Friends (song)

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Friends
Appears on Led Zeppelin III
Published by Superhype Music
Registration ASCAP 360103317
Release date 5 October 1970
Recorded May 1970 at
Headley Grange, Hampshire.
Mixed at Ardent Studios, Memphis.
Genre Folk rock
Language English
Length 3 minutes 55 seconds
Composer Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Label Atlantic Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Andy Johns

'Friends' is the second track from the 1970 album Led Zeppelin III, the third studio album of English rock band Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote the song in 1970 at Bron-Yr-Aur, a small cottage in Wales where they stayed after completing a gruelling concert tour of the United States.[1]

Overview

The song starts out with a little noodling and studio chatter. Peter Grant's voice can be heard in the background, of the right channel, before the guitars of Jimmy Page kick in. The guitar tuning for the song is an open-C6 chord (C-A-C-G-C-E). The same tuning was used by Page on the track 'Bron-Yr-Aur' (which was recorded during these same sessions), as well as the song 'Poor Tom'.[2] Page used an Altair Tube Limiter to enhance the acoustic quality of his Harmony guitar, a device recommended to him by an acoustic guitarist named Dick Rosemenie.[3] This same device was later used by Page on 'All My Love', which was included on Led Zeppelin's In Through the Out Door album.[4]

'Friends' is one of a few Led Zeppelin songs that includes strings. Bass player John Paul Jones organized the string arrangement, which exhibits some distinctive Eastern influences.[5] A Steinway grand piano can also be heard in the background mix. The outro to 'Friends' includes a link to the next track on the album, 'Celebration Day'. A Moog synthesizer, with an EMS VCS3 drones, with subtle filter sweeps. The EMS reverb, an old spring-type reverb (also found in guitar amplifiers), is clearly audible between the two songs.

Live performances

The only known live performance of the song by Led Zeppelin was on 29 September 1971 in Osaka, during the band's Japanese concert tour, as exhibited on a number of Led Zeppelin bootleg recordings of the show. If listened to closely, Page can be heard asking Plant if he wanted to perform the song when John Bonham had returned from unknown activities backstage.

The song was re-recorded by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant with the Bombay Symphony Orchestra in 1972, during their trip to India, along with another track, 'Four Sticks' from Led Zeppelin IV.[6] This version featured tabla drums and sitars. The recordings have never been released officially and are only available on bootlegs. 'Friends' was also recorded by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on their 1994 release No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, accompanied by a Middle-Eastern orchestra.

Credits

Personnel
  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, Moog synthesizer, EMS VCS3, Steinway grand piano
    • John Bonham - percussion
  • Additional musicians:
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Andy Johns - engineer, mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)

References

  1. Phil Sutcliffe, 'Back to Nature', Q Magazine Special Led Zeppelin edition, 2003, p. 34.
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 42. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 41. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  4. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 42. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  5. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 41. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  6. Liner notes to Boxed Set 2 by David Fricke