Jimmy Page Shares ‘Embryonic’ Led Zeppelin Demo ‘The Seasons’ That Became ‘The Rain Song’
Jimmy Page is sharing with Led Zeppelin fans a previously unreleased demo titled "The Seasons" to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the band's Houses of the Holy album.
The song should sound quite familiar to Zeppelin fans as "The Seasons" is an instrumental guitar piece that would go on to become one of the band's bigger songs, "The Rain Song."
The guitar great provided some insight behind the history of the demo and its evolution via Instagram, as can be seen below.
"On this day (March 28), 50 years ago to the day, Houses of the Holy was released," says Page before launching into his reflections on the that period of creativity. "My original idea for the opening tracks for Houses of the Holy was that a short overture would be a rousing instrumental introduction with layered electric guitars that would segue into ’The Seasons,' later to be titled ‘The Rain Song.' Again there would be a contrasting acoustic guitar instrumental movement with mellotron that could lead to the first vocal of the album and the first verse of the song."
He recalls, "‘The Seasons’ was a memo to myself as a reminder of the sequence of the song and various ideas I’d had for it in its embryonic stage. I’d worked on it over one evening at home. During the routining of the overture now titled ‘The Plumpton and Worcester Races,' the half time section was born and the overture shaped into the song, ‘The Song Remains The Same.' These rehearsals were done in Puddle Town on the River Piddle in Dorset, UK."
"The first set of recordings were done at Olympic Studios with George Chkiantz," adds Page. "We then came to record at Stargroves, Sir Mick Jagger’s country home, and, like Headley Grange, with the Rolling Stones recording truck. ‘The Song Remains The Same’ was played on a Fender 12 string, the same one used on Becks Bolero, with my trusty Les Paul number 1 on overdubs in a standard tuning. The ‘Rain Song’ was an unorthodox tuning on acoustic and electric guitars. On live shows, it became a work-out feature for the double neck."
You can check out "The Seasons" demo that Page laid down that eventually became "The Rain Song" below.
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Houses of the Holy was Led Zeppelin's fifth studio, arriving on March 28, 1973. The album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart and has since been diamond certified in the U.S. with over 11 million units moved.
The album included such standout tracks as "Over the Hills and Far Away," "Dancing Days," "D'yer Mak'er," "The Song Remains the Same," "No Quarter" and the aforementioned "The Rain Song." "The Rain Song" would serve as the second song in the track listing.
In the book, "Light and Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page," the guitarist revealed that the song was a direct response to a comment that George Harrison had made to John Bonham, complaining that they didn't make any ballads. "I said, 'I'll give him a ballad,' and I wrote 'Rain Song,' which appears on Houses of the Holy," said Page, adding, "In fact, you'll notice I even quote 'Something' in the song's first two chords."