10 Curious Facts About Led Zeppelin's 'Houses Of The Holy'

posted by Carter Alan - 

Houses of the Holy

Led Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" album was the first to have a proper title other than a number, or in the case of it's famous 4th predecessor, no title at all.  The album presented the band's broadest musical swath yet, including use of doo-wop, reggae, and pseudo-funk alongside the band's usual rock assault. Here are 10 things that most folks don't know about, perhaps, Zeppelin's most eclectic album.

10.  Jimmy Page said that the inspiration for "The Rain Song" came when George Harrison met Zeppelin's John Bonham and remarked that the problem with the drummer's band was that they didn't do any ballads.  Page took that as a challenge and also said that the beginning of "The Rain Song" nabs the first couple notes of Harrison's "Something."

9.  Robert Plant vamps some lyrics in "The Ocean": "I'm singing all my songs to the girl who won my heart.  She is only three years old and it's a real fine way to start!" which refer to Plant's daughter.  Carmen Plant was born in October 1968 and the song was written in '72.  Plant's daughter is 49 now!    

8.  Some of the sessions for the album were recorded at Mick Jagger's Stargroves mansion with the Rolling Stones mobile studio running cables into various rooms in the house.  It would have been very loud and highly disruptive to Jagger's family, but Mick was at one of his other places anyway, so no owner/tenant rockstar arguments ensued!     

7.  Led Zeppelin printed the lyrics of all the songs on the inside sleeve of "Houses of the Holy."  This was the first time, except for "Stairway to Heaven" on the 4th album, that the band did this.

6.  As impossible as it might seem today, critics were not kind to "House of the Holy," dismissing it's  adventurous nature and broad musical palette.  The band members were devastated by the critical reaction, but heartened when the first concert of the U.S. tour at Atlanta's Braves Stadium instantly sold out its 49,000-seat capacity.  

5.  For a long time, the album's opening "The Song Remains the Same" was an instrumental that Page originally titled "The Overture."  It was also called "Slush" and "The Campaign" by the band. 

4.  Although "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "D'yer Maker" were both released as successful singles in America, reaching #53 and #20 respectively, none were issued in England.  In fact, Zeppelin wanted to be known as an album band in their home country and did not release any singles in the U.K. while they were together.    

3.  During the first playback of "Dancing Days," the band members were so euphoric over its sound they they danced right out of the studio and into the mansion's spacious back lawn.  Oh, for a video camera...

2.  Jimmy Page already had the riff to "The Crunge" in 1965, before he joined the Yardbirds.  The song invites comparisons to James Brown, but the way Zeppelin did it is virtually undanceable.  As a joke, the band members thought of putting steps in the cover of the album to help fans do the dance!

1.  The band had major problems with the album artwork, specifically the color of the album jacket which came out a psychedelic luminescent orange with the children a weird shade of purple.  It took months to correct, so much so that the cover actually took longer to produce than the music


Carter Alan

Carter Alan

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