White Summer

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"White Summer"
Instrumental by The Yardbirds from the album Little Games
Released 24 July 1967 (1967-07-24)
Recorded De Lane Lea Studios, London 28–29 April 1967
Genre Raga rock, instrumental rock
Length 3:56
Label Epic (BN 26313)
Producer Mickie Most
Little Games track listing
"Smile On Me"
(2)
"White Summer"
(3)
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor"
(4)

"White Summer" is a guitar instrumental by English rock guitarist Jimmy Page, which incorporates Indian and Arabic musical influences.[1] It was initially recorded and performed with the Yardbirds and later included in many Led Zeppelin concerts. It is based on an old Irish folk song, "specifically derived from 'She Moved Through the Fair' in the 1963 version by [Davy] Graham, which he in turn credited to Padraic Colum".[1][2] The later Led Zeppelin song "Over the Hills and Far Away" was "spun off"[3] from "White Summer" as well as an unreleased 20-minute instrumental recorded in early 1974 at Headley Grange.[4]

The Yardbirds version[edit]

"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 wind instrumentalist doubling the melody line. It shows "the confluence of traditional Eastern and Western music in its instrumental techniques, musical theory and style".[1] In an interview Page gave in 1977, he 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.[5]

Page also commented that he called this tuning his "'C.I.A.' tuning — Celtic-Indian-Arabic — because that's what it was ... DADGAD was something going around the folk scene during the 1960s"[1] 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.[5]

Led Zeppelin version[edit]

"White Summer/Black Mountain Side"
Instrumental by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin Boxed Set
Released 7 September 1990 (1990-09-07)
Recorded Playhouse Theatre London, 27 June 1969
Genre Raga rock, instrumental rock
Length 8:01
Label Atlantic
Producer Jimmy Page
Boxed Set track listing
"Hey Hey What Can I Do"
(CD1 14)
"White Summer"/ "Black Mountain Side"
(CD1 15)
"Black Dog"
(CD2 1)

Led Zeppelin frequently performed "White Summer" as part of a medley with "Black Mountain Side" during their 1968–70 tours[6] and again on the 1977 US, 1979 and 1980 Europe tours. A live performance during the band's U.K. Tour of Summer 1969[7]was recorded by the BBC at the Playhouse Theatre in London on 27 June 1969 for the pilot of Radio One's In Concert series. This recording was released in 1990 on the Led Zeppelin Boxed Set with the combined title "White Summer/Black Mountain Side". The piece was later included as a bonus track on the 1993 boxed set The Complete Studio Recordings.

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".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Shadwick, Keith (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music 1968–1980 (1st ed.). San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 18. ISBN 0-87930-871-0. 
  2. ^ A Graham version is sometimes listed as "She Moved Thru' the Bizarre/Blue Raga" (The Guitar Player bonus tracks).
  3. ^ Russo, Greg (1998). Yardbirds: The Ultimate Rave-Up. Crossfire Publications. ISBN 0-9648157-3-7. 
  4. ^ Shadwick 2005, p. 214.
  5. ^ a b Steven Rosen, 1977 Jimmy Page Interview, Modern Guitars, 25 May 2007 (originally published in the July 1977, issue of Guitar Player magazine).
  6. ^ Lewis, Dan; Pallett, Simon (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Concert File. Omnibus Press. pp. 20–80. ISBN 1-84449-659-7. 
  7. ^ Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.