|Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin III|
|Released||5 November 1970|
|Led Zeppelin III track listing|
"Celebration Day" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, and the third track from their 1970 album Led Zeppelin III. The band's last concert film and album, released on 19 November 2012, took their name from this song.
Composition and recording
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, they used the synthesizer drone from the end of "Friends" to fill up the gap.
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.
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.
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."
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.
Formats and tracklistings
1970 7" single (South Africa: Atlantic Teal MR 10)
- A. "Celebration Day" (Jones, Page, Plant) 3:29
- B. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
- Robert Plant - vocals
- Jimmy Page - guitars
- John Paul Jones - bass guitar, moog synthesiser
- John Bonham - drums
- Shadwick, Keith (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music 1968–1980 (1st ed.). San Francisco: Backbeat Books. pp. 133–134. ISBN 0-87930-871-0.
- Interview with Jimmy Page, Guitar World magazine, 1993
- Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
- The Playlist Special: Fifty Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10s. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 January 2011. Archived December 11, 2010 at the Wayback Machine