CODA

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

Click on an album cover to start your flight!

LZ IV

 

"We're Gonna Groove"
I don't know if this is going back or forward, but to the "Coda" album we go. Track one, clocking in at 2:37, "We're Gonna Groove".

One of the songs Zep covered. ( ie: didn't write) But the way they attack this, one would never know. Bonzo plays a quick little start/stop shuffle and off we go. A very frantic sound coming through the speakers, probably a sign of the times, as they were constantly on the go in ' 69/' 70.

Robert is bursting with energy, as the rhythm speeds along. Jonsey is rumbling all over the bottom end and Jimmy's guitar stabs at the riff. Bonzo really stands out on this. An excellent showcase of how he could really carry a song and make it something very special.

Zep played this live for a brief four months in 1970, on their UK, US, and European dates as the show opener. They then dropped it in favour of "Immigrant Song". "Groove" was recorded on January 9, 1970, a certain guitar players birthday!

Though this song rocks and I find it really appealing, it's hard to picture it on any of the "official" albums. "Presence" maybe, but it has a sound all it's own. As some other tracks on "Coda", Jimmy laid down some new overdubs in 1982. This had to be a difficult task. Trying to polish tracks knowing Zeppelin were over. But once again, Jimmy's professionalism is quite evident.

Certainly not groundbreaking by Zep standards, but "We're Gonna Groove" is fun, and a great start to the album. And another fine moment in the John Bonham book of licks.

"Poor Tom"
It is with great pleasure that we give you this song from the Coda album, track two, clocking in at 3:03, "Poor Tom."

Mr. John Bonham kicks this one off with a cool shuffle. Always steady and yet always so creative in his playing, it is the broad scope of Zeppelin's music that brings out all the subtle differences in the abilities that John possessed. Never content to play it safe, he was always throwing in some neat fill, an awesome off beat lick, or a truly awe inspiring groove that no other drummer has come close to matching since his demise. To say that Bonham was largely responsible for the sound that was Led Zeppelin would be a major understatement. Here he plays a very repetitive shuffle but it never sounds repetitive. Everything he played kept the listeners attention and always kept pushing the song and the band forward.

Robert enters with the vocals about "Tom", a guy who couldn't seem to catch a break. The lyrics sound like an old tale and perhaps they were inspired by something Robert had read or heard. "Tom" spends his life working just to get to the point to where he can relax and enjoy all the fruits of his efforts, but ends up losing it all when he shoots his unfaithful wife. A sad story to say the least, but that isn't really reflected in the groove of the music, which is actually upbeat.

The guitar part here is sparse and cool. Jimmy plays some very pretty acoustic lines, however this is not a Jimmy Page original! Any Zeppelin fan knows the stories about "Dazed and Confused", "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp", and "Black Mountain Side", the latter two of which are direct lifts from Bert Jansch tunes. But I don't recall ever hearing anyone singling out "Poor Tom." About five or six years ago a friend played me a CD by an English guitarist named Tony Rice that featured, as the lead track, the same identical music as "Poor Tom." There were no lyrics, it was purely an instrumental, and it was titled something different, but it was "Poor Tom" note for note. The CD listed the recording as being from the sixties, so it wasn't merely Tony Rice covering a Zeppelin song.

One note of interest is that this song, both by Jimmy and Tony Rice, are in the "C6" tuning that Jimmy employs on "Bron-Y-Aur", the gorgeous instrumental from the "Physical Graffiti" album, as well as "Friends" from the third album. The tuning is, from low to high, C-A-C-G-C-E.

"Poor Tom" was never performed live by Led Zeppelin though I feel it would have been a great addition to the 1977 acoustic set. This was also one of the numbers that emerged from Jimmy and Robert's visit to the Welsh cottage Bron-Y-Aur, which preceded the recording of the third album. A fun song, a good song to drive down the highway to, just don't get too caught up in the dreariness of the lyrics.

Led Zeppelin were capable of producing such a wide variety of moods and emotions, and their fondness for acoustic based songs is reflected throughout their collective work. It was this appreciation for, and knowing how to best utilize, the acoustic instrument that set them apart from any of their contemporaries.

Page and the engineers he hired to work on Zeppelin's recordings were very adept at capturing acoustic instruments. Here, on "Poor Tom," we have acoustic drums, acoustic guitars, acoustic voices, acoustic harmonicas... hardly an electric instrument in sight. JPJ's spare (and very cool) bass line is played on an electric, but we can cut him some slack, right?

Scrutinizing this song for "tricks," I was somewhat surprised to realize that there is but one guitar track throughout. It sounds so huge! Page is playing a 12-string, which adds some nice sparkle to the sound, and it seems that he's applied some reverse reverb to make the guitar shimmer. A 12-string, for those who don't know, has three additional strings tuned an octave higher (for the lowest three strings) and three additional strings tuned unison (for the three highest strings). You can see how a 12-String is put together in the TSRS video, during TSRS, TRS, or STH. These "secondary" strings are never exactly in tune, so they lend a shimmery sound to the guitar similar to the shimmer produced by an electronic effect called "chorus." It's difficult to tell how the guitar was recorded, but notice how the notes seem to "bounce"? Page was likely in a fairly "live" room, perhaps one with a wooden floor and little sound absorption on the walls. At least two microphones were employed, one (or more) placed close to Page to capture articulation and one (or more) close to the walls or floor to capture ambiance.

Towards the end of the song, we are treated to two tracks of harmonica. One, which comes from the left channel, drones as would a bagpipe, and is rather clean; it was probably recorded directly into a mike. The other harmonica track, which comes from the center of the stereo field, plays higher-pitched jabs and whistles which are comparatively drenched in reverb. This second track sounds as though it was recorded through a mildy overdriven guitar amp. Notice how the two tracks come together during the last four bars to double one another. At this point, the reverb disappears. This technique of using variable amounts of reverb on different tracks of the same instrument is a Page hallmark.

"Poor Tom" was recorded in 1970. Something that has always struck me about this song is its remarkably "clean" sound relative to that of the other acoustic songs recorded during the Zep III sessions. Notice how Bonham's drums are both fatter and more crystalline? Notice how the guitars shimmer more, and the vocals cut better? The acoustic tracks that appeared on Zep III were mixed in 1970, whereas "Poor Tom" was mixed 12 years later at Page's Sol Studios. In 1982, Page had at his disposal more sophisticated EQ and a better understanding of how to use it. Additionally, "Poor Tom" was mastered along with the other tracks included on Coda. "Mastering" is a final process applied to finished stereo mixes in which the overall EQ, compression, fades and so on are adjusted so each track sounds like it belongs with the others. Coda is a great example of what mastering is; these eight songs were recorded in at least five different sessions, yet they all sound as though they belong together.

"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.,

"Walter's Walk"
Taken from the "Coda" album, track four, clocking in at 4:31, "Walter's Walk".

My God the way this song starts out. One of Jimmy's most frantic/energetic riffs of all time and Bonzo blasts in BOOM-BOOM-BOOM and off we go. Does "blow the roof off" apply here or what? When Robert joins in with "Oooohhh, don't it feel so strange looking at the dark, ahhhhh, trying hard to change but you can't let go." Wow, classic Zeppelin and only about 11 people have ever heard it.(Outside of DG that is).

Recorded in 1972 and left off "Houses...", how this didn't end up on "Presence" is beyond me. Even though the album says it was recorded in ' 72, I found out in ' 88 that certain tracks were overdubbed in late ' 81/ early ' 82, and the vocals here most definitely were. Robert sounds nothing like himself circa ' 72, but does sound pretty close to the "Pictures at Eleven" era. When Jimmy said the well was dry, he wasn't kidding.

I also believe this is Robert singing to Bonham. I don't want to take up a lot of time and space printing lyrics, and there are those who find out the hidden meanings in these things much better than me, but when he says (3rd line)" Ohhh, crying tears of pain and more an more, Ohhh, everyday's the same when you're walking the floor". The cries of "Ya know it's hard, ya know it's hard." And at the end when he asks "does it matter now?" And answers himself with a painful "Ohhh Yeeessssss". Chilling stuff. I could be wrong here, but who knows.

As for the song itself, classic Zeppelin, picture this opening a show! When people speculate about the band if Bonham had lived, my feeling is they would have just gotten better, and this song could have played a role in that. So grab your Coda CD and pop it in to track 4, and prepare to be BLOWN AWAY!

"Ozone Baby"
Over the course of any bands career it is inevitable that if they linger for very long they will invariably write, record and release a few songs that, if given the opportunity, they would leap at the chance to withdraw from their collective catalog. Amazingly, Led-Zeppelin most assuredly does not fall into this trap.

It is quite an amazing feat that over the spread of 12 years, eight studio albums, one soundtrack and one posthumous release Led-Zeppelin never had a cringe moment. You know; the kind of thing when asked about causes everybody to cringe. Sure, each member of the group had personal moments they weren’t the most delighted with, but never did the entire group share those sentiments towards one particular selection.

Today’s journey is a bit troublesome for me, mainly because this song has never captured me or excited me. I am sure there are Zeppelin fans out there that will disagree and probably find many things positive about this song, but for me, it always seemed a bit….forced.

Perhaps then, that is why it never saw the light of day until Coda, track five, clocking in at 3:35, “Ozone Baby.”

The track begins with some energetic drumming by John Bonham, and some very upfront and tasty bass lines from Jonsey. Jimmy’s riff is separated into two main sections, the ascending riff, which lasts from 0:00-0:02 and then the multi-tracked slur of chords from 0:03-0:05. This repeating riff is mixed nicely, deeper in the mix and gives plenty of breathing room for the drums and bass. It is one of Page’s trademarks to always do what is best for the song. In this case, his riff isn’t one of those blow your mind riffs, and he is perfectly content to let the rhythm section carry the meat of this tune.

I hear you knock on my door
I ain’t been saving a thing for you honey
Don’t want you ringing my bell
It’s too late for you to be my honey

Ooh…it’s my love ooh, ooh; it’s my own true love
Ooh…it’s my love ooh, ooh; it’s my own true love
My own…


There is something about Plant’s vocals on this song that just do absolutely nothing for me. And I love the way Robert sings. But here, he sounds, to my ears anyway, tired. It has been widely known for a while that some of the vocal tracks for Coda were actually done after John Bonham passed away. “Walter’s Walk” is one of the tracks that springs to mind having had the vocals laid down post-1981 and it is my feeling that the same has happened here. For whatever reason though, “Ozone Baby” lacks the fire and passion that “Walter’s Walk” has.

There also seems to be some sort of effect on Robert’s vocal, and perhaps this is the reason this song just doesn’t work, because whatever is being attempted, simply fails.

Don’t want ya wastin’ my time
Tired of ya doin’ the things that you do…
It’s no use standin’ in line
My own line you better follow queue…


This second verse presents another problem for me; the first and third line is sung with a vocal track, but the second and fourth lines are double tracked. Why? This sounds so cheesy. How many bands have followed this same, lethargic formula? Led-Zeppelin was always better than everyone else, but here, and perhaps because they felt the pressure of a deadline to get an album out for contractual purposes, they just follow a well-worn path that has been beaten to death.

I feel that what makes this song so difficult to digest is the fact that it was surrounded by far superior material. Who knows, under differing circumstances this song might have had some appeal, but when asked to stand next to “Walter’s Walk.” “Wearing and Tearing,” “Poor Tom” and “We’re Gonna Groove,” as well as a powerful “I Can’t Quit You,” it just falls flat.

Jimmy runs through a hyper, tension-filled guitar solo that harkens at times back to “Hot Dog” and then another run through the chorus brings this short piece to a merciful close. Is this a disaster? Of course not. Hey, there are a lot of bands that would love to have an up-tempo, energetic song like this in their catalog. But by Led-Zeppelin standards, it just doesn’t measure up to the expectations held by many.

Here’s a question for you; what if Jimmy had decided to release Coda with “Baby Come On Home” instead of “Ozone Baby?” Now that would have been something special. It could have simply been placed in the same spot as “Ozone Baby” and would have been a pleasant, unexpected respite between “Walter’s Walk” and “Darlene.”

As the saying goes…things happen for a reason and fans of Led-Zeppelin would have to wait another decade to hear the unreleased gem that is “Baby Come on Home” and ultimately, I feel, Coda suffered for it.

"Darlene"
Light. Shade. And oh yes, the power, mystery and the hammer of the gods. You will find all those things present, day, or night. So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, you know the one, doctor "Everything will be alright", instead of asking him how much of your time is left, ask him what the black object on Presence stands for. And if the answer he gives is incorrect then you know he is not legit. He's a quack. So come on in, we have a place set aside just for you, right here near the Coda album, track six, clocking in at 5:07, "Doubl", oops, I mean "Darlene." And if the elevator (life) tries to bring you down, go crazy, PUNCH a higher floor...

A very lively and upbeat groove emanates from the speakers as Page , Jonsey and Bonzo lock into the riff. As they slide into the first stop, Bonham's hi-hat keeping the count and Jonsey tickling the ivories behind him, they hit a change of the riff and Robert enters in all his glory. The sexual bravado that is Robert Plant is dripping all over this tune. And when he wants to play the part, nobody can do it as well.

"Darlene...

When I see you at that dance,
with your tight dress on...
what you got it sure is fine,
I wanna get me some..."


Right to the point! Robert doesn't mess around eh? One thing that separates Robert and allows him to get away with these types of lyrics is that he can sing with just enough of his tongue in his cheek. You listen to "Darlene" and you just SEE that little boyish smile of his. Half the time he sounds like he's singing "Darlene", the other half it sounds like "Double E." So which is it Robert?

The music is very fun, you can tell this is one of those tunes that probably evolved from a loose jam, and you really don't know if they are joking or not. But they pull the song off so convincingly that you are pulled in and find yourself singing along. In between Robert's verses is some really wonderful jamming, Jonsey displays his talents but in a very playful way, and Pagey absolutely burns on his lead licks. Mr. Bonham once again shows his enormous talent from behind the kit. The hi-hat work is just too cool. He throws in little stutters, straight sixteenth notes, always changing things up. The majority of people don't catch the little things like that, but that is precisely why the music of Led Zeppelin has survived and prospered over the years. It has a very sweet and lasting quality.

Robert's vocals are a treat on this song as well. He sounds like some young kid head over heels in love, or is that lust?, and he just HAS to be with Darlene. After the first verse when he says in a lower voice, "Come on come on come on honey." Ooh, so cool.

"And I don't care what people say,
and I don't care what they do...
Sweet child I gotta make you mine,
you're the only thing that I want too..."


Things start to really cook at this point, the band wailing and grooving away and Robert sounding very determined. A reference to a "pink carnation and a pick up truck", Robert borrowing from Don McLean?

"Darlene" may not have been on any albums until the leftovers on Coda were released, but one thing is for certain, even when they were playing around and maybe not as serious as usual, they could still deliver the goods. "Darlene" has a 1950's kinda feel to it. In fact, it could have fit rather nicely on The Honeydrippers Volume One album. Jonsey's honky tonk piano is the perfect touch, and Jimmy shows his Scotty Moore/James Burton influence, with licks flying in all directions during the final minute plus.

Though Zep never performed this one live it would have been so fun if they had. Jonsey would have brought the house down with his piano chops. This very well may have been a song that Jimmy never intended to release to the public prior to John Bonham's death, but the beauty here is that it does show another side of the incredible musicians in the band. Certainly not thought of as one of their stronger tracks, but a good time blast just the same.

Feel privileged Zeppelin fans, for the band that we so admire could, at will, play anything they wanted, and make you feel as if they invented that particular style of music. They were, and are, that good.

"Bonzo’s Montreux"
Today’ song - actually, it will be two songs - is a bit difficult for me to articulate on. There are various reasons for this, which I will get into in a bit, but first, pull out your copy of “Led Zeppelin II”, it’s side two, track four, clocking in at 4:21; the John Bonham solo piece, “Moby Dick.”

To any and all drummers out there who may read this, I must beg your forgiveness. I am not a drummer, I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12 and that is the instrument that I know inside out. I also play the mandolin and have played bass in studio sessions when one of my bands needed it. But drums… not my thing. I’ve tried to play them before… four limbs all doing different things and keeping everything in time… LOL Suffice to say there’s a very good reason why I am a guitarist!

That said; I have never been a fan of long drum solos. I hate it when I attend a show and the band departs the stage save for the drummer who then proceeds to show off his chops – or in some cases, the lack thereof – for the next 10 minutes or so. I find it completely unnecessary and a waste of time when the band could be playing another song… or two!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate great drummers and it is my opinion that there has never been a better rock drummer than John Bonham. I understand that when Zeppelin released their second album, drum solos were in vogue. But the practice is still in place today as Heaven & Hell proved {formerly Black Sabbath Mach II} when they released “Live From Radio City Music Hall.” At least Vinny Appice, the Heaven & Hell drummer, keeps his solo under five minutes or at least that’s all that is on the disc, I guess it’s possible it was longer live and then edited down. But… I digress…

 I remember when I was first discovering Zeppelin all those years ago and hearing the solo on “II” and wondering; Why? Why would they include a drum solo on a record? Did they run out of material? Surely there was something else they could have included on this album. And that’s not to take anything at all away from Bonzo. The best thing about “Moby Dick” as it appeared on the album was that it was under five minutes, but live, it grew to be a monster in length.

You see, I didn’t need to hear a John Bonham solo to understand that he was a phenomenal drummer; all I had to do was listen to the first :30 seconds of “Good Times Bad Times.” And lest you drummers out there think I am piling on Bonzo, I’m not. To this day I cringe when I see some of my Zeppelin bootlegs that have 20+ minute versions of “Dazed & Confused” or 15+ minute versions of “No Quarter.”

If you think back to those last US tours in 1975 and 1977 and think of how long those three songs were in concert, they often took up more than an hour of the show. Three songs showing off the skills of each musician in the band when they could have played another five or six songs that showed off the power and glory of the entire band!

And yes, I know that Zeppelin dropped “Dazed” from the set in 1977, but Page still played an overly long guitar solo which included the bowed guitar section from said song. One of the funniest moments ever recorded in bootleg history was on “Listen To This Eddie,” the famous 21 June 1977 show in LA. During Page’s solo a fan… and no, it wasn’t me… yells out: “We’ve had the guitar lesson!” Or something similar to that. And I get what that guy is going off about.

Zeppelin had this incredible catalog of music they could have played, and instead of playing “The Rover” or “Four Sticks” or “Houses Of The Holy” or “Friends” or “For Your Life” or “In The Light” or any other number of tracks, they instead chose to play these ungodly long solos that took up a third of their shows.

Alright, now that I have gotten my rant out of the way, let’s dive into this track, as well as the other track that will be featured in this particular Song Of The Day.

“Moby Dick” began life as “Pat’s Delight…” or at least Bonham’s drum solo was first titled that. “Pat’s Delight” had a different riff than “Moby Dick,” so one could actually view that as a separate song, but “Pat’s Delight,” named after Bonzo’s wife and Jason’s mother, eventually became “Moby Dick.”

The riff that kicks off “Moby Dick” is a killer riff but unfortunately, Page can’t accept credit for this one. An artist named Bobby Parker released a song in 1961 titled “Watch Your Step” that is the seed for this riff. It’s almost the exact same riff, with just a few minor changes. However, there is no denying that the riff that opens “Moby Dick” is a powerful and awesome riff.

Page first used the riff on a song titled “The Girl I Love {She Got Long Black Wavy Hair}” which was played once in 1969 during one of their BBC sessions. At some point, the band decided to drop “The Girl I Love” and use the riff as an intro for Bonzo’s solo showpiece. And again, I find that a sad mistake. “The Girl I Love” is a good song and would have certainly fit into their early tours.

Once “Moby Dick” entered the set list it was a staple at all shows through the 1977 tour. On that final US tour, the song became aptly named “Over The Top.” So it appears that the band, or at the very least Robert, knew the song was an excess that took excesses to the very limits.

Although I don’t own a copy of the show, there is reportedly a bootleg that has a 44 minute version of “Moby Dick.” What were Page, Plant and Jones doing all this time? They could have driven back to the hotel, taken a shower, grabbed some dinner and been back at the arena in time to wrap the show up.

In 1982, when Jimmy released “Coda,” there was another Bonham solo piece included, this one titled “Bonzo’s Montreux.” This track was one that I just never got into, mainly, I think, because of Jimmy’s “electronic treatments” that were added after the drums were originally recorded.

And when “Coda” was released, I remember thinking and wondering the same thing that I wondered about “II…” did they not have anything else they could have released? Why didn’t they add “Hey Hey What Can I Do” to “Coda?” Or “Baby Come On Home?”

“Bonzo’s Montreux” was recorded in 1976 in Montreux, Switzerland, which might provide some insight as to the title and was never played live, although Bonzo did include sections of it during “Over The Top” during the 1977 tour.

In 1990, when the three surviving members of Zeppelin released the first “Box Set,” Jimmy had gone in and combined “Moby Dick” with “Bonzo’s Montreux,” which was sort of weird to me, as they sounded nothing alike. On “Box Set II,” “Bonzo’s Montreux” was then released as it had appeared on “Coda.”

So… have I alienated all drummers and most Zeppelin fans by now? LOL It’s just my taste and what I feel is appropriate and I wish that Zeppelin had played more SONGS during their touring years as opposed to these excessively narcissistic solos.

If not for Page/Plant, there are a number of songs – great songs – by Zeppelin that we would have never heard live. And that is what bothers me about this entire situation. Bonham was never better than when he was playing to one of Jimmy’s riffs and supporting the band as only he could. He would lock into a groove with John Paul and they would just be so tight, so rightin-the-pocket that Page could then venture off into destinations unknown and they would be right there with him.

As great as Zeppelin were in live settings, I just believe they could have been even better if they had played more of their catalog and less of the extravagant soloing. Again… it’s just my opinion.

And I want to stress, once again and for the record, that none of this takes away from how I view John Bonham. The man was simply the greatest drummer in rock history. Bar none. That’s my opinion and I can back that up with “Good Times Bad Times” – “In My Time Of Dying” – “What Is And What Should Never Be” – “The Song Remains The Same” – “Kashmir” – “When The Levee Breaks” – “Immigrant Song” or any other number of songs. All I am saying is I would have loved to have heard more songs than solos when they played live.

"Wearing and Tearing"
todays Song is, I feel, rather appropriate, a fast juggernaut of a riff, a song that may have signaled the rebirth of Led Zeppelin had our dear Bonzo not been taken from us. To the archives we go, back to 1982 and Coda, track eight, clocking in at 5:27, "Wearing and Tearing".

An absolutely AWESOME beginning, Page, Jones and Bonham locked into the main riff and just threatening anyone to get in their way. This explodes out of the speakers with a force like no other band could accomplish. You can have your heavy metal bands with amps turned up to 20 crushing through power chords, but this, my friends, is the definition of POWER.

When Robert enters the picture, the song is almost "Black Dog" like, except here we get a few simple chords that bang in behind the vocals, as if to reinforce the point. The music behind Robert is simple, yet so effective. We are left on the edge of the seat, (standing on that edge), just waiting, wishing, NEEDING that fast riff to kick back in. And then, it does. Fast and furious.

Jimmy's riff sounds so cool, and yet it's fairly easy to play. As a guitarist this is one of those "addictive" riffs. ( Once you start playing it, you don't want to stop). Jonesy is right there, in the pocket and ripping along. Bonzo shines like always, it's a great lesson in drumming to listen to how he approaches each of Jimmy's riffs. Laying back here, going all out there. And Robert sounds positively energized on this track. His vocals are very alive and full of feeling. You can just see a huge smile on his face as he sings this.

The lyrics here are easy to understand for the most part, and some Plant classics are there as well. When he sings/yells the "medication, medication, medication" part at the very end, oohhhh CHILLS.

This was written and recorded for the "In Through The Outdoor" album, and as you can see it really doesn't fit with those songs. It must have been bloody difficult to have this song in the can and NOT release it. Jimmy has gone on record in saying that he and Bonzo had dicussions as to the follow up album to "Outdoor", and that they wanted a very rocking, guitar oriented album. My feeling is that "Wearing and Tearing" would have been on that album and propelled Zeppelin into the ' 80's with a renewed vigor.

Another interesting note about this song, at the time the new punk bands and lots of critics were referring to Zep as a "dinosaur" band, and that they were washed up. Jimmy said this was written as a response to those who felt Zep were over and done with. Kind of, "Here, 'ave a bit of THIS".

Sadly, Led Zeppelin never did perform this song live. They almost released it as a group of maxi-singles prior to Knebworth 1979, but alas that never happened. In fact it wouldn't see a live rendition until 1990, when Jimmy joined Robert and his solo band at the Knebworth Sliver Clef festival. Forget all about Live Aid and Atlantics 40th reunions, in 1990 Jimmy and Robert showed the world they could still rock together. Their version of this song made up entirely for the previous reunions, and may have actually set the stage for what would eventually happen some four years down the road.

On this song Zeppelin prove, ( once again) that they were and are the kings of riff rock. Nobody does it better. There have been many who have tried, but the pretenders and never-will-be's could never come close to matching the genius that was, and is Led Zeppelin.

So give this a spin on the old CD player, and prepare yourself for one ferocious song, and when it ends, oh man, just the most incredible ending of all time.