Good Times Bad Times

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"Good Times Bad Times"
German single picture sleeve
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin
B-side "Communication Breakdown"
Released 10 March 1969 (1969-03-10) (US)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded October 1968
Studio Olympic, London
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 2:43
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Good Times Bad Times"
"Whole Lotta Love"
Audio sample

"Good Times Bad Times" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, featured as the opening track on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.


For the lead guitar solo, guitarist Jimmy Page passed his Fender Telecaster guitar through a Leslie speaker to create a swirling effect.[3][4] This type of speaker contains a rotating horn enclosure and was designed for a Hammond organ. However, guitars could be used with it. In an interview, he gave to Guitar World magazine in 1993, Page explained:

I do remember using the board to overdrive a Leslie cabinet for the main riff in 'How Many More Times'. It doesn't sound like a Leslie because I wasn't employing the rotating speakers. Surprisingly, that sound has real weight. The guitar is going through the board, then through an amp which was driving the Leslie cabinet. It was a very successful experiment.[5]

Page, also the band's producer, placed microphones all over the recording studio to capture a live sound when this song was recorded.

This song is also notable for drummer John Bonham's repeated use of a series of two sixteenth-note triplets on a single bass drum, an effect many subsequent rock drummers have imitated, and as well as keeping the hi-hat playing eighth notes throughout almost the entire song with his left foot. Bonham had reportedly developed this technique after listening to Vanilla Fudge. He was unaware that drummer Carmine Appice was actually playing on a double bass set. As Page has stated:

The most stunning thing about the track, of course, is Bonzo's amazing kick drum. It's superhuman when you realize he was not playing with double kick. That's one kick drum! That's when people started understanding what he was all about.[5]

Bass guitarist John Paul Jones has also remarked on his own contribution to the track:

Usually anything [by Led Zeppelin] with lots of notes was mine and anything with chunky chords was Page's. Things like 'Good Times Bad Times', those are my sort of riffs, they're quite busy.[6]

Jones says that the riff he wrote for this song was the most difficult one he ever wrote.[5]

Live performances[edit]

"Good Times Bad Times" was rarely played live at Led Zeppelin concerts in its entirety. In a few instances in 1969 it was used as an introduction to "Communication Breakdown" (as seen in Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Edition). It also appeared in almost complete form within the "Communication Breakdown" medley performed at the LA Forum on 4 September 1970, where it included a bass solo by Jones (as can be heard on the Led Zeppelin bootleg recording Live on Blueberry Hill), and several "Whole Lotta Love" medleys in 1971. It was also the opening song for Led Zeppelin's reunion show at the O2 Arena, London on 10 December 2007. The version of "Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown" released 15 April 2014, on iTunes, is from 10 October 1969 in Paris, on the European Tour of Autumn 1969.


In a reassessment of Led Zeppelin in 2016, Andy Greene of Rolling Stone praised "Good Times Bad Times", writing the song begins the album with a bang: "Jimmy Page's guitar pounces from the speakers, fat with menace; John Bonham's kick drum swings with anvil force; Robert Plant rambles on about the perils of manhood. Hard rock would never be the same."[7]


Publication Country Accolade Year
Blender United States "The 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now!"[8] 2003

Formats and track listings[edit]

1969 7-inch single (UK: Atlantic 584269, US/New Zealand: Atlantic 45-2613, Australia: Atlantic AK 2914, Canada: Atlantic AT 2613X, France: Atlantic 650 153, Germany: Atlantic ATL 70369, Greece: Atlantic 255 002, Italy: Atlantic ATL NP 03117, Japan: Nihon Gramophone DT-1105, Philippines: Atlantic 45-3734, Sweden: Atlantic ATL 70.369)

  • A. "Good Times Bad Times" (Bonham/Jones/Page) – 2:47
  • B. "Communication Breakdown" (Bonham/Jones/Page) – 2:28

1969 7-inch single (South Africa: Atlantic ATS410)

1969 7-inch EP (Mexico: Atlantic EPA 1577)

  • A1. "Good Times Bad Times" – 2:47
  • A2. "Communication Breakdown" – 2:28
  • B. "Dazed and Confused" (Page) – 6:26

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1969) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[9] 64
Japan (Oricon)[10] 84
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 19
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[12] 17
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 80
US Cash Box[14] 66
US Record World[15] 65


Cover versions[edit]

Godsmack cover[edit]

"Good Times, Bad Times"
Single by Godsmack
from the album Good Times, Bad Times... Ten Years of Godsmack
Released 2007
Format CD single
Recorded 2007
Length 2:57
Producer(s) Sully Erna
Godsmack singles chronology
"The Enemy"
"Good Times, Bad Times"
"Whiskey Hangover"
"The Enemy"
"Good Times, Bad Times"
"Whiskey Hangover"

American rock band Godsmack covered the song in 2007, for their album, Good Times, Bad Times... Ten Years of Godsmack. It was the only song on the album to be newly released as a single and gained moderate radio airplay on US rock stations. A music video was also created for the Godsmack version of the song, featuring live footage.


Chart (2007) Peak
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[16] 8
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[16] 28


  1. ^ "Led Zeppelin Biography". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 7 June 2014. launching pithy hard-rock rave-ups like "Good Times Bad Times" and "Communication Breakdown." 
  2. ^ Plant was later given a songwriting credit. ISWC T-070.066.161-5
  3. ^ Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9. 
  4. ^ Rosen, Steven (25 May 2007). "1977 Jimmy Page Interview (Audio/Text)". Archived from the original on 6 May 2008. . (originally published in the July 1977, issue of Guitar Player magazine) Modern Guitars.
  5. ^ a b c Schulps, Dave (1993). "Interview with Jimmy Page". Guitar World. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Long, Andy (March 2002). "Get The Led Out". Global Bass Online. Retrieved 17 March 2008. 
  7. ^ Greene, Andy (25 July 2016). "10 Classic Albums Rolling Stone Originally Panned: Led Zeppelin, 'Led Zeppelin' (1969)". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  8. ^ "Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times". Blender. Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 17 May 2016. 
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5981." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Top 100 Singles – 5 June 1969" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Led Zeppelin - Good Times Bad Times search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  12. ^ " – Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  13. ^ "Led Zeppelin – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 26, 1969". Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. . Cash Box.
  15. ^ "100 Top Pops" (PDF). Record World. 26 April 1969. p. 29. ISSN 0034-1622. Retrieved 23 September 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 

External links[edit]