Led Zeppelin I

All transcriptions taken from Jeff Lybarger's Song of the Day Webpage!

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LZ IV

 

"Good Times Bad Times"
The very beginning. Led Zeppelin, track one, clocking in at 2:43, "Good Times Bad Times". A jolting intro that is instantly recognizable, then Jimmy lets loose with one of those riffs only he could come up with. A very listener-friendly chorus that anyone can sing along with, and amazing musicianship throughout. All this on the very first cut of the very first album. Those who called the band "hype" obviously weren't listening. John Bonham's playing on this song has been praised by great drummers everywhere, and what a treat it is. Check out the bridge and chorus sections, he's playing a rhythm totally different than Pagey or Jones, and yet the thing WORKS. His quick fills and little stutters really stand out and separate him from any other drummer around. John Paul is equally impressive, playing with AND against Jimmy. Too bad the bass is the instrument that gets so buried in music, close listening shows the talent in this band was spread throughout. And then there's Jimmy. The riff master strutting his stuff and playing some amazing lead work, just listen to the licks he spews forth at the end of the song, following Robert's vocals. When he bends a note you can feel the intensity burning through his fingers. For all that actually goes on in this short (by Zep standards) song, it amazes me this was written and recorded so early in their career. Most bands take four or five albums to get to this point, Zeppelin were there from day one. Hype? Hardly. Magic? Indeed.! This was just the starting point, but in this one song they laid the groundwork for all that was to come. A truly inspiring moment in the Zeppelin catalog. Till tomorrow.... Rock On,

"Babe I’m Gonna Leave You"
Picture for a moment that you are standing at the edge of a cliff, a majestic sunrise breaking through the sky as the dawn of a new day gently kisses the ocean. Overhead, birds fly lazily about calling to each other in a language that only they understand. You can smell the pure beauty of nature and taste the salt from the ocean spray as all your senses are awakened in one dramatic moment. You are standing at the threshold of something exciting and new. You may not be quite certain what it is exactly, but it most definitely feels right. As if perfection had placed her hand upon your cheek.

If you are in the mood for a journey that will examine the very roots of such a time, then join me won’t you, as we drift along, together, back to the very first album released by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham; Led-Zeppelin. It is side one of the LP, track two, clocking in at 6:40 of pure bliss and wonderful foreshadowing, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.

It is impossible now, in 2006, to try and imagine a time when only one Led-Zeppelin album existed. Yet, that is what I am going to ask you to do right now. In your world right now only nine songs represent this group. Nine songs. Now try and imagine you have just purchased this album, either because a friend suggested it, or a disc jockey on the radio was singing its praises. You have just listened to the first track, a good rock number titled Good Times Bad Times. Oh sure, you are familiar with Jimmy Page and his prior work. You have a couple of Yardbirds albums, and the name John Paul Jones rings a slight bell, though you aren’t really sure how it is that you know his name. These other two members of the group though are unknown. You noticed on the first track that the drummer has some skill and you appreciate the singers range, but you are still trying to take this all in.

And then it happens; you find yourself standing at the edge of the cliff. Everything you have come to know about music is about to change. The rules are about to be broken. You aren’t sure why, can’t really place your finger on it, but this band is on to something. And that something is really special.

From the heavy rock and blistering guitar solos found on track one, you now are surrounded by a lone, acoustic guitar. The music is sad; the feel of the piece is one of terrible longing. Just like that you are transported to another experience; one of a completely different origin than on the first track. You find yourself being pulled in, as if a voice is beckoning you. The notes linger in the air, the melancholy echo of their cry calls out to you. Completely powerless you succumb to their will as if in a trance.

Babe…baby, baby I’m gonna leave you
I said baby…you know I’m gonna leave you
I'm…leave you when the summer time
Leave you when the summer comes a rollin’
Leave you when the summer comes along

Suddenly, without warning, everything just explodes, catching you quite off your guard. With nothing more than an acoustic guitar, bass and drums the song ascends to a perfect outpouring of emotion. This band is tight. Everything about this track tells you that something exciting and new is taking place. This music, this breaking of all the musical rules, makes you feel very much alive. But what is it? These guys are pushing the very limits here. You haven’t heard anybody try anything like this. Why? From the sad and subtle acoustic guitar to the full band in unison breaking through any and all barriers that have been in place prior, this band with this album, are out to prove a point.

It suddenly dawns on you; you have heard this song before. It was Joan Baez. Suffice to say, Ms. Baez’s version is absolutely nothing like this. There is a general feeling pulsing through your veins that says; this is how music should be played.

Babe…babe…babe…babe…babe…babe…baby
Baby I wanna leave you
I ain’t joking woman I’ve got to ramble
Oh yeah…
Baby…baby
I’ll be leaving
Really got to ramble
I can hear it callin’ me the way it used to do I can hear it callin’ me back home…

The roller coaster ride of emotion continues with the music swelling, lifting you up in one instant, and gently bringing you back down in the next. The drummer, John Bonham, has proven in two songs just how amazing he is. Here, his controlled outbursts never fail to lift the song up and give it wings. He plays with power and precision, but he also displays a keen sense of feel. This guy isn’t just about the power.

Jimmy plays some sparse yet effective single note lines that really pierce the soul of this song. The pain, the anguish, the feeling of longing, these things are all present in his guitar artistry. At one point he even plays a few lines on slide guitar, utilizing all the weapons available to deliver a masterpiece.

Robert Plant is nothing short of awe inspiring during this performance. Not only his vocal range, but his control and the ability to express much emotion are staggering. Considering his young age at this time it is really a great testament to his abilities and what he offers musically within the group.

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You was Led-Zeppelin standing at the edge of the cliff. This is the song that gave fair warning to all. This was the song that hinted, ever so powerfully, of what was to come. It represented the light and shade, the heavy and soft, the whisper to a scream; all these would later evolve into the trademark sound of Led-Zeppelin. This song, their delivery and use of dynamics, was the prelude to later Zeppelin masterpieces. Everything from Thank You to Gallows Pole to Over The Hills and Far Away to The Rain Song to Ten Years Gone and yes, to the one song that lifted the band to their greatest heights, Stairway To Heaven.

It all started here, on side one of their first album, track two. They proved with this track that they were willing, and quite able, to take chances that others wouldn’t, or couldn’t, take. You see, it’s not like every band could just whip out a tune like this. It takes great imagination for one, but it also takes tremendous talent. Most bands lack the talent to pull off a number like this. With Led-Zeppelin, talent was one of the many things they had an abundance of.

During their first two tours Zeppelin performed this number. Sadly it was dropped after that. It wasn’t until Robert and Jimmy reunited in 1994 for the No Quarter album and subsequent tour that the track was revived. There are some amazing bootlegs of the Japan tour in early 1996 with this track a staple in their set. On their 1998 Walking Into Clarksdale tour the duo again chose to revisit this number. One interesting note; in the live versions that took place from the mid-1990’s on Jimmy would conclude the song by teasing the crowd with the intro to Stairway.

It is really quite difficult to describe properly just how incredible this song is in the hand of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Certainly the version on Led-Zeppelin has stood the test of time. It helped set a precedent that would later define Led-Zeppelin. They took the musical bar and raised it several notches with their rendition. But as amazing as the studio version is, their live versions are always a wild ride too. I was so happy to see them dust this classic song off and offer it up to their fans in the 1990’s, particularly since so many of those fans never had the opportunity to experience Led Zeppelin perform this.

Even now, as Robert reinvents himself yet again with Strange Sensation he performs this number. In a live setting Robert tends to drift into new territory whenever he plays this. Always expanding the song, always stretching the boundaries, always pushing the envelope.

Do yourself a favour and pick out one of your favourite versions of Zeppelin, or Page/Plant or Robert solo, and go revisit this song. The journey will be exciting and exhilarating, and you just may find yourself feeling as if you are there, at the edge of the cliff, with arms open wide, ready to welcome the dawn of something new, something special.

"You Shook Me"
YOU SHOOK ME... ALLLLLLLALLLLLLLALLLLLLLLLLLALLLLLLLLLALLLLLLLLALLLLLLLLLLLALLLLLLLLALLLLLLLL NIGHT..LAHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNG. Well, no denying what today's song is, huh? So let's jump right into it. From the very first Led Zeppelin album, track three, clocking in at 6:30, the Willie Dixon classic, "You Shook Me".

A major tour-de-force to be quite sure. Steeped in the blues, every member of the group absolutely shines on this one. Jimmy starts things off with an acapella guitar intro, then Bonzo and Jonsey enter into the fray. Zep pounding out the blues for all it's worth, grooving on that steady beat. This ain't your mommy and daddy's blues, this is HEAVY blues baby.

"You know you shook me
you shook me all night long..."

Yes, tell it Robert. All of what, 20 years old when he sang this. Bleeding amazing vocals. Willie Dixon must have freaked when he heard what these Brits had done to his song. Oh well, he got paid for it.

"You shook me so...
hard baby...
baby baby please come home..."

Who doesn't just love this stuff? It's so simple, yet so effective. After the "bird that whistles, bird that sings" line Jonsey treats us to a wonderful organ jam. Bluesy and pouring with emotion, then Robert blasts in on the harmonica. With his own vocals beckoning in the background, Percy shows he can jam on that little wind instrument.

As Robert bows out, Jimmy steps in and rips some killer licks out of his Telecaster. Not the cliché` licks one tends to hear, but his own. Jimmy's personal blues licks. Then there is that one note, at 4:16, man, the way that note just hovers there, it chills me every time.

Bonham shows his blues chops in fine form, getting in some cool fills of his own, but mostly keeping a steady foot, supplying the BEAT. Notice how during the solo's of Jonsey and Robert he never overplays, then when Jimmy steps in he explodes and goes off. As if Jimmy was truly inspiring him at that precise moment. Magic caught on tape.

Finally we get to that famous call and response section. Robert: Ah Ah. Jimmy doubles it on the guitar. Back and forth, back and forth, Jimmy changing it up, then another beautifully suspended note, then Robert's orgasmic cry... Oh God, here we go again. Zeppelin were the masters at PERFORMING sex in a song. Not just singing about it, but making the listener feel as if they had just experienced a great encounter.

Live, this was always a standout song. Performed on all the 1968/69 tours save from the last 1969 trek. Played during 1971/72 as a medley with "Whole Lotta Love". The boots from the early tours that I have all include killer versions of "...Shook...", they never failed to bring down the house with this, especially the call and response part, Robert teasing the crowd, extending things. This has to be included on any live Zep compilation. In 1975, at Earl's Court, and in the 1977 shows that featured "In My Time Of Dying" it was also featured as a slight reprise at the end of "Dying".

An absolutely awesome track from Zeppelin. Blues. Heavy. Great musicianship. Sex. It's all there. Check this one out immediately, it never fails to thrill.

"Dazed And Confused"
When it comes to EPIC Led Zeppelin songs, what good would it be if we didn't have a little bit of controversy? Today‟s song – as well as the next two – all have controversy hanging over them, but as I have stated prior, the versions of this - and the following two songs - are just so good and so superior to their original incarnations that you cannot deny the fact that Zeppelin brought so much more to these tunes than anyone, even the original writers/performers, could possibly do.

So with that said, let‟s jump into our version of the Doc Brown DeLorean and go back in time to “Led Zeppelin” – the first album – and a track clocking in at 6:26, the closing track on side one, the labyrinth of Page and his guitar explorations, “Dazed & Confused.”

By now, everyone should know the story of Jake Holmes and his album “The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes.” Jake had a song on that album titled “Dazed And Confused” and in 1967 he opened a show for The Yardbirds, who were so impressed with the song that they decided to work up their own version, calling it “I‟m Confused” and employing a lengthy Page violin bow solo section. One The Yardbirds broke up, Jimmy introduced this to Plant/Jones/Bonham and rewrote the lyrics {or Robert did, but as he was under contract to a different company at the time, he couldn't be “credited” as writing any songs on “Zep I”} and changed the melody just enough but did restore the original title to “Dazed & Confused.”

So… now that we have all of that out of the way, let‟s dive into this song and cover the plethora of reasons why it is such an EPIC Led Zeppelin song.

John Paul‟s descending bass riff begins the song and is another in a long line of instantly recognizable riffs in the Zeppelin catalog. When Page enters with harmonics, wah-wah and bent notes behind the nut, the song takes on an eerie disposition and leaves the listener guessing as to what is going to happen next.

Over their career Zeppelin made it a habit of taking a song that starts off slowly and then building it up, speeding it up, until it just explodes in a way that was totally unexpected and “Dazed & Confused” is really the start of that process. I know that “Babe, I‟m Gonna Leave You” was the second song on the album and thus, appeared before “Dazed,” but that song never picks up the steam that “Dazed” does, nor does it rock out as hard or as energetic either.

When Plant enters, his voice is filled with emotion, angst and vengeance. It amazes me that Robert was just past his 20th birthday when this song was recorded; the power and - just as important - the control - he had in his voice, is far beyond his years. It truly was, just as Jimmy Page once said, like another instrument in the band.

Been dazed and confused
For so long it’s not true
Wanted a woman
Never bargained for you
Lots of people talking
Few of them know
Soul of a woman
Was created below
Yeah…

The band kicks in with that eerie riff, Page‟s over-dubbed guitar doubling the riff an octave higher as Bonham provides some interesting drum bits and John Paul‟s bass continues looming large over the entire ensemble.

You hurt and abuse
Telling all of your lies
Run ‘round sweet baby
Lord, how they hypnotize
Sweet little baby
I don’t know where you been
Gonna love you baby
Here I come again

At this point Jimmy kicks in with a monstrous riff before it settles back into the eerie part, but Bonham‟s drumming during this section is more varied and more exciting than the first time through as he constantly adds new things and pushes the band forward.

Every day I work so hard
Bringing home my hard-earned pay
Try to love you baby
But you push me away
Don’t know where you’re goin’
Only know just where you been
Sweet little baby I want you again

More of the monstrous Page riff and then we get something new; another rather menacing section where Plant adds several “Ah” vocal bits in, basically a call and response between him and Jimmy‟s guitar. This is the first track to feature Jimmy playing the violin bow on his guitar in the studio on a Led Zeppelin song and would prove to be one of the legendary Page trademarks throughout his career.

During this entire call and response - bowed guitar section, the interplay between Jonsey and Bonham is fantastic, proving even in the very earliest of Zeppelin‟s days, these two had forged an extremely tight musical bond.

After several moments of this segment, everything just erupts as Jimmy takes off on a rapid-fire solo with Bonham the driving force behind him. Beginning at the 4:57 mark Bonham just dominates the song until at 5:02 Jimmy takes over with that tremendous riff again as John Paul echoes him on the bass. Bonham kicks back in at 5:06 and joins the riff section before they once again settle into the groove with Jimmy‟s overdubbed guitars and again, Bonham is simply amazing throughout this section which eventually leads us back to Plant.

Been dazed and confused
For so long it’s not true
Wanted a woman
Never bargained for you
Take it easy baby
Let them say what they will
Will your tongue wag so much
When I send you the bill?

Then we get the huge climax as Robert gives us several “Oh” moments as Page stabs at his guitar and plays some vicious licks in the process, Bonham keeps building and building until everything comes to a sudden halt as Jimmy‟s guitar rings out and the song fades into the night.

Six minutes and twenty-six seconds of pure Led Zeppelin bliss. Jake Holmes may have come up with the initial seed for this song, but it was Led Zeppelin who took those seeds and produced a beautiful rose. It was an amazing statement on their debut album and over the course of their career; this was one of the songs that defined the band.

They played this live on every tour from the very beginning until the first two weeks of the 1975 tour, when it was dropped because Page had injured a finger and he couldn't properly play this piece. Once the digit was healed, the song returned to the set on 3 February in the fabled Madison Square Garden in New York City.

From 1977 on, they dropped “Dazed” from the set, but Page still employed the violin bow solo. To describe the many different versions that “Dazed” took on in the live settings would be an impossible task. Plant would often add lyrics from other songs like “Woodstock” or “San Francisco” and Page/Bonham/Jones would get into jams, sometimes very lengthy jams, that would produce riffs and ideas that later became “The Crunge” and “Walter‟s Walk.”

“Dazed And Confused” was an EPIC in every sense of the word and on the stage it grew to length‟s that would be unimaginable by today‟s standards. The version on “The Song Remains The Same” soundtrack was 26:53 and that‟s not even close to being the longest version they played.

And whilst I can certainly appreciate the great jams that grew out of this song, and as a guitarist can most definitely understand the desire to get lost in the music and let it take you to destinations unknown… I stand adamantly by my statement that the live versions of this were just too damn long.

To give an example of where I am coming from in my view of this song on the live stage, let me just say that I am a huge fan of Randy Rhoads. Now I know there may be some Zeppelin fans that aren't fans of Randy but that would probably be because they just don‟t care for Ozzy. Nevertheless, Randy was a phenomenal talent and a truly wonderful guitarist. In Ozzy‟s live show Randy would take a solo during “Suicide Solution” and that solo would cover a LOT of ground… from rock, to metal, to melodic and beautiful, to outright shredding at the end and he would do all of this in under three minutes… typically it was just over two minutes.

The point being, Randy - and Ozzy - understood that playing actual SONGS was more important than showing off as soloist, and this is why they did things the way they did; the important part was the band and playing the songs on their albums.

And when I look through the massive Zeppelin catalog and see how many songs were never played live, or how many songs were played live only for one tour or less, it just pains me to see these overly long pieces when so many other great songs could have been played instead.

I also know the argument that some will make about the jams and how could I be against something so spontaneous? And I do get that argument, but I would counter that with this; instead of getting a long jam that would include a small sampling of “Walter‟s Walk,” wouldn't you have rather heard a 10 minute version of “Dazed,” as well as “Immigrant Song,” “When The Levee Breaks,” “Walter‟s Walk,” “Out On The Tiles,” “Hey Hey What Can I Do” “Four Sticks” and “The Rover?” How cool would some of their later tours have been with those songs included instead of the near 30 minute versions of “Dazed” or 25+ minute versions of “Moby Dick?”

And those are just a few examples… believe me, there are many other songs they never played live that could have been added in the 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 and 1980 tours as well as the Copenhagen and Knebworth shows in 1979. If I am alone in this thought, then so be it, but I have to believe there are others who would agree.

As mentioned earlier, the violin bow became a Page trademark and Jimmy used it during tours with The Firm when he brought it out for “The Chase.” During the Outrider Tour he again used it for “The Chase” and played the entire last section of “Dazed & Confused,” from the ripping guitar solo on.

In 2007, when the remaining members reunited with Jason Bonham at the O2, they played a beautiful version of “Dazed…” as Robert said: „There are certain songs that have to be there… and uh, and this is one of them.” That version was much shorter than the ones they played in the 1970‟s and was much more fitting in my opinion.

My favorite versions of this song live are the very early ones; there was just something magical about seeing Jimmy playing his Dragon Telecaster and keeping this song in the 10-12 minute range. I absolutely love the first version on “BBC Sessions” which was, obviously, the shorter of the two versions, in this case, some 12 minutes shorter than the second version on disc two.

One thing that cannot be denied, whether you agree with me or not, is that Led Zeppelin took this song to heights that nobody else could have dreamed of. Watching The Yardbirds on You Tube play this is a bit frustrating; you really miss Plant‟s amazing vocal, Jonsey's impeccable and adventurous bass and Bonham‟s thunderous drumming. And in watching them, I really get the sense of just how special and precious Led Zeppelin was.

Don't take that wrong, it‟s not like I've never fully appreciated Zeppelin, rather, I just became so accustomed to hearing their songs played to perfection that seeing another band play one of their songs – even a band with Page in it – just left me wanting more.

The magic that was Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham and Jimmy Page was something that we may never see again. They truly were a special group of musicians who produced some of rock‟s most epic moments.

"Your Time Is Gonna Come"
Well, here I am after a restful night of sleep. And how are you all doing today? Hope this finds you well. This morning we will take a look back at the very first album, Led Zeppelin. A classic debut, stunning performance and awesome songs. Just a hint at what was to come. Choice of the day is track 5, clocking in at 4:41, "Your Time Is Gonna Come".

Well, it's just about time we feature a song that spotlights John Paul. The intro of this song is worth the price of admission in itself. God, to have some of the studio outtakes of this. Jonsey embellishing some very beautiful "church-type" organ. This man was/is so talented, one can only imagine what he would add to Page/Plant.

Remember the first time you heard this track? This came out of nowhere. Following "Dazed...", it was completely unexpected. As John Paul works his magic Bonham kicks in and reminds us, yes, this is a rock band. Jimmy plays acoustic and adds a nice pedal steel guitar to accent and compliment the overall feel.

And then there's Robert. 20 years old and he could sing like THAT? Mercy. Those lyrics are so heartfelt. Something Robert doesn't get enough credit for, his emotionalism in his voice.

"Lyin', cheatin', hurtin'
that's all you seem to do
messin' around with every guy in town
puttin' me down for thinking of someone new


Always the same, playin' your game
drive me insane...
trouble's gonna come to you


One of these days and it won't be long
you'll look for me but baby, I'll be gone


This is all I gotta say to ya woman..."

Does it actually get any better than this? The very young Plant expressing his emotions for all to see, and that voice, so clear, so bluesy, so Robert! Led Zeppelin were all about taking chances, and if you think about it this was the first time they did that. This doesn't rock out like "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", the chorus picks up and Bonham plays some amazing fills, but they basically keep it mellow through out.

It's weird, but as long as I've loved Zeppelin and have known these songs, when I write this little column I find myself really appreciating the music so much more. Hope it's the same for you the reader.

The lads only played this track live on the first tour. Showed up in a "Whole Lotta Love" medley in Tokyo in 1971. Would be a great addition to future Page/Plant tours... but only if John Paul Jones was there to participate. Listen to this song if you get the chance, a really special offering from the platter.

"Black Mountain Side"
Today‟s song originally was released on Led Zeppelin‟s debut album, side two, track two, clocking in at just 2:12; the beautiful and eerie “Black Mountain Side.” It was also issued on “Box Set I” as “White Summer/Black Mountain Side,” and that one clocked in at 8:01. So, either grab your copy of “Zep I,” or disc one of “Box Set” one, as we take a look inside Jimmy‟s instrumental showpiece for much of his touring career.

Before we dive into these two numbers, one thing must be addressed; Jimmy did not write either of these songs. Despite what the credits say on “Led Zeppelin I” or “Box Set” one, both of these songs were traditional Irish folk songs. “Black Mountain Side” was originally known as “Down By Blackwaterside” and later became known simply as “Black Waterside” when guitar legend Bert Jansch recorded it on his 1966 album, “Jack Orion.” On that album, Jansch listed the credit as “traditional.”

“White Summer” was recorded and released in 1962 by Davey Graham, another great British guitarist, under the title that it had long been known as; “She Moved Through The Fair.” In fact, not only did Graham record a version that mirrors “White Summer” almost to a T, but it was Graham who invented the tuning that both of these songs are in; D-A-D-G-A-D.

If you‟re a longtime fan of Zeppelin then you already know about the numerous times they “borrowed” other artist‟s songs and/or lyrics. Plant borrowed heavily from Robert Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and other various blues singers. Page is also guilty of “borrowing” music – sometimes just a phrase or two – other times entire songs.

No matter how big of a fan you are, you simply cannot condone that type of behavior. That would be akin to me releasing an album with a Zeppelin song on it and claiming that I wrote it. Jimmy would have my butt in court so fast my head would be spinning. So, on that hand, I completely fail to understand how, or why, they chose to do these things, particularly when there were plenty of people who knew some of “their” music wasn't theirs.

On the other hand, every time Zeppelin did this, theirs has been better than the original. Now that doesn't excuse what they did, it just further proves their prowess as musicians. I don‟t believe that their legacy would have been any less renowned than it is now had they properly credited the artists they were so obviously influenced by.

I enjoy Davey Graham as a guitarist and Bert Jansch as well. I have a CD titled “The Art Of Finger style Guitar” and on that CD there are a plethora of artists and Graham has five songs included and Jansch has a beautiful track titled “Bridge” that must be heard to be believed.

However, despite my love for their music, I do favor Jimmy‟s version of these two songs over Graham and Jansch's versions. Perhaps it was becaushmmtI heard Jimmy‟s first, perhaps it‟s because Jimmy tends to play them with more of a rock feel; I don‟t reatitle know. But I do believe in giving proper credit when it‟s due, and in the case of “White Summer/Black Mountain Side,” that was not the case with Jimmy.

“White Summer” begins with some harmonics and then a simple picking pattern, a few sparse notes with Jimmy adding vibrato and bent notes for added effect. After he repeats this a couple of times the track takes off with some very fast picking, usually accompanied by Bonham keeping a steady beat behind him, but mostly staying out of the way.

The tuning on these songs gives the guitar a Dsus4 open sound, creating, as Page called it; „A very modal tuning, a sitar tuning, in fact!‟

“Black Mountain Side” is a fun piece, not only to listen to, but also to play. If you‟re a guitarist just starting out, it can be a bit tricky at first, but once you get it down it‟s just a total blast to play and to hear those special sounds emanating from your guitar.

On the first Zeppelin album Page used a Gibson J-200 acoustic guitar for the recording, but live he used the Danelectro guitar he‟s so well known for, with one exception being the Julie Felix show that he appeared on in 1970. For that performance he used a Gibson J-200 as well, and his playing was in really excellent form. It‟s a shame that Page never found, or doesn't own the rights to, the master tape of that performance, because that version would have been a very welcome addition to the Zeppelin “Box Set” or “Coda.”

Jimmy began performing “White Summer” in The Yardbirds and the song even appeared on two Yardbirds albums; “Little Games” and “Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page.” During Zeppelin‟s career he played the combination of “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” from the very beginning up to their fifth US tour in 1970. On the Led Zeppelin DVD, recorded at The Royal Albert Hall on Jimmy‟s birthday, you can hear traces of what would eventually become two sections of “Midnight Moonlight.” The song{s} then re-emerged for the 1977 US tour as well as the 1979 Copenhagen Warm-Up shows and Knebworth as well as their 1980 “Over Europe” tour.

Once Jimmy teamed up with Paul Rodgers for The Firm, this became a staple during the middle section of “Midnight Moonlight” during their 1984/85/86 tours and in 1988 on the Outrider Tour he again played this during “Midnight Moonlight.” In 1993, on the Coverdale/Page tour of Japan, he brought it back out as “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” and threw in pieces of other songs within the context of the piece, including “Over The Hills And Far Away” as well as “Kashmir” and “Midnight Moonlight.”

I have a theory that “Over The Hills,” which is in standard tuning, began life in this D-A-D-G-A-D tuning. The first picked notes in “White Summer” are the G string open, followed with a hammer on/ pull off on the second fret of the G string {3rd string} and then he plays the note on the 4th fret on the 4th string {D string}. “Over The Hills” begins the same way except he pulls off of that note on the 4th string, 4th fret {F#}.

It wasn't until the Coverdale/Page tour and hearing “Over The Hills” in this tuning mixed in with “White Summer/Black Mountain Side,” that I first realized that this was probably where he began writing that song. I don‟t have any concrete evidence to confirm this, but I do believe that Jimmy was playing around in this tuning one day and stumbled upon the seed for “Over The Hills.”

Even though Jimmy didn't write either “White Summer” or “Black Mountain Side,” he did write some pretty amazing songs utilizing this tuning. At the end of 1973 he began writing what we now know as “Kashmir” and during the sessions for Physical Graffiti he came out with “Swan Song,” later to be released as “Midnight Moonlight” with The Firm.

Personally, I love “White Summer/Black Mountain Side” as well as the songs that came after it that also employed this uniquely odd tuning. It was because of Page that I was introduced to the music of Davey Graham and Bert Jansch, and as a guitarist, I am eternally thankful for that. It was also through Jimmy and his use of the D-A-D-G-A-D tuning that I became aware of this way of tuning and playing the guitar. I have written a number of songs in this tuning and even all these years later, I still find it a very hypnotic tuning for the instrument that I love so much.

"Communication Breakdown"
I thought something very energetic would do quite nicely. A real barn burner this one, from the very first album, track seven, clocking in at a very short 2:26, "Communication Breakdown."

Jimmy comes out smoking with a muted riff, Bonham accenting the quick chord changes, and then everything explodes as Robert enters with a wild, primitive wail. The youthful energy in Robert's voice shines through, the band is practically flying right out of the speakers. One of Jimmy's first "riff oriented" songs, Jonsey and Bonham grasp a hold of this riff and rock it with all their might.

A simple song to play, yet the simplicity is what makes it so special. A few guitar overdubs added to the chorus, backing vocals from the band as well as Robert, but basically as live as live gets in the studio.

This song was developed on the very first tour, when they were billed as The New Yardbirds. Apparently Jimmy wanted a cookin' song of their own, something other than just a cover of "Train Kept A Rollin'." The mission was accomplished. This song rocks with no doubt.

John Henry Bonham is such a joy to listen here. His talent was there from the very beginning. What he plays seems simple enough, but with just the proper amount of subtleties thrown in that make it so fun.

Jimmy is riffing his rear end off, and after Robert yells, "Ohhhhhh Suck it", Pagey lays down one of his most awesome solo's. Full of fire, notes flying out of his Telecaster left and right, spot on, and the build up he plays behind the vocals when they re-enter for the chorus is simply incredible. This was an era where Jimmy was just about the fastest gun in the biz. On boots from the early tours he is all over the place, just wailing on that guitar. A hyper, frantic side of Jimmy that never fails to inspire tons of kids across the world to grab a guitar, sling it down low, and start working on those pentatonic licks.

A great song that was very well documented in concert by the band. Staring out with the New Yardbirds tour in September 1968, played at all the shows in 1969-70, moving to an encore, then as a medley. Used as an encore treat at the final Earl's Court show, as well as the August 11th Knebworth show, and at a few of the Europe 1980 shows.

"Communication Breakdown" was also played in Zeppelin's only appearance on live TV in the UK, in March of 1969. Robert brought it back out on his solo tours in 1988 and 1990 as well. Funny, because in 1988 while Robert was doing this song, Jimmy had revived "Train Kept A Rollin' " for his own solo tour.

A classic moment in Zeppelin's history that showed the band developing what would later become such a huge part of their style: A song built around a repeating riff. It's all here, great riff, great solo, great rhythm section, great vocals. Rock 'n' Roll summed up in 2:26.

Ohhh... suck...

"I Can't Quit You Baby"
Decisions, decisions, decisions. I gotta tell ya, sometimes I just don't know, I don't know, which way to go. Today's song had me asking the question, this version, or that version, this version, or that version, back and forth until I just couldn't take it no more. So I had to make an executive decision here at the Outrider offices, go with my heart, and pick the version that never fails to kick me right in the butt. So from the "Coda" album, track three, clocking in at 4:16, "I Can't Quit You Baby".

"I can't, quit you babe,
(Big crash as Bonzo, Jonsey and Page enter)
Woman I think I'm gonna put you down, for a little while...
I can't quit you babe,
I, I, I, think I'm gonna put you down for a while...

I said you messed up my happy heart,
(awesome Page lick here)
made me mistreat my, my one and only, only, only child..."

And so we glimpse the power of Led Zeppelin live. Some confusion has surfaced over this track, is it a sound check or from the actual show? Sounds like a sound check to me, but who really cares, the power, the Hammer of the Gods, is indeed present and accounted for on this one.

I'll take this one over the version from the first album any day. Bonzo is, to put it mildly, downright amazing, Jonsey's bass is very clear, and Jimmy sounds like a man on fire, licks blazing off his fingers and flying across the room with only one goal in mind: To blow us away. Robert's voice is quite good here, shifting from the intense highs, to the very cool low parts, always sounding so confident and full of sexual bravado.

"You build my hope's so high,
baby then you let me down so low...
You- ahhhhh ahhhhh, you build my hope's so high,
the you let me down, you let me down, you let me down so low...
Don't you realize sweet baby, woman I don't know,
I don't know which way to go..."

Jimmy takes off on one of his patented solo's, letting himself become engulfed in the moment. Starting off slow and B.B Kingish, then building up into a frenzy, racing across the fretboard, challenging the band to keep pace. Bonzo is right there with him, with Jonsey holding things down on the low end, and man, who could ask for anything more than this? Zeppelin burning through a blues song, and each one in the band playing his heart out.

This has to be one of the greatest teases of all time. Imagine a full album from the very early days, released in excellent sound quality, and burning with this intensity. Come on Robert, let Jimmy do it.

It's songs like this, when I listen to them on the first few tours that almost makes me forget about anything after the second album. Forget all the "huge" songs and albums that followed, give me the Led Zeppelin from 1968-1970, the young, hungry band that wailed on the blooze.

The ending is another Bonzo showcase, as he takes a short solo on the outro. God almighty, the way this man could play. Zeppelin performed this from the beginning in live settings. All the way up to 1970 on the fifth tour in America. In 1972-1973 they used it as a medley with "Whole Lotta Love" in Japan, the UK and Europe. A month before the Atlantic 40th anniversary party, on April 17, 1988, Jimmy joined Robert's solo band for a quick run through of this, then the remaining members, along with Jason Bonham, rehearsed it for the Atlantic reunion, but alas, they didn't play it that night. Reports from the rehearsal the night prior to the 40th party indicated they SMOKED on this. On April 17, 1994, at the Alexis Korner benefit in Buxton, Jimmy, Robert, Charlie Jones and Michael Lee ran through this as well, drawing a huge ovation from those in attendance.

"I Can't Quit You" was written by Willie Dixon, but Zeppelin performed this with such intensity and fire, that they really made it their song. Whatever version you prefer, first album, "Coda", or one of the many boots available, one thing is certain, it will rock your world.,

"How Many More Times"
You know what's wrong with the music scene today? Everything is so geared to radio. Where is the improvisational fun? Where are those loose jams that seemed to be so much a part of the late 1960's and through most of the 1970's? Well here's my solution if you're looking for a band that can take a song any direction and always land on their feet, or at least make some damn fine music trying to. And a whole lot of fun as well. Grab any bootleg from the early days, or, if you don't have that option, dig out your copy of Zeppelin I, set the CD player to track nine, clocking in at 8:28, and get ready to be taken there... "How Many More Times."

A simple Bonham beat and Jonsey's bass playing a catchy repeated riff open this little gem. Jimmy joins in with the wah wah, Bonzo does some lightning fast symbol work, Robert lets out a scream from the depths of the soul.... and BOOM, explosion, and we are rockin' indeed. That riff! Simple yet so cool. Where to begin with the accolades on this track? Bonzo? Was this guy really that good at that point in his career? Simply awesome! Jimmy? Well he pulls out all the stops. Great riff, great licks, great subtle touches on the wah and the bow. Robert? A vocal tour-de-force! Jonsey? Yes, Jonsey supplies some most inspiring bass playing. His work on this track is worth the price of the CD itself. The most amazing thing is that they hadn't even know each other that long when they recorded this. Let alone playing together, they barely knew each other! Consider that some bands take years to get to this point and Zeppelin were there right out of the gate.

"How many more times?
Treat me the way you wanna do...
How many more times?
Treat me the way you wanna do...
When I give you all my love,
please... please be true"

Oh man, there is that VOICE! That young, soulful voice singing the BLUES! Been down, been hurt, and the emotion is dripping right out of the speakers and into our lap. All of twenty years old. Yes 20! 20! My God, it just doesn't seem fair does it? This young man had known some disappointment in his life for sure, but the way he could articulate that through song was absolutely amazing. And here he bares it all for us. The young man hurt and aching. And as the song shifts gears he becomes this sexual, confident, swaggering rock star on the prowl. A young lion... looking for his lioness.

"I've got to get you together baby
I'm sure... sure you're gonna call"

At this point the band take off on one of their jams. Some truly inspiring playing, particularly from Jimmy and that sound, it has that late 60's sound all over it. As things come to a brief halt, the band laying back, Robert proceeds to take us on journey. A story of his little "school girl." As Robert spins his tale the band are busy behind him laying down a fantastic loose jam. Jimmy whips out the bow, Bonham is all over the place and the whole track just keeps heating up. Slowly building, the momentum creeping up behind you, something big is about to happen. The eerie strains from the bowed guitar echoing out. Jonsey plays a killer descending bass line and the young lion yells out:

"Oh Rosie...
Oh girl,
Oh Rosie...
Oh girl,
Steal away now...
Steal away,
Steal away baby,
Steal away...
Little Robert Anthony wants to, come an' play..."

At this point Bonham kicks in with an up tempo groove that just floors me every time I hear it. That groove. That sexual, driving groove! Jimmy adds a new riff into the mix and Robert starts wailing he's the Hunter. Jonsey and Bonzo are so together here it's terrifying. They hadn't been playing together more than a couple of month's and yet it sounds like... MAGIC!

"Cause I got you in the sights...
of my... guuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnn"

Robert pays tribute to Robert Johnson with the "barrelhouse all night long" line and the jam is as intense as anything you've ever heard. The magic is there, and they had that magic in the studio. So many bands that could do things in a live setting but just couldn't capture that emotion in a studio environment. Zeppelin made it all seem so effortless.

And in those live settings they would take this song even further. Always very lengthy "How Many More Times" would contain some of their most inspired live jamming. Throwing in bits of "Boogie Chillen", "Truckin' Mama", the "Lemon Song", "For Your Love", "Long Distance Call Blues", (a number that Robert threw in during the Rock and Roll Hall-Of-Fame induction jam) as well as "The Hunter" and "Rosie". "How Many More Times" live is a truly wonderful piece of the Zeppelin history. Thankfully caught on tape and there for each of us to enjoy and be thrilled over many times. Many MORE times, one might say.

"How Many More Times" was the closing number in the early days of the touring Zeppelin. The Bath Festival would be the last time it was used in this manner, giving way to the mighty new anthem "Whole Lotta Love." After that it pretty much disappeared, being used briefly during the 1971 tour of Japan, once in 1973 at Southampton University, and as a replacement for "Dazed and Confused" in the first two weeks of the 1975 US tour, due to Jimmy's broken finger.

A power house blues jam that would take off in any number of different directions, always entertaining, and one helluva way to close a show. "How Many More Times" was the epitomy of a "loose jam", and nobody could do it as exciting as Led-Zeppelin.