to "living it" but says he "put it all behind him for family life" He 's currently reluctant to discuss it calling it "all stupid....For Peter Griffin Quahog R.I. : I am a student of Theology (40 years). According to The Bible, Satan is not confined to Hell. He's the fallen highest angel of God whom is now ruling this world in some aspects. He is called "The Deceiver, a roaring lion that wanders the earth , an angel of light, The Prince of the Power of the Air." I wouldn't fool around with this for fun or profit.
  • Aj from Orange County, CaThe "Satan" references are more esoteric than most commentators realize, but they make sense when the topic of the song concerns the experience of a Led Zeppelin's concert and the venues ("Houses of the Holy") where Led Zeppelin performed. Page's interest in Aleister Crowley is well-known. Crowley's work, "Magick In Theory And Practice", describes "Satan" as "Capricorn" the "Sun of the South", Saturn, the "goat that leaps upon the loftiest mountains . . . he is Man made God", the light of enlightenment "before whom all shadows flee away." Page's astrological sun sign is Capricorn. Accordingly, the metaphor is both Page playing to his audience (Capricorn or "Satan" and "Man") and the spiritual enlightenment that has nothing to do with negative "devil-worship" in Thelemic spirituality (i.e., the "antagonism to the south" is but a "silly superstition", Crowley, Chapter 5, Magick In Theory And Practice.) So there you have it . . . "and it only goes to show, you know!"
  • Aj from Orange County, CaOMG David you cannot be more wrong. It is not "it's right my man" (as if Plant were indulging in American colloquialisms), but "SATAN and MAN". Get over it.
  • David from Lakeland, FlHe doesn't say "Satan and Man" he says "It's right my man". Personally I don't care about what messages people think Zeppelin is conveying, because I'm an atheist and don't believe in such nonsense anyways. All I know is I have been listening to them for 30 years and they are part of my life.
    I wills say this though, I never noticed the "hooting" in the back ground before. It's probably Bonham. He did a lot of background vocals that he never gets noticed for.
  • Kwami from Washington Dc, DcPeople sometimes overinterpret Plant's lyrics to the point of absurdity. In fact, he wasn't really that deep a writer. (Ian Anderson, for all his pretentiousness, was considerably more complex lyrically.) Page was the guy who was into the occult nonsense; Plant's verses invoke Tolkien and pseudo-Wagnerian imagery, updated 50s and 60s blues tropes and hippy-dippy stuff. But drill down, so to speak, and Plant wrote mostly about sex, and this song is no exception. "Make your garden grow", "sword of gold", "seeds of love I'll sow" ... call me crazy but I think he's talking about doing the nasty. Maybe he threw in the Satan line just to appease Page -- hell if I know. I do know the song itself just rocks and Page's fretwork is friggin' awesome.
  • Michael from Key West, FlBTW ... Satan's daughter, Saturn, just entered Scorpio on October 5, 2012 and will remain in Scorpio for the next three years until October 2015. The time Jimmy Page referenced is now!
  • Michael from Key West, FlI'm certain what Jimmy Page means with the lyrics "From the Houses of the Holy you can see the white doves go" is a reference to the astrological sign "Scorpio" which is where the phoenix or white dove resides, and "From the door comes Satan's daughter" refers to a time when the planet Saturn enters into the house of the above-mentioned Scorpio. How else to enter but through the door? - Hail Satan
  • Chuck from Fort Lauderdale, FlAs a guitarist and recording engineer, I believe the guitar sound to be most likely a Telecaster. It is not double tracked, but run through some kind of delay or flanging unit with speed set to minimum or zero. It is also possible that several microphones were used, some maybe placed a significant distance from the amplifier/speaker to create the "smear" effect and comb-filtering.
  • Rahul from Chennai, Indiawhoa good song....led zepp rules....i love the physical graffiti album....never get tired of it...
  • Emmett from Canadian, TxWhat is with People relating Satan and Led Zeppelin?! C'MON people! Just because they mention satan in some of their songs, doesn't mean they're satanist! Just because Jimmy Page bought Aleister Crowley's Mansion in Scotland doesn't mean he Worships the devil! What if you bought Crowley's mansion? Huh? does that mean you worship satan? It doesn't alright?! and quit playing Zep backwards! play it forward the way its supposed to be played! you call them satanic!, but here you are playing songs backwards looking for satanic messages?! Just because you can't write kickass songs and make a bajillion dollars like Zeppelin did, doesn't mean you have to be jealous and down grade there music and try and find stupid messages in it! Get a life People!
  • Thrill from Halifax, Nsthis song exemplifies two aspects of zeppelin (besides techical musical talent) that will make thier songs be remebered afer there is no R'n R (not a comment on today's music but who would have thought orchcestra would be a historic relic 150 yrs ago...)
    1)Justoposition of differinf tone in lyrics and delivery- very joyous lyris (references to the occult and and a subtle pessimism don't change this but tone down cliche in the lyrics) against gruff delivery (for Plant anyway)
    2)A simaliar situation instumentally, not very sunny riffs, melody and prodution with some bright overtones
    3)the combination of 1 & 2 make for brilliant subtle music

  • Blake from Tahlequah, OkI'm gonna have to agree with Patrick greenville SC
    when I was younger I liked rap and well I would rather not talk about it! but anyways after I heard that riff blare out the radio for the first time My life changed forever and for the better.
  • Marley from Springfield, NjThe satanic stuff is not true. The members of the band did that stuff to help with their mysteriousness and sell albums. Also, a lot of the backwards messaging is just people hearing what they want to, there have been studies to prove it.
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., OhI thought that I had read somewhere that it was actually John Paul Jones that had written the opening riff to this song. It is very possible that he could be playing a bass with multiple strings. There is a 12-string bass guitar currently on the market that bears his name.
  • Mark from Worcester, MiI think the band showed the respect they had for this song by releasing it on the "Mothership." I agree with Craig, Gainesville, FL, and feel this would have done well as the title track on the album instead of The Crunge. I don't think it would have clashed with Dancing Days at all, but all of our opinions are valid of course.
  • Patrick from Greenville, Scthis is my favorite Zeppelin tune. When that riff blasted through my radio when I was 13, my world was never the same.
  • Jambi from T-town, Mithis song reminds me of someone cruising in there 59 chevy convertable on a warm sunny day
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiHow would Satan sing in the background of this song? I thought he was confined to hell. Oh, and I hope Satan STAYS in hell.
  • Bill from Topeka, Ksthis is a kick ass tune but after hearing over and over i am getting a little sick of it
  • Dave from Albequrque, NmFor all of you who need to know... his bass pedal isn't squeking, it is a cowbell... it's used in percussion. I was in drumline, I'm sure I know that sound
  • Madalyn from Greensburg, Pathis song is top 5 best zeppelin songs by far and possilby top 10 in rock in roll in my opinion...
  • Elyssa from Ny, NyGreat beat,great LZ music. The lyrics suggest to me......temptation, good vs. evil. What's so mysterious about that? I grew up with LZ. I am 4 years younger than Robert Plant. I am a bigger fan now than I was then. All the satanic mumbo jumbo is just annoying now.
  • Craig from Gainesville, FlThis song wasn't included on Houses of the Holy because the band decided it sounded too much like Dancing Days to be on the same album. Kind of a shame, considering how fitting it would have been, especially in place of The Crunge.
  • Cam from Cambridge, CanadaRobert Plant sings "oh satan and man" not " save me man" It doesn't bother me that they use satan in their lyrics. If your Zeppelin fan you'll know that Jimmy Page was into the withraft and black magic. He even bought Aleister Crowleys mansion.
  • Antwan from Novosibirsk, Othercrowley references, thelema magick?
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlMy absolute favorite song by Led Zeppelin! It's one of their grooviest songs. I can play this all day and never get tired of it.
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnThere is a backward message in this song. I'm proud to say I found it. So how it goes, forwards they sing, "So your world is spinning faster. Are you dizzy when your stoned? Let the music be your master. Will you head the master's call? Oh-oh, Satan and man." Backwards it is quite a different song. it says, "And that's when... oh. Oh, he's a sad-sad being. It's time to leave, just leave me be. Oh Satan, please lift me up. (gibberish)" Weird
  • Ryan from Ashland, Orthe bass drum squeeks through the entire song, not just 3 mins in
  • Mark from Worcester, MiPlant is a lyricist, of course, and any good word man likes playing games with words. If you don't understand what they mean, and you're still interested, then they've done an excellent job.

    "From the houses of the holy, we can watch the white doves go, from the door comes satans daughter and it only goes to show."

    To me that's a pretty clear refrence of the narrator watching people exit a supposed holy place, when he sees someone he knows to be evil amongst the other white doves. "And it only goes to show" Kinda like a hypocrite leaving church maybe. Nothing evil about it IMO.

  • Jake from Somis, Caya no one sings like robert. even if they mention satan doesnt mean thier satanists
  • Alex from Rochester, NyThe lyrics of "Houses of the Holy" are complicated to grasp. There is debate over what they mean, if there is a satanic message, etc. as with other Led Zeppelin songs. Garden references such as "Let me wander in your garden and the seeds of love I'll sow"you know?? are overtly sexual; in this case, referring to the general act of genital contact, for him to "sow" his "seed" in his partner. There is mention of "heeding the master's call," "through the door comes Satan's daughter," and "Oh"Satan and man.? Those overt references to Satan may be official, since the band was dipping into the occult; or it may have been a ploy to stir controversy and see more albums. Overall, the message is unclear but seems to guide towards a man trying to seduce a woman. The speaker is urging to get her into a place where he could more effectively pressure her and have his way, but she is resisting, and he starts to come up with reasons why she should come. An alternate meaning may be that he is not trying to seduce her, but pull her to a concert, using "Satan's daughter" as an example that everyone will be there. With the fifth verse talking about her crying and "their lying" may be her parents not letting her go, them making up lies of why she shouldn't go. The seeds he is trying to sow are seeds of rebellion, her garden is her mind, and the speaker is trying to get her to start being her own person, breaking away from the restrictions of home.
  • Michael from Adelaide, AustraliaThe real reason why this wasn't on houses of the holy is becuase they thought it sounded to much like the ocean, and didn't want similar sounding songs on the album.
  • Mike from Saint JohnI really fon't care if it makes references to Satan or anything. Its a great song, why can't people just realize that and take the song as it is?
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaMe bad, I guess there IS a reference to Satan in the song, but its just the lyrics about 'Satan's daughter' (a popular blues character :) ). And they're forward, not backward. It's just the other reference, that I heard of a lot, then I listened to the song myself and immediately thought it sounded like 'Save Me Man'.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, Canada- I just noticed the Led Zep official page says it's 'Satan and man'. I just listened to it again, and as far as I'm concerned it really sounds more like 'Save me, man". Listen yourself and be the judge.

    - I would say 'From the door comes Satan's daughter' are probably the right lyrics.

    - And the hoooing is just them singing, but maybe... it's the presence of evil! But I'll go with the simpler theory of it being normal background vocals.
  • Elaine from Spokane, WaI hear the "hooing" can hear it at 2:26 into the song. Sounds more like background singers, rather than Satan.
  • David from Orlando, FlIs Jones playing another instrument on this aside from bass?
  • Dan from Grand Isle, MeDo any of you guys here the hooing in the back ground a few minutes into the song, this is said to be satan, they also say that they tried several times to get rid of the hooing but they could'nt, so they just left it be.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai always thought it said from on the door is satan's doorknob...but somehow i doubt thats what it really says.
  • Laura from Eatontown, NjYes, Len, and what about the lyric "From the door comes Satan's daughter"? If that's not correct, what would you suggest the "real" lyric is?
  • Craig from Springtucky, Or I think it's kind of wierd when people try to fight that Zeppelin wasn't Satanist. I mean, I hate that fact, but they used to practice in Jimmy Page's house just happened to be Aleister Crowley's old house. Ya, Plant always sounds good. I'm gonna see him in concert in 3 days!)
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cawhat do you mean "few tracks of good singing by plant" mike? plant has an awesome voice in all their tracks! if anyone says plant's voice is bad i'd like to see them sing along to a led zeppelin song and make it sound better. in fact thats the only problem with plant. you can't sing along to any zep songs because plant will kick your a**.
  • Mike from Emmaus, PaGreat lyrics by Plant. This is one of the few tracks that has good singing by Plant.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, CaWhy do people waste their time wondering if great songs have references to Satan? Can't they just listen to the songs and let things be... I bet Zep put that on there to see what the public would do! I mean I would put something like that on there to see how insane the public would be! Great song though!
  • Dakota from Chippewa Falls, Withis song kicks a$$. you cant help but to bang your head. and for prudence in houston, you are wrong. one verse played backwards does say stuff regarding satan. i dont think it was intentional but it is. check it out for yourself its pretty messed up the first time you hear it.
  • Josh from Las Vegas, NvWhether or not there are any references to Satan in any of Led Zeppelin's songs, I wouldn't really care.
  • Josh from Belleville, IlThis song wasnt put on the Album "Houses of the Holy" becasue they recorded a bunch of songs and had to choose their favorites. Then they decided that "Houses of The Holy" would be on Physical Graffiti.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaThere are NO references to Satan in this song. Robert Plant is saying 'Save me, man', not 'Satan, yeah'. Yeesh! Some people have too much time on their hands. As for how they got the guitar sound, there's layers upon layers of guitars on just about every track on the album.
  • Todd from Philadelphia, PaAll references to Satan are sheerly for that enigmatic touch. It helped sell more albums and make them mysterious and fascinating.
  • Frankie from St. Louis, Modoes anyone know what kind of effect that was for pages riff? i think its either a bunch of tight knit layers or a high octave sweep effect or both
  • Ac from Winnipeg, Canadai really like this is funny with simply forget about all the songs of theirs that you like because there is so many
  • Paulo from New York, NyI'm guessing the reason Led Zeppelin didn't put this on "Houses of the Holy" was they didn't want a title track on any of their albums.
  • Jim from Bethlehem, PaI'm not saying I dislike D'yer Ma'ker or The Crunge, but I wonder about The Houses of the Holy album if instead it included the songs Houses of the Holy and Walters Walk?
  • Julian from Philadelphia, PaAs with all of Zeppelin's best songs it's open to interpretation. Others have said it's about man being corrupted by woman (as in with Adam and Eve) although I think it's sort of the opposite. IE, the singer trying to convince his lover to abandon her closed minded religious views or some kind of views at any rate.
  • Conrad from Los Angeles, CaWhy the reference to Satan?

    This doesn't help their "SWtH" backmasking thing.
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