The Ocean

Album: Houses Of The Holy (1973)
Get the Sheet Music
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • "The Ocean" is fans as seen from the stage. It was always dedicated to the audience at concerts.
  • The voice on the intro is drummer John Bonham. When he says, "We've done four already, but now we're steady and then they went, 1... 2... 3... 4...," he is referring to the takes. They had tried to record it 4 times prior but couldn't get it right, so as a pep talk he said his famous line. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Marshall - Gallatin, TN
  • In the last line, the "Girl who won my heart" is Robert Plant's daughter Carmen, who was 3 years old at the time.
  • This is one of the few Zeppelin songs where all four members shared the writing credit.
  • Robert Plant used parts of this for his solo song "Tall Cool One."
  • The Beastie Boys sampled this on "She's Crafty." It wasn't their first use of Zeppelin - they took some of Bonham's drums from "When The Levee Breaks" for "Rhymin' And Stealin'."
  • It can barely be heard due to all the guitar overdubs, but during the last minute or so, John Paul Jones and John Bonham sing for one of the only times on a Zeppelin album. They are harmonizing the phrase "Doo wop." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adrian - Wilmington, DE
  • If you listen carefully, you can hear a phone ringing in the studio at 1:37-1:38 and again (second ring) around 1:41. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jon - Clarkston, MI
  • The lyrics about "The Hellhound" refer to Blues musician Robert Johnson, who according to legend, sold his soul to the devil. On the lyrics sheet that came with the album, the word "hellhound" was replaced with "high hopes hailla." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ryan - Metairie, LA
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 103

  • Emma from OhioFor all of the people who are pointing out the "Oh, so good!" line at 4:20, guess when Robert's son Karac's birthday was? That's right, April 20th.
  • Mj Ward from New OrleansPage was heavy into the horse and the occult when they did the MSG shows. Supposedly, the Hellbound comments that others posted earlier ties into Page's "sorcerer" gestures at Bohnam, during the beginning of the song. He literally was sending Bonzo bound for hell. I've heard as a sacrifice for Crowley. This is the only song in concert (and only done this one time) at that Garden performance where he hurls those curses at Bohnam... All makes sense if you are into the occult. Page literally plucked Bonzo and Plant out of obscurity and thrust them into immediate fame and fortune... Too much "weird" s--t happened to that band around that time.
  • Liam from Brandon, MbThis is Zeppelin's best song.
  • Peter from Wilbraham, MaThis song is so awesome, I didn't appreciate Led Zeppelin back in their day, but I do now! I am listening to their stuff all over again, especially this song!
  • Doyle from Robbinsville, NjDoes anyone else realize how much higher and pre-pubescent his voice sounds on this particular track compared to any other zeppelin song? And if so, do you know how he did it? Because it beats me. Amazing singer, but his voice is deteriorating because of the way he uses it.
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyI recently commented that I couldn't hear the phone ring. I just heard them and I got so exited! Anyway, my favorite Zep song ever. It's one of those songs where you can't really beat your head to it, and at the same time you can, if anybody else understood that.
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyI can hear the guitar riff when Bonham says 3. I can hear the doo-wops (which I didn't hear until after reading about it). I can hear "O, so good." I still can't hear a phone ring or a bass pedal squeak no matter how many times i listen to the song.
  • David from Los Angeles , CaIf you hear very closely or turn up your speakers before the very main riff begins around 0:07 seconds into the song you should hear the main riff before it actually starts. Sounds to me like Jimmy Page made sure he knew how to play it before the final take, really listen!!!!!
  • David from Los Angeles , CaAnyone else hear the "Mhaaaa" at around 1:52 around where the solo is ending to go into that smaller riff.
  • Garrett from Pittsburgh, PaUnbelievabl, the song that is. This the ultimate Zep song. The way Bonham screams in on the count is just an outrageous start to a great song. Then the riff is just haevenly! The percussion is out of this world. My opinion, best led zeppelin song around. the most energy any Zep song has.
  • Rachita from Delhi, IndiaI love Page's energy when he performs this song live..makes me fall in love with Zeppelin even more..
  • Keith from Oxford, Mii just finished reading hammer of the gods and he mentioned that it was actually a song about hell.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InOh, and to the guys mentioning the "Oh, so good" line at 4:20, please go away and return to your bong hits.
    Sheesh
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InIt's always a real treat when you have a rhythm section strong enough to pull off an oddball time signature (Floyd's "Money" was 7/8 time) so extremely well.
    The bit of Bonham vocie at the very beginning is hilarious, and it makes sense that they would use it to show their fans that it was a bit grueling to get this changeup song down.
    The accelerated bit of jamming from Page at the end is just great, then it comes to the end, echoing to finish.
    Great fun!
  • Victoria from Memphis, TnFave Led Zeppelin song:) I heard The doo wop:) Never realized that:) Thanx:)
  • Seán from Glasgow, ScotlandI love this song, a mishmash of signatures but you can still groove along despite the 15/8 bits! As for the "We've done four already..." comment, he's probably just talking about takes of the song - you rarely do it on the first one, they probably duffed 3 up and got it on the one we hear
  • Nate from Provo, Uti played this at my school talent show. Go mormans!
  • Robert from Houston, TxRobert Plant has said that after he was rushed to the hospital following his near fatal car accident on the Greek island of Rhodes (which put him into a body cast for 9 months), he had the surreal experience of being recognized by a drunken Greek sailor who was lying on the next bed. The sailor waved at him and began bellowing out the heavy opening riff from "The Ocean." This, as well as many other experiences, led Plant to have some serious doubts about whether being a "rock star" was worth the grief.
  • Rea from Monticello, ArI think that the part at the end where he pays hommage to his little girl is so charming. Wonderful song.
  • Brian from Mandeville, LaIt's not "I'm sorry". The lyrics to that part(I've discovered from hearing live versions) are: "I don't, I don't, I don't know." Anyone else think the end part sounds a lot like "Fool in the Rain"?
  • Paul from Columbia, Scgood song. great guitar, and lyrics
  • Melanie from Seattle, Wathis song never ceases to amaze me.
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiI love that beginning line, "We've done four already, but now we're steady, and then they went, one, two, three, four!" It is hilarious.
  • Tadi from Mitrovica, Ali love this song, i love this song, i love this song, i love this song...there is nothing to discust.
  • Bill from Topeka, Ksbonham is awsome in the begining
  • Robert from Snellville, GaMany have commented on the squeak in Bonham's kick drum pedal. Actually, this can be heard in virtually all of Led Zeppelin songs as Bonham is famous for using the Ludwig Speedking pedal which is quite notorious for its squeak. It is still made and sold by Ludwig and it still has the famous squeak.

    Check out "Since I've Been Loving You" for a very clear and easy to hear example.

    I'm currently learning this on my Les Paul... it seemed very difficult at first, but it is coming along nicely now. The trick is to slow it down in ProTools and play each solo over and over while learning it. The guitar solos are very cool... it is awesome to watch the DVD which includes this song... it helped me to see how Page fingered the G chord in the riff...

    I saw Zeppelin in Atlanta in '73... I remember this song in particular as Page strutted on stage "kicking" his bell bottoms during the main solos...

    Does Page worship the Devil? Or is it just a lot of publicity stirring smoke and mirrors...
  • Echo from Normalville, Mayou can tell why dave grohl loves this stuff!
  • Jacob Huffman from Rancho Cucamonga, CaAWESOME song love it
  • Toni from Cedar Rapids, IaThis song is one of Plant's best vocal works.
  • Mark from Worcester, MiI think I read Bonham played a big part of writing this one. That's maybe why it got included over the song Houses of the Holy maybe? For some reason I think I heard it came down to those two on the final album track cut.
  • Perry from Detroit, MiGreat Song....Raw....sounded great live...saw the 73 tour and it was one of the nights best
  • Donnie from Lambsburg, VaI love this song, I only recently got the album version of the song and had only heard the HTWWW version. I love them both, but Plant's voice on the album version just gives me chills. This is definitely my favorite Led Zeppelin song.

    As far as the many things that people have said are in this song, all I have heard is Bonham at the beginning; Bonham and Jones harmonizing; the riff at the three count; and Plant saying "I'm sorry." I've strained to hear the phone ring and just can't.

    And for the first verse, it sounds to me like: "I got a date, I can't be late, for the hell I'm headin' for."
  • John from Ridley, PaI thought it went like this......

    Singing in the sunshine, laughing in the rain Hitting on the moonshine, rocking in the grain Got no time to pack my bag, my foots outside the door I Got a date, I can't be late, CAUSE ITS HELL IM HEADED FOR
  • Dylan from Front Royal, VaI can hear Bonzo talking in the beginning, I can hear the squeak, I can hear the phone ring, and the doo wop and the I'm sorry, but I think those last two are supposed to be in the song not some accident. But I need some help on these other things, for you people with loud speakers when you hear the guitar riff while Bonzo is saying "We've done 4 already..ect" it sounds as though that faint little guitar bit is played along with the song under the regular sound guitar riff I could just be crazy. And also at 1:53 Is that JPJ and Bonzo "aahing" in the background or is it Plant? Anyways this is my first post and I am a led head so tell me what you think.
  • Kay from Westminster, CaI love watching Jimmy Page play this song in the Led Zeppelin DVD.Notice his little moves he pulls when he is playing,amazing!
  • Thomas from Staten Island, NyI was just wondering if anyone could give me an exact or approximate time that JPJ and Bonzo start singing "doo wop".
  • Ed from Ottawa, CanadaThe hidden little sounds in this song are immensely entertaining. They give you a vision of what zeppelin was really like.
  • 2morrow from Denver, CoThe music is sort of Jethro Tull, song Hymn 43..
  • Phil from Woodbridge, VaThe live guitar solo is waaay better then the regular one. It was absolutly perfect. I cant stop watching it!
  • Mandy from CalgaryWoahh... dude! You can actually hear all of the stuff mentioned. The squeaky bass drum, the phone ringing, and even the "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry", that was mentioned. And I dont know if I am just crazy, or not, but if you listen REAL close, it seems that after Plant says the "I'm sorry's", he hums along with the doo whops and he kind of goes "whoo hoo hoo hoo" along with them. I'm not sure. Someone else listen and tell me if I am crazy or not. But I think he does.

    Any-ways, GREAT song! Definitly goes on my top ten list of my favourite Zeppelin songs. It's perfect in every single way. Great guitar riff!
  • Jt from Tullahoma, TnI'm so high now. I'm listening to this song and it's so cool
  • Zac from Cornwall, CanadaI know its off topic but Black Dog's name came from a homeless dog roaming around the studio that Led Zeppelin was recording in, they needed a name for a song, so picked Black Dog...Good Choice Guys..
  • Ryan from Ashland, Orbonhams bass drum squeeks the entire song. listin closley
  • Ryan from Ashland, Orummmm Joseph, North Bellmore, NY, zep never played in 76
  • Joseph from Chicago, IlI Love this Song. It's so cool because it has so many things to listen closely for, The Phone, The Doo-Wops, The Squeaky Drums, When John Bonam Says "Three"in the intro, you can hear the main riff of the song if you listen closely, and at 3:40 Plant starts saying I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry, I'm Sorry, Yeah, and probably alot more things that I don't know.
  • Joseph from North Bellmore, NyWhen Robert Plant broke his leg in a car crash,
    (I think it was in Greece), he was sent into a
    ward with other patients and one of them happened to be singing it when he was brought in.
    Supposedly it Freaked him out. I saw Zep twice
    1976 Nassau Coliseum + 1977 Madison Square Garden.
    They didn't play it either time. My loss.
  • Jesse from Toronto, CanadaThis song is awesome. The first lead is the first one I ever learned to play. Coincidentally, I played this at a surpruse gig a few hours ago (not knowing we were playing it till I got there) and disapponted myself. I'll do better next time, Jimmy, I promise
  • Jake from Lexington, Kyapril 20th is national pot smokers day. on 4:20 plant says "oh so good" i just thought that was cool
  • Devon from Westerville, OhI love this song. The main riff is one of my favorites from Jimmy. A classic song.
  • Jordan from Shokan, NyAWESOME i finally heard the phone ring. for anyone that cant hear it, listen for a really high pitched almost hissing sound, its there.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai LOVE THIS SONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Josh from North Branford, Ctwhen Bonham says we've dont four already and now we're steady, he is refering to their albums I believe because The Ocean was on Houses of the Holy and before that album, 4 Zeppelin albums where already made....i dont know if this is correct but just what i thought.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Caoh the stage makes sense. because like in the dvds the people seriously are like waves on the stage. i never really understood how it was about the fans looking like an ocean until i saw the dvd...how they come up in waves with their arms on the stage...so cool...i wish i was there. and if the stage is a mountain, its like the mountain (stage) washed away. which makes sense.
  • Jordan from Shokan, Nyone of my favorite songs ever, awesome.
  • John from Monvtille, NjIn my opinion, the ending of this song is one of the most beautiful intrumentations I've ever heard from Led Zeppelin.
  • Jeremy from Marlboro, NjThe mountains are the stage. Robert used to sing on the mountains to the ocean, but now he sings to his daughter.
  • Matt from Brandon, CanadaOne Of Zep's Best, Jimmy Page makes this song what it is. This is also a very underated song.
  • Jo-c from Lima, PeruThe ending rules!
  • Chad from Reading, PaSometimes while singing "She's only 3 years old" live he would change it to "Carmen's only 4 years old" (this being in '73 of course when she was 4) The version on the DVD would be like that but Jimmy edited that part with a vocal part from one of the other 2 nights of that 3 night stand in MSG. My favorite version of this song is most likely June 2, 1973 at Kezar Stadium in San Fransisco.
  • Morgaine from Calgary, CanadaThis is a great song, one of my favourites by Zeppelin. My theory about the 'We've done four already,' part is that they accidentally recorded it onto the record, but ended up leaving it. JPJ's bassline at the end is perfect.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai always thought the mountains were like obstacles. you know because they're obstacles like mountains...i thought it meant all the stuff that got in the way of his singing. and then the ocean washed the mountains away.
  • Moocakes from San Gabriel, Cathanks jeremy. i thought i was hearing things.
  • Patrick from Alpine, NjThe song is about the fans and the audience of Led Zeppelin. "i used to sing to the mountains has the ocean lost its way?" this is symbolicly refering to how their crowds were once small and quiet liek the mountains but since they gained so much talent they became loud and would roar as the oceans do
  • Jeremy from Warren , RiIf you listen to the intro of this one while Bonham is giving his intro count listen closely and youll hear Jimmy Page play the Ocean riff at like warp speed before the real riff comes in to start the song, you gotta do it with head phones its very cool!
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cao yeah and i'm determined to sing songs until night turns into day like in the song. you know just sit around all night with nothing but friends and led zeppelin until sunrise.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cayes i knew that was about his daughter!
  • Congo from Pittsburgh, Pai think ya'll might be missing one of the more important aspects of this song....what is plant really saying at 47-49 seconds....it sure isn't high hopes hailla ball....it sounds more like hell hounds, or hell has opened its doors or something....what is a high hope hailla ball anyway.....??!!!
  • Theseus from Seattle, WaI used to hear that phone ringing when I had the headphones on. I would take them off and couldn't figure out why I thought I heard the phone. Then one day I realized it was on the recording.

    I always thought the count was in reference to the number of albums they had released.

    For you pot heads, I don't recall the term 420 being used in the 70's. Give it a rest.
  • Travis from Rocky Mount, NcHaha, I noticed the "doo-wop" thing today for the first time, and i came on here to see if it had been mentioned. This is a great song. I always thought it was an audio sampling or something at the beginning, not Bonham the Almighty. Awesome. I always scare my frineds who are listening to this the first time, because they say (I can't hear anything" so I tell them to get their ear right up next to the speaker... hilarious right around 'four'. Same with "In The Flesh?" by Pink Floyd.
  • Jaydm from Brisbane, Australiaonly good at madison square gardden in 1973 page is god
  • Robert from Cold Spring Harbor, Nythe line by bonham in the beginning, "weve got four already, and now were ready, and then they went" is the drum beat. Every fourth word the snare drum is hit. On "already", "ready", and "went"
  • Kenny from Tuscaloosa, Al"Oh it's so good" comes in at 3:32 from "How The West Was Won". The song does end at 4:19 (including crow cheering). Think there are any drug references with that? (that is a tongue in cheek question).
  • Dustin from My Home, Inin the dvd robert plant says 'now im singin all my songs to the girl who won my heart she is only 4 years old now thats a real fine way to start' but in the cd he says'now im singin all my songs to the girl who won my heart she is only 3 years old now thats a real fine way to start'
  • Simon from Fairfield, Ct420 is what the cops used as their code for marijuana it wasnt college kids. They changed this because so many people learned it.
  • Erik from Newport News, VaIs is just me, or can you hear voices in the background during this song?
  • Nelson from Durham, NcMaybe its just me but i hear bonham saying "we've done four already but now we're steady and then they went 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Alec from Salisbury, Mdwow this is an awesome song
  • Josh from Montrose, Miplayed in Madison Square Garden in 1973.
  • Mike from Garden City, NySomeone asked what the mountains meant, and I think they are talking about the media, not sure though.
    Love this song.
  • Chris from Atlanta, GaIn the beginning bonzo says "we have done four already but now we are steady and now we are set one two three four"
  • Mason from Greenville, NcBy the way, for the potheads: Technically Plant says "So good" at 4:21.
  • Mason from Greenville, NcThanks Bob
  • Bob from Chicago, InWe've done 4 already but now we're steady, and then they went one two three four
  • Mason from Greenville, NcDoes anybody know what Bonzo is saying at the beginning? His accent is hard for us stupid Americans to understand. :)
  • Anonymous from Electric LadylandNow I'm no pothead, but I know what 420 means, and it's not college kid's code for pot, it's the police code.
  • Brendan from Eureka, Cahey caitlin-if u really want to know, the phone ring in "the ocean" is precisely at 1:38, and ends at around 1:42. As for the pedal sqeak, it pretty much is overridden by a cymbal crash, at 3:57. Great song, and can play it on drums-
  • Chris from Whitesboro, NyThis is an awesome guitar riff but here's a way to make it sound more interesting: If you have an electric violin, play the riff before the vocal solo on it like you would on guitar, but use a pen cap as a pick. It's basically a reverse scale starting on a G# on the D string:
    G#G#G#G#-FFFF-EflatDEflat-G#G#G#G#-Full String Slide starting on Eflat. It sounds really good when played just over tempo.
  • Jon from Roeland Park, KsAt the end of the song, Page's guitar mimics a '50s style (which would go with the "Doo Wops" we hear, of course.) The '50s seemed like ancient history back when I first heard this song, but Page was no farther removed from the '50s than we are from grunge, really.
  • Caitlin from Philadelphia, PaI've never been able to hear the phone ring...or John Bonham's drum pedal squeak at 3:57.
  • Jesse from Enfield, Ct420 was a codeword for a group of college kids who used to smoke weed at 420 in the afternoon everyday. 420 is what they refered to grass as, so it didn't atract attention. so its not a national drug day, but stoners across the globe honor those great men on april 20th every year, by smoking pot.
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Oh420 is another name for weed (marijuana.)
  • Nate from Buffalo, Nywhat does 420 have to do w/ pot?
  • Paulo from New York, NyGuess this must've been written in 1971 as Carmen Plant would be 3 years at that time, if I'm not mistaken.
  • Jonathan from Ann Arbor, MiYeah Thomas, it does use 15/8, but the song is more commenly written as a measure of 4/4, and a measure of 7/8. Anyways. This was one of the first songs that my band learned and it has grown to be one of my alltime favorites. It's so catchy.
  • Brian from Mayfield Heights, Ohamazing, amazing song. My favorite song on the bast Zep album ever
  • Colin from Cow Town, CanadaYep, at 4:20 he says "Oh it's so good". For those who don't know 4/20 is the national drug day.
  • Adrian from Wilmington, DeA Zeppelin classic, I love it!
  • Allen from Superior, Wiha ha your right ryan
  • Ryan from Reedsport, OrCall me a pothead, but at 4:20 he says "Oh so good".
  • Rita from Sudbury, Maif the crowd/fans are the ocean - then who were the mountains?
  • Brian from Paoli, InThe main guitar riff in "I'm Broken" by Pantera, is an interpretation of the guitar riff in this song.
  • Jim from Bethlehem, PaDuring the lead break, you can actually hear a phone ringing in the studio
  • Thomas from Pittsburgh, PaUses the unusual 15/8 time signature, which gives it a rushed feel.
see more comments