"White Summer" was recorded 28–29 April 1967 at De Lane Lea Studios in London. Jimmy Page was the only band member to perform on the recording and was accompanied by Chris Karan on tabla and an unidentified oboe player doubling the melody line. The song combines elements of traditional Eastern as well as Western music. In a 1977 interview, Page commented, "I used a special tuning for [the song]; the low string down to D, then A, D, G, A and D. It’s like a modal tuning, a sitar tuning, in fact". He added that he called this tuning "'C.I.A.' tuning—Celtic-Indian-Arabic—because that's what it was ... D–A–D–G–A–D was something going around the folk scene during the 1960s" and was used by Davy Graham for his "She Moved Through the Fair".
"White Summer" was released on the Yardbirds' last album, Little Games. An alternate take/mix without the accompaniment was included on the 1992 Yardbirds compilation Cumular Limit. It was a staple of live Yardbird performances with Jim McCarty usually providing a drum part and appears on the albums Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page and Glimpses 1963–1968. When playing the song live with the Yardbirds, Page used a 1961 Danelectro 3021 guitar.
Page used his Danelectro to play the medley, as shown on 2003's Led Zeppelin DVD, which was filmed at the Royal Albert Hall on 9 January 1970. On 23 April 1970, Page performed the piece on the Julie Felix Show. Page also played it when he was with The Firm and again during his Outrider tour, seguing into "White Summer/Black Mountain Side" as part of the solo section of "Midnight Moonlight".