Headley Grange is a former poorhouse in Headley, Hampshire, England, UK. It is best known for its use as a recording and rehearsal venue in the 1960s and 1970s, by acts including Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Peter Frampton, the Pretty Things, Ian Dury and Clover.
Today the house is a private residence.
Built in 1795, Headley Grange is a three-storey stone structure which was originally used as a workhouse for the poor, infirm and orphaned. It was the centre of a well-publicised riot in 1830, which is the subject of a 2002 book by local author John Owen Smith, entitled One Monday in November – The Story of the Selborne and Headley Workhouse Riots of 1830. The building was bought in 1870 by builder Thomas Kemp for £420; he converted it into a private residence, and named it Headley Grange.
Use as a recording and rehearsal studio
Parts of Led Zeppelin's albums Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV, Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti were composed and/or recorded at Headley Grange. Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant wrote most of the lyrics to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" there in a single day. The Led Zeppelin song "Black Dog," which, like Stairway, appeared on Led Zeppelin IV, was named after a black Labrador Retriever which was found hanging around Headley Grange during recording.
According to Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page:
Headley Grange was somewhat rundown; the heating didn't work. But it had one major advantage. Other bands had rehearsed there and hadn't had any complaints. That's a major issue, because you don't want to go somewhere and start locking into the work process and then have to pull out.
In an interview he gave to Mojo magazine in 2010, Page elaborated:
The reason we went there in the first place was to have a live-in situation where you're writing and really living the music. We'd never really had that experience before as a group, apart from when Robert [Plant] and I had gone to Bron-Yr-Aur. But that was just me and Robert going down there and hanging out in the bosom of Wales and enjoying it. This was different. It was all of us really concentrating in a concentrated environment and the essence of what happened there manifested itself across three albums (IV, Houses of the Holy, Physical Graffiti).
Yazoo recorded the video for their track "Don't Go" at Headley Grange.
Depiction in It Might Get Loud
In the 2009 documentary It Might Get Loud, Page is filmed visiting Headley Grange and discussing the recording of Led Zeppelin IV there. He discussed how the drums for "When the Levee Breaks" were recorded in the cavernous hallway, with its echoing acoustics.
He later recalled of this visit:
[My] memories of it were still very much as it was when we'd played there originally. It wasn't really being used back then, but the same family still own it. The lady who rented it to [Led Zeppelin] I think had passed on, but I think her granddaughter lives there now. My memories of it were really as it was in those old days with the heating not working and it being very damp, but it was still the scene of some very high-energy playing ... [In the film] I was quite overwhelmed when I went in, not only because of the past but also because now it was a house and I was poking around in a house that was a home. There was furniture, ornaments, pictures and even some musical instruments ... [T]he dimensions of the hall were still as I remembered it. I also went into the other rooms, including the room I slept in and where the fire was where we used to keep warm and it was quite overwhelming.
- Tolinski, Brad and di Benedetto, Greg (January 1998). "Light and Shade: A Historic Look at the Entire Led Zeppelin Catalogue Through the Eyes of Guitarist/Producer/Mastermind Jimmy Page". Guitar World magazine, pp. 100-104.
- Liner notes by Cameron Crowe for The Complete Studio Recordings
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation - Triple J Music Specials - Led Zeppelin (first broadcast 2000-07-12)
- “I first met Jimmy on Tolworth Broadway, holding a bag of exotic fish...”, Uncut, January 2009, p. 43.
- Phil Alexander, “Up Close & Personal”, Mojo magazine, February 2010, pp. 72-79.
- The Annotated Lamb Lies Down on Broadway