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Happy 50th Anniversary to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Houses of the Holy’! The fifth studio album from the rock & roll hall of famers was released March 28th, 1973 via Atlantic Records. This was the follow-up to Zeppelin’s massive smash hit ‘Untitled’ aka ‘Zeppelin IV’ album, which to this day, is their best-selling album at over 37 million copies sold worldwide. Although there was a bit of a mixed response to ‘Houses of the Holy’ upon its release, it still became a commercial success selling over 10 million copies in the US.

  • The Song Remains The Same

    The albums opening track on side one is the Jimmy Page penned “The Song Remains the Same”. I always thought John Bonham’s drumming on this song was insane, the syncopation and within the first couple of bars alone really shows the kind of talent that Bonham truly was.

  • Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains the Same (Madison Square Garden 1973)

  • The Rain Song

    Track number two, “The Rain Song”,  was also composed by Jimmy Page at his home studio, including the entire arrangement and melody for the vocals. He was inspired to write the song after George Harrison mentioned that Zeppelin “never did any ballads”. The opening chord progression are the same as the song “Something” from the album ‘Abby Road’ by The Beatles.

  • The Rain Song - Jimmy Page & Robert Plant

  • Over the Hills and Far Away

    Track three “Over the Hills and Far Away” had a melodic start to it with Jimmy Page on the acoustic guitar, but by songs end Page had swapped out the acoustic for a ripping electric guitar to bring the song to a rocking crescendo.

  • Led Zeppelin - Over the Hills and Far Away (Official Music Video)

  • The Crunge

    The fourth and final track on side one, “The Crunge”, was written by Bonzo and developed out a jam. He created a funk-styled beat, that stepped on and off the beat with Plant initially  improvising lyrics in the manner of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

  • The Crunge

  • D'Yer Mak'er

    Track number two on side two was a song called “D’Yer Mak’er”. For YEARS I referenced the song as exactly that “Dyer Maker”, however, it is pronounced “Jer-maker”. John Bonham came up with the idea for the song after trying to combine reggae and 1950’s doo-wop. Zeppelin bassist, John Paul Jones, didn’t care for the track, saying ti was treated as a joke and not thought out well.  The song eventually became a Top 20 hit here in the United States.

  • D'yer Mak'er (Remaster)

  • Dancing Days

    Flipping the vinyl over to track one on side two, you get the great tune “Dancing Days”. The song was inspired by the enjoyment of their sessions at Stargroves, and the lyrics show a general optimism about life in general. Stargroves was a mansion that was owned by Mick Jagger in the 1970’s located in the English countryside of Hampshire. The Stones recorded a number of singles and albums at Stargroves, including songs that appeared on ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Exile on Main Street”, and ‘It’s Only Rock n Roll”. The Who also recorded “Won’t Get Fooled Again” at Stargroves. Stone Temple Pilots do an excellent cover version of ‘Dancing Days’ on ‘Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin”.

  • Dancing Days-Remastered

  • STONE TEMPLE PILOTS | Live on David Letterman (1994)

  • No Quarter

    The second to last track on the album was the mind-blowing (to me anyway) “No Quarter”. The John Paul Jones creation actually dates back to the previous album ‘Zeppelin IV’, but was abandoned and reworked years later. The studio version clocks in at 7 minutes, with live versions boasting extended jams and solos upwards of 20 minutes or more.  Tool recorded a masterful version of “No Quarter” on their box set ‘Salival’. A must listen if you haven’t heard it before!

  • Led Zeppelin - No Quarter (Live at Madison Square Garden 1973)

  • Tool-No Quarter

  • The Ocean

    The final track was the fan-popular, and radio friendly, “The Ocean”. According to bands biographer Dave Lewis, the ocean is a metaphor for the “sea of heads” faced by singer Robert Plant “in the auditoriums” night after night.

  • The Ocean (Remastered)

  • The Cover Art

    The cover art for ‘Houses of the Holy’ was inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s novel ‘Childhood’s End. The collage of photographs was taken at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, by Aubrey Powell of Hipgnosis. The photoshoot took the better part of 10 days to complete in order to capture the desired lighting of dawn & dusk. According to Jimmy Page, he stated that the album cover was the second version submitted. The first, was by artist Storm Thorgerson, featuring an electric green tennis court was a tennis racket on it. The band was upset with Thorgerson since the members in Led Zeppelin thought he was implying a bit of a visual pun, that their music sounded like a “racket”. He was subsequently fired from the project.

    ‘Houses of the Holy” was reissued in 2014, featuring a bonus disc of rough mixes, overdubs, and instrumentals. Since its initial release, 50 years ago today, ‘Houses of the Holy’ has sold over 11 million copies here in the United States – receiving Diamond status by the RIAA. Making it one of Led Zeppelin’s most successful releases ever.

  • Cover

    Houses of the Holy Album Cover

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