D'yer Mak'er

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"D'yer Mak'er"
D'yer Mak'er45.jpg
German single picture sleeve
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Houses of the Holy
B-side"The Crunge"
Released17 September 1973 (1973-09-17) (US)
StudioStargroves, East Woodhay, England
GenreReggae rock[1]
Producer(s)Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Over the Hills and Far Away"
"D'yer Mak'er"
"Trampled Under Foot"
Audio sample

"D'yer Mak'er" (/əˈmkə/) is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, from their 1973 album Houses of the Holy. The title is a play on the word "Jamaica" when spoken in an English accent.[2]


This song was meant to imitate reggae and its "dub" derivative emerging from Jamaica in the early 1970s. Its genesis is traced to Led Zeppelin's rehearsals at Stargroves in 1972, when drummer John Bonham started with a beat similar to 1950s doo-wop, and then twisted it into a slight off beat tempo, upon which a reggae influence emerged.[3] The distinctive drum sound was created by placing three microphones a good distance away from Bonham's drums.

This track, as well as another song entitled "The Crunge", was initially not taken seriously by many listeners, and some critics reserved their harshest criticism for these two arrangements.[3] In an interview he gave in 1977, Jimmy Page referred to this negative response: "I didn't expect people not to get it. I thought it was pretty obvious. The song itself was a cross between reggae and a '50s number, "Poor Little Fool," Ben E. King's things, stuff like that."[4]

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones has expressed his distaste for the song, suggesting that it started off as a studio joke and was not thought through carefully enough.[3] Upon the album's release, Robert Plant was keen to issue the track as a single in the United Kingdom. Atlantic Records went so far as to distribute advance promotional copies to DJs (now valuable collectors' items). While it was released in the US, and the single peaked at No. 20 on 29 December 1973, it was never released in the UK.[3]

"D'yer Mak'er" is one of the few Led Zeppelin songs where all four members share the composer credit. The sleeve on the first album pressing also gives tribute to "Rosie and the Originals",[3] a reference to the doo-wop influence in the song's style.

Pronunciation of song title[edit]

In a 2005 interview, Plant discussed the different interpretations and pronunciations of the name of the song.[2] He explained that the title is derived from an old joke, where two friends have the following exchange: "My wife's gone to the West Indies." "Jamaica?" (which in an English accent sounds like "Did you make her?") "No, she wanted to go".[5]

The title, which does not appear in the lyrics, was chosen because it reflects the reggae feel of the song, and as an example of the Led Zeppelin band members' senses of humour.[2][6] Because of the unfamiliarity of listeners to this back-story, as well as ignoring the apostrophes intentionally placed in the title, DJs and fans often mispronounce the title as "dire maker".[2] This confusion and mispronunciation was more common in the US than in Britain, according to Jimmy Page.[7]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Cash Box described the song as being "unique for the group, but a real charmer."[8]

In a contemporary review for Houses of the Holy, Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone gave "D'yer Mak'er" a negative review, calling it a "naked imitation", along with "The Crunge", as well as "easily" one of the worst things the band has ever attempted.[9] Fletcher further wrote the track is a "pathetic stab at reggae that would probably get the Zep laughed off the island if they bothered playing it in Jamaica."[9] Fletcher ended by writing the track is "obnoxiously heavy-handed and totally devoid of the native form's sensibilities."[9]

Axl Rose cited it as a song that meant a lot to him as a teenager: "That got me into heavy rock."[10] It is included on the Radio Caroline "Top 500 Tracks" of 1999 at number 453.[11] In 2019, Rolling Stone ranked the song number 20 on its list of the 40 greatest Led Zeppelin songs.[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Led Zeppelin". Electric Lady Studios. Archived from the original on 31 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Halloran, Mike (DJ) (21 July 2005). Original full-length interview (radio). San Diego, California: FM94.9. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  4. ^ Schulps, Dave (October 1977). "Interview with Jimmy Page". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  5. ^ Greene, Andy (21 November 2012). "The 10 Wildest Led Zeppelin Legends, Fact-Checked". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  6. ^ Schulps, Dave (1977). "Jimmy Page: The Trouser Press Interview". Trouser Press. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  7. ^ Elliott, Paul (22 October 2016). "Bonham, Grohl & Led Zeppelin's legacy: An epic Jimmy Page interview". Classic Rock. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Singles Reviews > Picks of the Week" (PDF). Cash Box. Vol. XXXV, no. 16. 6 October 1973. p. 26. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  9. ^ a b c Fletcher, Gordon (7 June 1973). "Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  10. ^ Wall, Mick (January 2002). "Eve of destruction". Classic Rock. No. 36. p. 95.
  11. ^ "THE CHART ROOM – Radio Caroline Top 500 Tracks 1999". Radio Caroline. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  12. ^ "The 40 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4978a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  14. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Singles – February 1974". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
  15. ^ "Houses of the Holy – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  16. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending DECEMBER 29, 1973". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.
  17. ^ "The Singles Chart" (PDF). Record World. 29 December 1973. p. 63. ISSN 0034-1622. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  18. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1974". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012.