|Single by Led Zeppelin|
|from the album Presence|
|A-side||"Candy Store Rock"|
|Released||18 June 1976|
|Format||Seven-inch 45 rpm record|
|Recorded||Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, November–December 1975|
|Label||Swan Song (no. 70110)|
|Writer(s)||John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant|
|Led Zeppelin singles chronology|
When in New Orleans on concert tours, members of the group would stay at the Royal Orleans Hotel, and the song is reportedly based on an incident that occurred there. The story goes that once, when staying at the hotel in the early 1970s, John Paul Jones brought a woman from the bar up to his room, unaware "she" was actually a transvestite. Both smoked marijuana and fell asleep, the transvestite with a lit joint in his hand, which caught fire and burned the room down (though everyone escaped). The lyrics include lines such as "Be careful how you choose it" and "Poor whiskers set the room alight" to reference the event.
The song alludes to Jones' involvement with the lyrics:
And when the sun peeked through
John Cameron with Suzanna,
He kissed the whiskers, left & right
In an interview he gave to Mojo magazine in 2007, Jones clarified the reliability of the story, stating that:
The transvestites were actually friends of Richard [Cole's]; normal friendly people and we were all at some bar. That I mistook a transvestite for a girl is rubbish; that happened in another country to somebody else... Anyway 'Stephanie' ended up in my room and we rolled a joint or two and I fell asleep and set fire to the hotel room, as you do, ha ha, and when I woke up it was full of firemen!
"Royal Orleans" is the only song on the album credited to all four members (or any members besides Robert Plant and Jimmy Page). Vocalist Robert Plant wrote most of the lyrics, using the song as a way to poke fun at Jones, allegedly because of a comment Jones once made that vocals were the least important part of the band. The song was the B-side of "Candy Store Rock". Drummer John Bonham played bongo drums on this track. The song was never performed live by the band.
Formats and tracklistings
1976 7" single (France: Swan Song SS 19407, New Zealand: Swan Song SS 70110)
- A. "Royal Orleans" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 2:58
- B. "Candy Store Rock" (Page, Plant) 4:07
- Robert Plant - vocals
- Jimmy Page - guitars
- John Paul Jones - bass guitar
- John Bonham - drums & bongos
- Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 978-0-7119-3528-0
- Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 978-1-56025-818-6
- Shadwick, Keith (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music 1968–1980 (1st ed.). San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 248. ISBN 0-87930-871-0.
- Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 978-0-7119-3528-0.
- Snow, Mat, “The Secret Life of a Superstar”, Mojo magazine, December 2007.