German single picture sleeve
|Single by Led Zeppelin|
|from the album Houses of the Holy|
|Released||17 September 1973(US)|
|Format||7-inch 45 rpm|
|Recorded||Headley Grange, Headley, England, 1972|
|Led Zeppelin singles chronology|
Composition and recording
The song evolved out of a jam session in the studio. John Bonham started the beat, John Paul Jones came in on bass, Jimmy Page played a funk guitar riff (and a chord sequence that he had been experimenting with since 1970), and Robert Plant started singing. For the recording of this track, Page played on a Fender Stratocaster guitar and it is possible to hear him depressing a whammy bar at the end of each phrase.
This song is a play on James Brown's style of funk in the same way that "D'yer Mak'er" (which it backed on a single release) experiments with reggae. Since most of Brown's earlier studio recordings were done live with almost no rehearsal time, he often gave directions to the band in-song e.g. "take it to the bridge" - the bridge of the song. Robert Plant pays tribute to this at the end by asking "Where's that confounded bridge?" (spoken, just as the song finishes abruptly since the song doesn't contain a bridge). Jones considers this to be one of his favourite Led Zeppelin songs.
Prior to 1975, "The Crunge" was only heard live at Led Zeppelin concerts during the band's "Whole Lotta Love" medley and their 1972 tour version of "Dazed and Confused". One example of this arrangement is presented on the live album How the West Was Won, where it also appears with "Walter's Walk" on a 25-minute medley. However, on the 1975 tour of the United States the song was performed almost entirely several times, in the funk jam that would link "Whole Lotta Love" and "Black Dog" at the end of the concert.
In a contemporary review for Houses of the Holy, Gordon Fletcher of Rolling Stone gave "The Crunge" a negative review, calling it a "naked imitation", along with "D'yer Mak'er", as well as "easily" one of the worst things the band has ever attempted. Fletcher further wrote "The Crunge" "reproduces James Brown so faithfully that it's every bit as boring, repetitive and cliched as "Good Foot". Yakety-yak guitar, boom-boom bass, astoundingly idiotic lyrics ("when she walks, she walks, and when she talks, she talks") — it's all there. So is Jones' synthesizer, spinning absolutely superfluous electronic fills."
Formats and track listings
1973 7" single (Uruguay: Atlantic 74007)
- A. "D'yer Mak'er" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 4:23
- B. "The Crunge" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 3:17
- Robert Plant – lead vocals
- Jimmy Page – guitar
- John Paul Jones – bass guitar, VCS3 synthesizer
- John Bonham – drums
- Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
- Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 1-56025-818-7
- Interview with Jimmy Page; Guitar World magazine, 1993
- Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
- Long, Andy (March 2002). "Get The Led Out". Global Bass Online. Retrieved 2008-03-17.
- Fletcher, Gordon (7 June 1973). "Houses of the Holy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 August 2017.