Sick Again

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"Sick Again"
Song by Led Zeppelin
from the album Physical Graffiti
Released 24 February 1975 (1975-02-24)
Recorded
Genre
Length 4:40
Label Swan Song
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Jimmy Page

"Sick Again" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. It was written by Robert Plant about teenage groupies, or as he called them, the "L.A. Queens", with whom the band were acquainted on their 1973 US Tour.[3]

Lyrical meaning[edit]

Plant took pity upon these girls who would flock to the hotel rooms of the band to offer them "favors". In an interview he gave in 1975, he provided an explanation of the lyrics:

If you listen to "Sick Again," a track from Physical Graffiti, the words show I feel a bit sorry for [the girls]. "Clutchin pages from your teenage dream in the lobby of the Hotel Paradise/Through the circus of the L.A. Queen how fast you learn the downhill slide." One minute she's 12 and the next minute she's 13 and over the top. Such a shame. They haven't got the style that they had in the old days... way back in '68.[4]

Musical structure[edit]

The song's musical structure alternates between a bluesy E minor motif in the verse section as the vocals are called, followed by a thunderous E minor pentatonic chord sequence in response. A riff in A major is introduced in the chorus, resolved by a bluesy B7 "goodbye chord" arpeggio as an interlude to the verse and bridge. Of particular note is the relentless pounding of John Bonham's bass drum and triplet fills during the open chords of the song's interludes, almost as if to punctuate that this is the heavy section.

The very last sound of the very last song on Physical Graffiti is that of Jimmy Page's backward echo-processed slide guitar, followed by a pick scrape to close out the song, although shortly afterwards a cough from Bonham can be heard very faintly.[3]

Live performances[edit]

"Sick Again" was frequently performed live at Led Zeppelin concerts, being the second number performed on all the 1975 and 1977 tour dates.[3] When Led Zeppelin performed this live on their 1977 U.S. tour, they started it with the intro from "The Rover" (just before the verse starts), and Page here used his Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck Guitar as the song was played directly after "The Song Remains the Same". It was also played in 1979 (a filmed version from Knebworth is featured on the Led Zeppelin DVD), but was dropped for the band's final tour Over Europe in 1980.[3]

Page performed this song on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999. A version of "Sick Again" performed by them can be found on the album Live at the Greek.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2007). The Rough Guide to Led Zeppelin. Rough Guides UK. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-8435-3841-7. 
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Seventies Music. Virgin Books. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-7535-0154-2. Physical Graffiti, a double set, gave full rein to the quartet's diverse interests, with material ranging from compulsive hard rock ('Custard Pie' and 'Sick Again') to pseudo-mystical experimentation ('Kashmir'). 
  3. ^ a b c d Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9. 
  4. ^ Cameron Crowe interview Led Zeppelin on Wayback Machine (archived 29 April 2007). 18 March 1975.

External links[edit]