In My Time of Dying

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In My Time of Dying
Appears on Physical Graffiti
Published by Flames of Albion Music
Registration ASCAP 390282185
Release date 24 February 1975
Recorded 1974
Genre Blues rock, Hard rock, rock
Language English
Length 11 minutes 8 seconds
Composer Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham
Label Swan Song Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Keith Harwood

'In My Time of Dying' is a song recorded by English rock band Led Zeppelin, and released in 1975 on their double album Physical Graffiti. The lyrics were inspired in-part by a traditional blues song entitled 'Jesus Goin' A-Make Up My Dyin' Bed'. Led Zeppelin had previously included a photograph of Blind Willie Johnson on the 1969 album Led Zeppelin II, who recorded a 1920s arrangement of 'Jesus Goin' A-Make Up My Dyin' Bed' and served as an inspiration. 'In My Time of Dying' is the longest studio track on any Led Zeppelin album and closes side one of the original double-LP edition of Physical Graffiti, clocking in at 11 minutes 5 seconds (11 minutes 8 seconds on the LP edition). Surprisingly, there are no long instrumental passages despite the extended song timing. The Led Zeppelin song is registered with copyright association ASCAP, with the unique title code 390282185.[1]

Overview

Jimmy Page's guitar tuning for this song is an open A chord, and was one of the few instances where he played slide guitar. John Paul Jones played a fretless bass. Meanwhile, the distinctive, powerful drumming sounds of John Bonham were recorded in the same way as those on the track 'When the Levee Breaks' from Led Zeppelin's fourth album.[2]

Because of its improvisational nature the band never had a rehearsed ending for the song. The studio version ends with: 'I'm going to make it my dyin', dyin', dyin'...' After a few seconds of silence we hear a dramatically-feigned coughing fit (likely by John Bonham). Playing along, Plant quips 'cough' as an apt final word for the song. Bonham can then be heard exclaiming, 'That's gonna be the one, isn't it?!', referring to that particular take. Next we hear what is likely the voice of recording engineer Andy Johns saying through the talk-back microphone 'Come have a listen, then.' Bonham then releases the clutch of his hi-hat and says (rather sheepishly) 'Oh, yes. Thank you.'

In the May 2008 issue of Uncut Magazine, Page elaborated on the humorous reaction in the studio which can be heard at the end of the song:

We were just having such a wonderful time. Look, we had a framework for 'In My Time Of Dying', Ok, but then it just takes off and we're just doing what Led Zeppelin do. We're jamming. We're having a ball. We. Are. Playing.[3]

Live history

'In My Time of Dying' was played during Led Zeppelin's 1975 and some of their 1977 concert tours, where Robert Plant dedicated the song to the British Labour Party's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denis Healey. When played live, the band tuned the song down one step. Although performed in 1977, Plant initially was not keen on singing the song after suffering a near-fatal car crash in 1975, due to its fatalistic lyrical theme.[4] This was one of the few live songs where Page switched to his black and white Danelectro guitar, which he also used for 'White Summer' and 'Kashmir'. One live version of 'In My Time of Dying', from Led Zeppelin's performance at Earls Court on 24 May 1975, is featured on disc two of the Led Zeppelin DVD, and it's promotional sampler.

Page performed this song on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999. A version of 'In My Time of Dying' performed by Page and The Black Crowes can be found on the album Live at the Greek. Page also included the song as part of his solo Outrider tour. 'In My Time of Dying' was performed at Led Zeppelin's reunion show at the O2 Arena, London on 10 December 2007.

The 2006 Season Two opener for the CW Television Network show Supernatural was titled 'In My Time of Dying', as classic rock is the only music featured on the show. The song 'Come Down Easy' by British shoegaze group Spacemen 3 also bears a distinct resemblance.

Credits

Personnel
  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – bass guitar
    • John Bonham - drums, percussion
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Ron Nevison - engineer
    • Keith Harwood – mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)

References

  1. ASCAP ACE: Title search. ASCAP (1975). Retrieved on 3 May 2005.
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 69. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Cavanagh, David (May 2008). "Jimmy Page: Mission Accomplished". Uncut (132): 50. ISSN 1368-0722.
  4. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 69. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1.