Houses Of The Holy

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

Click on an album cover to start your flight!



"The Song Remains The Same"
Today's visit takes us into the wonderful world of... naked little children climbing up a rocky incline. Yes, "Houses Of The Holy", track one, clocking in at 5:24, "The Song Remains The Same".

One of Jimmy's epic masterpieces. The "Song..." begin life as a Page instrumental titled "The Overture". Tons of guitar (the army caught in full stride), driving drums and great bass playing. As an instrumental this would have still been an incredible performance. After Robert came up with some vocals the working title changed to "The Campaign". And the end result, as we all know, is, in a word, STUNNING!

Jimmy brings this gem to life with a furious and fast flurry of single notes (open D string) and when he hits that first chord (D) Bonzo bangs in and the whole thing becomes like a wild roller coaster ride. Jimmy's rhythm and lead work are so incredible and inspiring that by the time Robert comes in with the first verse it's like, oh yeah, there's still a whole song to be played.

Things slow down to a very majestic pace and Robert sings the line: "I had a dream...". And we are captured. Another of those songs that takes us to a place few get to visit. As Robert sings, the music stays slower, but very intense. Every time they lock on the DUHN DUHN part it fills the listener with great anticipation. A very vital part in Zeppelin's music, they were always finding ways to capture our attention. Jimmy picks things up again, and blazes new trails, leaving all other guitarists in his wake. The creative genius that is Jimmy Page. Soaring notes, almost sounding like the whole thing could fall apart at any moment, but of course it never does. Everything perfectly in it's place, not one note too much, or too little.

Zeppelin premiered this in October 1972 in Japan. Performed at a every show up to the Earls Court in 1975, they always went straight into "Rain Song". Once the 1977 tour began, and through ' 79 ( Copenhagen and Knebworth) this was the show opener. And who could ask for a better song to open a show? Personally my favourite version comes from the "Listen to this Eddie" show, 6-21-77. Page is on FIRE and Bonham sounds like TWO drummers. Amazing version. Very fast and very tight.

Jimmy and Robert played this on their "No Quarter" tour, and they must like it as well, they performed this on 109 shows out of the 115 they played. When I saw them it was the stand out track of the show. Even with Porl. My theory on Jimmy NOT playing the solos is because the rhythm in this song is so cool, and just a little complex. I think Jimmy might be more proud of this part and that's why he allowed Porl to solo. Seeing them perform this song live was quite a thrill.

Funny thing is I don't really care for the studio version. I don't like the way Robert sounds and the POWER of the live shows is lacking. If you have a boot of this song you know what I mean.

"The Rain Song"
Tonight's song comes to us from the soundtrack to "The Song Remains The Same", Disc 1, track 04, clocking in at 8:24 of pure bliss. I give you..."The Rain Song".

We hear one of those beautiful long "aaahhhhhhhhh's" of Roberts leading us out of "Song Remains" and into our evenings choice. Jimmy enters with those majestic chords, so beautiful, his playing so inspired. Never forget when I first learned to play this, it's in one of Jimmy's famous tunings, I would literally play this over and over for hours, never tiring of the beauty in his music.

I said I wouldn't do this, but the lyrics here are so wonderfully written I have to:

It is the spring time of my loving
The second season... I am to know
You are the sunlight in my growing
So little warmth, I've felt before
Ahhhh it isn't hard to feel me glowing
I watch the fire, that grew so low

And right now you can hear Jimmy picking so delicately those notes. Can't you?

A quick story to explain what this song means to me. When I was a senior in high school I had a close friend named Breena. We were never more than close friends, and never less than great friends. She and I had a lot in common, including our love of rain. You know that fresh smell after a spring rain, everything is so peaceful then, and you feel at one with nature. One day Breena and I took a stroll through this park after such a rain storm, just talking, silly things, important things. We came to a bridge (no not that one) and sat down with our feet dangling off the edge and just enjoyed some quiet time in the midst of mother nature.

It doesn't seem like much, but it was to have a huge impact on both of us. A few years ago, having not seen her in 7 or 8 years, we ran into each other and started reflecting on the past, and we both agreed that of all the thousands of things we had done, that day in the park was our favourite memory. A special moment with a friend, lost in the blink of an eye, yet lingering forever.

When Robert sings ..."upon us all, ahhh a little rain must fall" most people would think in a negative way, (Yeah it had to rain today), some would say he's just commenting on the proverbial roller-coaster that life is. You have ups, downs, and moments in between. To me it means that in our life we will have precious few moments of bliss. Everything stops, there is no time, you are lost completely in a certain event. And if you're lucky, truly lucky, you will have someone there to share in that moment. Might not make sense to some, unless you love the rain, and have close friend who feels the same.

"Johhhhhnnn, talk to me, talk to me" Robert cries as the song begins to explode. And Mr. Bonham answers with a thunderous roar. I can't say enough about John Bonham, he was bloody amazing. Listen to what he does here. Drumming that speaks all on its own. Then, just as quickly we are back to that tranquil, soft Page guitar. Robert closes out the lyrics, and Page takes us home with a mesmerizing finger picked finale.

THIS is Zeppelins song of "hope". It is them touching us in a way they never did before or since. They are letting us inside, only briefly, but the time spent there is quite incredible. To me this song speaks of warm memories in the past, and the promise of those in the future. A truly inspired effort, where music and emotion meet in the middle for all to see. A song of love, a song of hope, a song of longing, a song of reflecting, but more than a song really. A gift, a gift ... from the heart.

"Over The Hills And Far Away"
Today's song takes us back to the "Houses Of The Holy" album, track three, clocking in at 4:42, "Over The Hills And Far Away".

Jimmy starts off with the most gorgeous acoustic guitar intro for a song ever. Heavenly. As he winds his way through one can only marvel at this man's music abilities. Then, a twelve string acoustic is added, creating beautiful harmony and leads perfectly into Roberts vocal.

"Hey lady, you got the love I need, maybe, more than enough
Oh darling darlin' darlin', walk awhile with me,
Oh, you've got so much, so much, so much...

Simple lyrics, especially for Robert, and yet it says everything. Love in the finest form, simple, and from the heart. As Jimmy builds up the guitars we anticipate something BIG happening, and then KABOOM. Bonzo and Jonesy enter: DUNAH DUNAH and hang on baby 'cause Zep is in the house.

Full blooded, red hot, a** kicking, kick out the jams Rock and Roll. Bonzo cutting loose and Page riffing his tail off. "Many have I loved, and many times been bitten..." Well I could write for hours about this, but no one cares to hear of my personal woes, so I'll sum it up in one word: AMEN!

The song cooks along adding new changes here and there and always returing to and emphasizing the DUNAH DUNAH. YES!YES! YES! Sorry, a Beavis flashback. We get to Jimmy's solo, and what an adventure this is. This is a song with-in a song. A true masterpiece from the hands of James Patrick.

A few more verses and then back to just Jimmy, that sweet guitar, fading in and out, closing another Zeppelin milestone. Pure excitement, pure bliss, pure emotion, pure ZEPPELIN.

First introduced on the ' 72 U.S. tour, and in the set up to ' 79. Actually played live well before the album came out. In ' 77 they alternated between this and "In My Time...". Jimmy used this as a great showpiece on his ' 88 solo tour, as it was nightly the first of the Zeppelin back catalog he chose to play. The seed from this song .comes from "White Summer". After the opening in that song, when Jimmy gets to the main theme, the first few notes are the same as "Over The Hills...". He also played snippets of this on the ' 93 Japan tour with David Coverdale during his solo (White Summer).

A quick analogy of this song and the creativity of Zep, in particular Jimmy. Think of making love. Not just sex, but MAKING LOVE. Then look at this song. We have this beautiful quiet solo intro, then two guitars, then vocals, then the guitars build up and BUILD UP, and THEN, TOTAL ROCK OUT!! Everything working together quite nicely and yet slightly on that chaotic side. After several minutes, we are... back... to... just... that... (ahhh).... solo.... gui... tar... AHHH.

A simple theme that Zep repeated a lot, start out soft, build up, explode, then bring it back down. Could be "Down By The Seaside" or "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" or "I Cried" from Roberts "Manic Nirvana" or "Take Me For A Little While" from Coverdale/Page. It wasn't that we didn't expect this, but the many ways in which they could achieve this and always say something new. Incredible!

Well, I don't know about you, but I'm covered in sweat and physically exhausted after that. Where are those blasted cigarettes?

"The Crunge"
...and here day are brotha's and sista's, straight from merry ole England, you know it's right, you know ya rockin' with da masters, YEAH BABY, Led-Zeppelin is IN DA HOUSE!!!! Get DOWN, Get FUNKY, Get out your GOOD THING because we are goin' way back to da Houses of da Holy, track four on da first side of this piece o' vinyl, clocking in at 3:10 of funkified boogie, "DA CRUNGE" ladies and gentleman, "The Crunge."

Thank you Jam Master J for that nice introduction. Well this tune is certainly an abrupt change of direction for the boys. Mr. Bonham kicks it off with a funky attack on the drums and then John Paul enters with some very intense bass. You gotta love that bass, solid, heavy and funked out. This song is not in the typical Zeppelin vein, but then again did they really have a "typical" approach? The riffs that fly from Jimmy's guitar are fast and funky, with a cool little stops that tell you this could only be Led-Zeppelin.

I recall having a discussion at the Zepfest in Niagara in April with some fellow DGers. One of them asked me if there were any songs by Zeppelin that I just don't get into. I said, "Yeah, The Crunge." Ha!Ha! Never thought about having to do a Song of the day for the bloody thing. I said it sounded like James Brown on acid, and everybody goes, "Yes, exactly, that's the POINT!" Well let me clarify my statement. The thing I don't like about it is Robert's vocals. The music jams, it would have made a great instrumental with an extended solo from Pagey and then it could have included a solo from Jonsey!!!!! Yes, a BASS SOLO!!!!

I love the Houses of the Holy as a whole, but it seems like Jimmy (and maybe Robert too) were doing some experimentation in the studio, and it just doesn't seem to work. Think about it, "The Song Remains The Same" lacks all of the power of any live performance, and this one has tons of overdubs. The "Rain Song" vocals leave me really feeling, I don't know, but they just don't do it for me. "No Quarter" doesn't have near the power or haunting effect of live versions and "The Crunge" sounds like Robert just whipped something out off the top of his head, while battling a sore throat!!!! The one thing about "The Crunge" vocals that have kept it in the minds of us fans for so many years is the "where's that confounded bridge" section.

And what about the "bridge?" The lyrics are supposed to parody the James Brown "Take It To The Bridge" school of funk mannerisms. (Thanks to Dave Lewis for this info.) This is a "joke" song, totally non-danceable, and it was reported that they considered putting feet on the jacket illustrating the correct "dance steps." So where do they come up with this sense of humour?

For me personally, the "where's that confounded bridge" is poking fun at the music, there is only one change in the music, a slight change at that, no verse, chorus, and no BRIDGE! Just the same thing all the way through. I do like the line where Robert says "I don't need no respect from nobody." A jab at the critics? Rolling Stone????

You must give Zeppelin credit. They never played things safe. The "Crunge" is a perfect example of that attitude. If they were just joking around or trying out different ideas, at least they always ATTEMPTED to venture into new territory. For that reason and that reason alone, songs like "The Crunge" are a very welcome addition.

As for Jonsey, not only does he play some terrific bass, but in the vocal sections he adds a keyboard part that is hysterical. Listen to the lines he plays just after the " when she talks she talks" and "she's my baby Lord I wanna make her mine." That little run he does just kills me. Talk about cheesy! But, it FITS! Out of nowhere he comes up with this ridiculous melody that somehow fits in with this funk-fest. Oh to have seen their faces in the studio when they were writing this. Now that would have been a sight. How did they record the song without doubling over in fits of uncontrollable laughter?

Though they never did perform "The Crunge" live as a song in its entirety they did drop it in during "Dazed and Confused" in the 1972 US tour, and it was employed during some of the jams on "Whole Lotta Love" until 1975. On March 25, 1975, at the Los Angeles Forum, it was done within "Whole Lotta Love" and done as a jam with James Browns "Sex Machine." Note the bootleg from that show: Sex Machine and The Butter Queen.

So, where does that lead us? Well, although the "Crunge" isn't a sterling example of Led-Zeppelin at their best, it does show four musicians who were so good together that they could try numbers like this and still pull it off. And it's because of this ability as a group that Led-Zeppelin were and still are the premier rock and roll band of all time.

"Dancing Days"
Spring is in the air, (and so is a whole lotta rain), and it's the perfect time for something uplifting, something that helps the spirit soar. So today we shall journey back in time to 1973, mystical castles, strange song titles, and little naked children. Yes folks, that lovely orange album titled "Houses Of The Holy", track 5, clocking in at 3:41, "Dancing Days."

A wonderful, typically off the beaten path riff from Pagey jump starts this little gem. The mood is set right from the get-go, and that mood is a happy one. Jimmy's guitar playing is so inspiring here, adding overdubs here and there, and we are instantly sucked into the great vibes emanating from the speakers.

Robert's vocals are a joy to listen to, and he almost sounds like he is singing this with a huge grin on his face. Jonsey is, well, solid as ever, and Bonham throws in some more of those "only Bonzo" fills. Between the four of them this is one of those songs that I discover something new almost every time I listen to it. And that's about 2,281 and counting right now.

"Dancing days are here again,
the summer evenings grow
I've got my flower I've got my power,
I've got a woman who knows...

I said it's all right, ya know it's all right,
I guess it's all in my heart,
You'll be my only, my one and only...
is that the way it should start?"

Robert dips into some flower child flashbacks with the "flower" and "power" parts, and my what a lucky man, he has a woman who KNOWS! Very important part of life, being with someone who KNOWS! And just what DOES she know? Perhaps that she's his one and only.

The chorus in this song is just so fun, when he proclaims "it's all right", you feel as if there is no need or reason to question, you just feel as if things are safe and right in the world.

"Crazy ways are evident
in the way you wear your clothes,
Sippin' booze is precedent,
as the evening starts to glow..."

Sounds like a very relaxing and lazy time, just the way summer should be. Hangin' with the one you love, the one who knows, no worries, no fears, nothing but good times. Although it may not be reality all the time, that we CAN slip away to that place is what makes it so special. Having Zeppelin as the soundtrack for those special times is a perfect start, I might add.

Robert then delivers one of his most humorous lines of all time, as we all witnessed on DG a short spell back, when someone (one of our English brethren?) posted the true meaning for all those not in the know:

"You told your momma I'd get you home,
but you didn't say that I had no car...
(Hint: Here's the line)
I saw a lion he was standing alone,
with a tadpole in a jar..."

Thanks to whoever posted that I can never quite listen to this song the same way again... I die laughing now!

"Dancing Days" is one of those upbeat songs that inspire great vibes, happy times, and another impossible to drive the speed limit when hearing from behind the wheel. Zeppelin first performed this in a live setting way back in November of 1971, at the Wembley Empire Pool gig. Entered the set in the latter part of the 1972 U.S. tour, and on June 19 of that year was played TWICE in one show at Seattle: once in the main set, then returned as an encore. They revised it as an inclusion in the acoustic sets from the 1977 tour, done as a medley with "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp", and a full acoustic rendering was performed in Los Angeles on June 27, at the LA Forum!

Jimmy and Robert then revised it on their "Unleded" tour as well, slightly slower paced, Robert's vocal approach quite different as well. A very fun song, even the band enjoyed this one to the hilt, as Eddie Kramer pointed out that they were all in a line dancing along to this whilst hearing the playback. That would make for great bootleg video history!

So with summer approaching don't let it sneak up on you without the proper music there to extend a welcome hand. Crank it up loud and DANCE... DANCE... DANCE...

"D'Yer Mak'er"
So today we go back to the fifth album, "Houses Of The Holy", track 6, clocking in at 4:19, "D'Yer Mak'er".

John Henry Bonham starts this little gem out, with one of the most recognizable drum only intros to a song ever. And only fitting, as he basically came up with the structure to this song by himself. What started life as a send up of Ben E King's "Poor Little Fool" took a sharp turn and ended up having a reggae feel to it. Of course the critics loved to hate this one, but bollocks them anyway.

Jimmy plays some very "slinky" lines here, really sparse, and yet showing, once again, another side to his genius. The solo he plays is so cool. He never quite plays what one might expect. He excels at playing with and against the beat, leaving me wanting more.

Robert sings silly lyrics, "Oh, oh oh oh oh oh, you don't have to go". Sounds like some early ' 50's band, and that's just the point. Somehow though, he pulls it off. He sings with enough emotion that we are caught up in these simple words, and quickly we find ourselves singing along. The first time he says, "I love you", it just drips with feeling.

John Paul has been very vocal in his dislike for this song. Saying it wasn't "thought out enough". He slammed it more when the box set came out, saying he didn't think it should be on there amongst all the other great songs. But, the fans seem to like it, I know I do, and Robert really thought highly of it, wanting this to be the single in the UK. (The band vetoed him on that one).

All in all it's a cool side to Zep, showcasing Bonham, and again showing something totally unexpected. Zeppelin were great at doing that, and songs like this are one more reason they are still on the radio all these years later.

Though never performed live, in Dave Lewis' "Tight But Loose" issue, the sequel to "A Celebration" he notes that Robert threw in some lines in the "Whole Lotta Love" medley circa ' 73/' 75, notably on March 21, 1973, in Hamburg.

"No Quarter"
Another day, another classic from the archives of Led Zeppelin. Today we will look at a rather eerie track, filled with spooky music and lyrics that reflect a particularly gloomy atmosphere. It is 1:37 in the morning and the time couldn’t be better to pull out your copy of “Houses Of The Holy,” side two, track three, clocking in at 6:59, “No Quarter.”

The centerpiece of all Zeppelin shows from 1973 through 1979, “No Quarter” begins with a very unnerving John Paul Jones synth, the low bass notes creating an added tension against the higher notes and when Page and Bonham join in, the track has a very haunted quality to it. {It should be noted that Page once again “borrows” a piece of the riff here… if you know Jimi Hendrix and his fabulous anti-war statement “Machine Gun” then you should recognize the six note riff that Page employs here. Hint: it’s first played in “Machine Gun” at the 7:37-38 mark.}

This piece is another testament to Jimmy’s studio mastery, as he used a technique known as “vari-speed” in which he slowed the tape down, thus slightly altering the pitch and giving the song it’s signature sound, which is probably as close as Zeppelin ever came to sounding Black Sabbath-esque. Jimmy also uses some great effects on Robert’s vocals, something he seemed quite keen on doing a lot on the “Houses Of The Holy” record, and here it succeeds quite nicely.

After a rather lengthy intro, when Plant finally does enter, his lyrics are once again brilliant and sung in such a way that it’s almost chilling. The Page/Bonham combo drop out for the first verse and it’s just Robert singing alongside Jonsey’s synth/piano, until the full band explodes back in. It’s another in the line of ‘whisper-to-a-scream’ songs and features some exquisite playing by all, but especially Bonzo’s drumming, which he changes throughout the song, sometimes very subtly, and always which a great touch.

Close the door
Put out the light
You know they won’t be home tonight
The snow falls hard and don’t you know
The winds of Thor are blowing cold
They’re wearing steel that’s bright and true
They carry news that must get through
They choose the path where no one goes

They hold no quarter
They hold no quarter

At this point it’s back to just John Paul and we are treated to some extremely beautiful piano playing. Just as Plant is underestimated as a lyricist, so too is Jones as a pianist. Obviously, John Paul was always the most neglected member of the band, probably due in part to the fact that he was the bass player, but also because he was the “quiet one.”

But don’t let that fool you; he was probably the single most talented member of the group. He played everything from bass to mandolin to guitar to piano; he also arranged songs, was the person responsible for the riff in “Black Dog” and was a major and very vital reason for the sound and success of Led Zeppelin. If John Paul Jones had not been in the band, they would have not been as good as they were. And yes, I know that one can say that about every member in the group, and it would be an accurate statement to make, but Jones seems to never get the recognition he so deserves.

After Jonsey’s brief interlude, Page and Bonham re-enter and we get a bit of a funky jam with some nice licks by Jimmy. It’s this kind of jamming that, I feel, always separated Zeppelin from so many of their counterparts.

Walking side by side with Death
The Devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that’s slow
The dogs of doom are howling more

They carry news that must get through
To build a dream for me and you

They choose the path where no one goes
They hold no quarter
They ask no quarter
They hold no quarter
They ask no quarter

During the final stages of the song we get some great improvisation by Plant and one could tell from the album version that this was going to be a massive song on future tours. And, of course, it would be a tour-de-force on the stage. Often extending beyond 20 minutes in length with one known version well over 30 minutes, “No Quarter” became a vehicle to show off John Paul Jones’ incredible skill as well as the trio of Page/Jones/Bonham jamming.

My personal feelings on this song as Zeppelin played it live are sort of torn. On the one hand I love many of the jams they came up with and as a person who loves the piano, I just adore listening to Jonsey play. But anything over 10-12 minutes is, in my opinion, just too much. Basically what it meant was fewer songs being played live so that they could stretch this, as well as two others, out to ridiculous lengths.

Of the three songs that Zeppelin played that featured solo sections, this is by far my favorite. Yes, Jimmy’s bow in “Dazed & Confused” was cool, but “No Quarter” was such a spectacle live that it was superior to “Dazed” and “Moby Dick,” in my humble opinion. Still, I would have preferred shorter versions resulting in more songs being played, but what’s done is done and nothing can change it now.

I will say that “No Quarter,” with its fog and light show and great jamming, was a tremendous and epic event in the live setting.

As stated previously, from 1973 through the Knebworth shows in 1979, “No Quarter” was in the set list and deservedly so. It was dropped in 1980, probably because of “All My Love” and never performed by Led Zeppelin again.

It has resurfaced as part of Plant’s solo tours, usually in a vastly different format than what was on “Houses” or the Zeppelin tours. In 1998, on the Page/Plant tour, they did play “No Quarter” just as it was in Zeppelin, though it was shortened, and whilst it was nice to see/hear this live, it felt a bit odd without John Paul present.

In 1994, when Jimmy and Robert teamed up for the Unledded project, this was one of the songs given a new, acoustic treatment. I have stated prior that I wasn’t particularly happy about John Paul being left out of this “reunion” but I must admit that I really love the acoustic version of “No Quarter.”

On this version, which clocks in at a mere 3:46, Jimmy is using a twelve-string acoustic tuned to D-A-D-G-A-D, the tuning also employed on “White Summer/Black Mountain Side,” “Kashmir,” and “Swan Song” which would later become “Midnight Moonlight” in The Firm.

Jimmy’s guitar is drenched in effects in this version and Plant has some cool echo effects on his vocals as well. Robert changes a few lines around in the acoustic version, but the overall vibe of the song is really tremendous. They also did an acoustic version of “When The Levee Breaks” for the Unledded show, but “No Quarter” was, for me anyway, one of the biggest highlights.

When the three remaining members hooked up with Jason Bonham on 10 December 2007 at the O2, they played a version of this in its original format that was in the 10 minute area and was, as always, very well received.

As I have stated many times, there are so many songs in Zeppelin’s catalog that you simply cannot imagine any other band writing or playing. “No Quarter” is certainly one of those songs. It was, and still is an epic song and live, presented the band in an entirely new light with its doomy intro, beautiful Jonsey solos and the extended jams the band would get into.

Time to close the door and put out the light.

"The Ocean"
WE'VE DONE 40 ALREADY BUT NOW WE'RE STEADY... AND THEN THEY WENT... ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR... And so begins today's song, from the Houses Of The Holy, track eight, clocking in at 4:28, "The Ocean".

Of course Bonzo says "we've done four already", but I thought I'd try to be cute with that intro. You want a MONSTER song? Well here it is babe. That spoken intro by Mr. Bonham kicks off what is one awesome slice from the Zeppelin pie. Jimmy enters with one of his most famous and loved riffs, and yes, we can just FEEL the groove. Bonzo is all over this one, can't you just picture him and Jimmy smiling at each other, each one feeding off the others inspired playing?

"Singing in the sunshine,
laughing in the rain...
hitting on the moonshine,
rocking in the grain...

Got no time to pack my bag,
my foot's outside the door...
I got a date, I can't be late,
for the hell high halia ball..."

Ah yes, Robert singing about good times. I've always loved his vocals on this song, at times he's got a "little boy" quality to his voice, and he seems to be having a lot of fun, which, in turn, just makes this whole song more fun. Another aspect of Robert's singing on this song is his back-up singing. The way he comes in with the "Ooh ooh's", I really enjoy all of his parts on this song. As for the last line in the above verse, I know the record lists those words as something different than I wrote, but if you listen very hard, what is printed is not what he says. I think I've gotten pretty close to what he actually sings.

"Singing to an ocean,
I can hear the ocean's roar...
Play for free and play for me,
And play a whole lot more, more...
Sing about the good things,
and the sun that lights the day
I used to sing to the mountains,
has the ocean lost it's way...
I don't know..."

Now this is where things get real interesting. As Jimmy kicks into his solo, at the 1:37- 1:41 mark, again, listen closely, you will actually hear a telephone ring. It rings several times, and you may not catch it at first, but listen a couple of times, it's there. Now my question is, who is calling the studio? Can't you see the engineer, Eddied Kramer, just freaking out. As Page wails away on his Les Paul somebody has got to get the phone, and NOW! Yet another example of the humour in Zeppelin. Most bands would have re-done the track, minus the ringing phone of course, but not Jimmy. Nah, leave it yeah!

Following Jimmy's solo we are treated to a most unexpected section, Robert acapella, singing "nah nah, nah nah nah nah nah", ect. Who came up with this part, and why is beyond me. Most likely it was Robert, and as strange as it is, it works perfectly.

"Sitting ' round singing songs,
till the night turns into day...
I used to sing to the mountains,
but the mountains washed away...
Now I'm singing all my songs,
to the girl who won my heart...
She is only three years old,
and that's a real fine way to start..."

Here Robert makes a reference to his then three year old daughter, Carmen. What a proud father, including her in a song. Then, out of nowhere, the song takes an abrupt change, into an up tempo ' 50's kinda thing. Jimmy lays down some cool leads on the Les Paul, and Bonzo once again shines with more awesome drumming, and at the very end Robert sums up this song, this album, and in fact the entire career of Led Zeppelin with these words: "Ah, so good". Indeed!

The *Ocean* is supposed to represent the crowds that Zeppelin faced every night. A *sea* of people, and of course *Houses Of The Holy* is where these shows took place, ie; the auditoriums, hockey arena's and such. Very cool on Robert's part to always include the fans.

One can't say enough about John Bonham on this song either. Yes, he gets the intro, but his drumming is so amazing, so tight and solid. He will throw in some little fills here and there that would leave a lot of drummers spinning on their stool. God, why did we have to lose him?

Zeppelin performed this live as early as 1972 in the U.S., used it as an encore in the 1973 UK tour, during the spring of 1973 in Europe and the summer U.S. tour of that same year. Then sadly, they dropped it after that. Of course we are all quite familiar with Robert's "Tall Cool One", with the riff sampled for that. The Beastie Boys ripped it off as well, in one of their mostly forgettable songs, but the neatest use of this song, post-Zeppelin, came from the man who wrote the riff, Jimmy Page. On his Outrider tour, during "Custard Pie", in the second verse he changed from the "Pie" riff to include little bits of "The Ocean" riff, quite cool the way he pulled that one off.

So enjoy this one, cause it's a classic. Great riffs, great drumming, great singing, Jonsey dead on as usual, and a spoken intro via John Bonham.