Sick Again

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Sick Again
Appears on Physical Graffiti
Published by Flames of Albion Music
Registration ASCAP 530195183
Release date 24 February 1975
Recorded January-February 1974 at
Headley Grange, Hampshire with Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio.
Mixed at Olympic Studios, London.
Genre Hard rock
Language English
Length 4 minutes 43 seconds
Composer Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Label Swan Song Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Ron Nevison

'Sick Again' is a song by English rock group Led Zeppelin, from the band's 1975 album Physical Graffiti.

Overview

This song 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.[1] He 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.[2]

Plant's vocals are however somewhat hard to hear because they are not prominent in the mix.

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 drummer 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 drummer John Bonham can be heard very faintly.[3]

Live performances

'Sick Again' was frequently performed live at Led Zeppelin concerts, being the second number performed on all the 1975 and 1977 tour dates.[4] When Led Zeppelin performed this live on their 1977 U.S. tour, they started it with the first verse instrumental of 'The Rover', 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.[5]

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

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
    • Keith Harwood - mixing
    • Ron Nevison - engineer, mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)

References

  1. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 73. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  2. Cameron, Cameron (18 March 1975). Cameron Crowe interview Led Zeppelin. Retrieved on 14 May 2014.
  3. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 73. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  4. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 73. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  5. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 73. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1.