The Crunge

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"The Crunge"
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Houses of the Holy
A-side "D'yer Mak'er"
Released 28 March 1973
Recorded 1972
Genre Funk rock
Length 3:17
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant
Producer(s) Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Over the Hills and Far Away" / "Dancing Days"
"D'yer Mak'er" / "The Crunge"
"Trampled Under Foot" / "Black Country Woman"
Houses of the Holy track listing
"Over the Hills and Far Away"
"The Crunge"
"Dancing Days"
Audio sample
file info · help

"The Crunge" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1973 album Houses of the Holy. It was also released as the B-side of "D'yer Mak'er" in the US.


The song evolved out of a jam session in the studio. John Bonham started the beat, John Paul Jones came in on bass, Jimmy Page played a funk guitar riff (and a chord sequence that he'd been experimenting with since 1970), and Robert Plant started singing.[1][2] For the recording of this track, Page played on a Stratocaster guitar and it is possible to hear him depressing a whammy bar at the end of each phrase.[1]

This song is a play on James Brown's style of funk in the same way that "D'yer Mak'er" (which it backed on a single release) experiments with reggae.[2] Since most of James Brown's earlier studio recordings were done live with almost no rehearsal time, he often gave directions to the band in-song e.g. "take it to the bridge" - the bridge of the song. Robert Plant pays tribute to this at the end by asking "Where's that confounded bridge?" (spoken, just as the song finishes abruptly since the song doesn't contain a bridge).

A voice is audible at the beginning asking, "You almost ready to go?" and someone answers, "If you like it." The voices that can be heard talking on the recording just as Bonham's drums begin on the intro are those of Jimmy Page and audio engineer George Chkianz.[2]

Prior to 1975, "The Crunge" was only heard live at Led Zeppelin concerts during the band's "Whole Lotta Love" medley and their 1972 tour version of "Dazed and Confused". One example of this arrangement is presented on the live album How the West Was Won, where it also appears with "Walter's Walk" on a 25 minute medley. However, on the 1975 tour of the United States the song was performed almost entirely several times, in the funk jam that would link "Whole Lotta Love" and "Black Dog" at the end of the concert.

The band's bass player John Paul Jones considers this to be one of his favourite Led Zeppelin songs.[3]

Time signatures[edit]

Some of the humour of the song derives from the juxtaposition of James Brown funk against shifting time signatures. One way to count out the song is as follows:

Intro measure:
1 x 9/8

Part 1:
7 x 9/8 (or 4/8 + 5/8)
1 x 8/8 (or 4/8 + 4/8)
Part 2:
3 x 4/4
1 x 5/8
1 x 2/4
3 x 4/4
1 x 5/8
1 x 2/4
3 x 4/4
1 x 2/4
1 x 2/8

then return to "Part 1", play through pattern two more times, end with roughly
23 x 9/8 (last one ends in the middle of the measure, with drums ending on the 5th beat and the synth continuing for a beat or two).

alternate form analysis:


7 bars 9/8

1 bar 4/4


3 bars 4/4

1 bar 9/8


3 bars 4/4

1 bar 6/8

References in other media[edit]

  • A reference to "The Crunge" is made in the film Almost Famous. On the shirt of the Led Zeppelin fanatic, Vic, is written the four "runes" from Led Zeppelin IV and "Have You Seen the Bridge?".
  • This song was the title of a season 5 episode of That 70s Show. All season 5 episodes were named after Led Zeppelin tunes.

Formats and track listings[edit]

1973 7" single(Uruguay: Atlantic 74007)

  • A. "D'yer Mak'er" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 4:23
  • B. "The Crunge" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 3:17


Cover versions[edit]


  • Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
  • Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 1-56025-818-7


  1. ^ a b Interview with Jimmy Page; Guitar World magazine, 1993
  2. ^ a b c Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  3. ^ Long, Andy (March 2002). "Get The Led Out". Global Bass Online. Retrieved 2008-03-17.