|Song by Led Zeppelin|
|from the album In Through the Out Door|
|Released||15 August 1979|
|Studio||Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden|
"Carouselambra" is the fifth song on Led Zeppelin's 1979 album In Through the Out Door. The title refers to the first section of the song that has similarities to carousel music. At more than 10 minutes in length, the song is the second-longest the band recorded in the studio. John Paul Jones' synthesizers dominate the song, with Jimmy Page's guitar playing a supporting role.
Composition and recording
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With its early working title of "The Epic", "Carouselambra" was conceived during the band's rehearsals at Clearwell Castle in May 1978. The song itself is split in three sections. The first section is a fast-paced showcase of Jones on synthesizer (he overdubbed bass guitar or already recorded it as part of the backing track), with Robert Plant's vocals mixed down slightly underneath Jones, the drums of John Bonham and Page's guitar chord progression. The second section is much slower in pace, highlighting Page's use of the Gibson EDS-1275 double-necked guitar, the only time he used that instrument on a Led Zeppelin studio song, while Plant sings some reflective lyrics. The final section returns to an up-tempo beat, with all four band members performing in unison. Page's deep, droning guitar sound was produced with a Gizmotron, a device that creates infinite sustain, unusual harmonics, and allows the guitar to sound like a string section.
In a contemporary review for In Through the Out Door, Charles M. Young of Rolling Stone described "Carouselambra" as having "an extremely lame keyboard riff" and said the song was too long, clocking in at "an absurd 10:28". Young also called the song extremely repetitive, and while "repetition to weave a hypnotic effect has always been part of the Zeppelin sound, what they are repeating here is not worth the effort."
In a retrospective review of In Through the Out Door (Deluxe Edition), Andrew Doscas of PopMatters gave "Carouselambra" a negative review, calling the song something you would hear from either Styx or Genesis and not Zeppelin. Doscas found Plant "mumbling inaudible inanities for about 60% of the song." While Doscas found the song's synthesizers catchy, he found that Zeppelin fans will find it hard not to skip over "Carouselambra" after the four minute mark "in favor of the final two tracks." On the Deluxe Edition, Doscas found Plant's vocals on the "Carouselambra" rough mix (titled "The Epic") much more clear than the original version.
"Carouselambra" was never played live by the band at Led Zeppelin concerts. During the 1995–1996 Page and Plant tour, Plant would often sing the middle verse of the song when he and Page performed "In the Evening".
A rough mix of the song with fewer overdubs was re-released in 2015 on In Through the Out Door (Deluxe Edition), with the title "The Epic".
- Davis, Stephen (1985). Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 291. ISBN 0-345-33516-3.
- Led Zeppelin (2010). Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door Platinum Album Edition: Drum Set Transcriptions. Alfred Music. p. 3. ISBN 9780739075081.
- For comparison, the original Swan Song album LP record labels list "In My Time of Dying" at 11:08, "Carouselambra" at 10:28, and "Tea for One" at 9:27.
- Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
- Young, Charles M. (18 October 1979). "In Through The Out Door". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- Doscas, Andrew (22 September 2015). "Led Zeppelin: In Through the Out Door (Deluxe Edition)". PopMatters. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
- Los Angeles 6/26/77 - It'll Be Me; Official website
- Grow, Kory (3 June 2015). "Led Zeppelin Announces Final Three Deluxe Reissues". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 August 2017.