Celebration Day

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For Led Zeppelin's concert film and live album, see Celebration Day (film).
"Celebration Day"
Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin III
Released 5 October 1970
Recorded May - August 1970
Genre Hard rock, funk rock
Length 3:30
Label Atlantic Records
Writer Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin III track listing
"Friends"
(2)
"Celebration Day"
(3)
"Since I've Been Loving You"
(4)

"Celebration Day" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, and the third track from their 1970 album Led Zeppelin III. The film and album of the same name was named after this song, released on 19 November 2012.

Composition and recording[edit]

The song starts with a number of guitar chords played at high speed on top of a monotonic drone created with a Moog synthesizer. This connects the song musically with the preceding track on the album, "Friends", which ends with the same buzz. Originally, one of John Bonham's drum tracks was to be used in the intro of "Celebration Day", but an engineer accidentally erased the recording. Unable or unwilling to re-record it, the synthesizer drone from the end of "Friends" was used to fill up the gap.[1]

In an interview Page gave to Guitar World magazine in 1993, he discussed the construction of the song:

There's about three or four riffs going down on that one, isn't there? Half was done with a guitar in standard tuning and the other half was done on slide guitar tuned to an open A, I think. We put that together at Headley Grange. Because we rented the Rolling Stones' mobile recording studio, we could relax and take our time and develop the songs in rehearsals. I do not remember too much about that song other than that and what I told you earlier about the opening being erased. I used to play the whole thing live on my electric 12-string.[1]

Robert Plant's lyrics were inspired by his impressions of the city of New York. On Zeppelin's 1971 concert tour of the United States, he would sometimes introduce it as "The New York Song". "Celebration Day" was often played live in Led Zeppelin concerts from 1971–73, and was returned to the band's setlist at the Knebworth Festival in 1979, where Page performed the song using his Gibson EDS-1275 double-necked guitar.[2]

Record producer Rick Rubin has said of the song: "["Celebration Day"] feels like a freight train, even though it's not one of their heavier songs. There's tremendous momentum in the way they play together. The bass playing is beyond incredible and the guitars interact really well—there's a heavy-riffing guitar, which is answered by a funky guitar."[3]

Other versions[edit]

A live version of the song from the band's 1973 U.S. tour was recorded and included on their concert soundtrack The Song Remains the Same. The album's accompanying film of the same name, released in 1976, did not include a live video of "Celebration Day". However, when the album and the film were reissued in 2007 (the latter in DVD format), both featured the song. This reissued version is slightly different from the one that was included on the 1976 album, in particular featuring a different guitar solo.

Page performed "Celebration Day" on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999, and another version performed by them can be found on the album Live at the Greek.

Formats and tracklistings[edit]

1970 7" single (South Africa: Atlantic Teal MR 10)

  • A. "Celebration Day" (Jones, Page, Plant) 3:29
  • B. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25

Personnel[edit]

Covers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Interview with Jimmy Page, Guitar World magazine, 1993
  2. ^ Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  3. ^ The Playlist Special: Fifty Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10s. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 January 2011.[dead link]