The Crunge

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The Crunge
Appears on Houses of the Holy
Published by Superhype Music
Registration ASCAP 330195589
Release date 17 September 1973
Recorded May 1972 at
Stargroves with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.
Mixed at Electric Lady, New York.
Genre Funk rock
Language English
Length 3 minutes 10 seconds
Composer John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Label Atlantic Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Eddie Kramer

'The Crunge' is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1973 album Houses of the Holy. It was also released as the B-side of 'D'yer Mak'er'.

Overview

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'd been experimenting with since 1970), and Robert Plant started singing.[1][2] For the recording of this track, Page played on a Stratocaster guitar and it is possible to hear him depressing a whammy bar at the end of each phrase.[3]

This song is a tribute to 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.[4] Since most of James 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. Plant pays tribute to this at the end by asking 'where's that confounded bridge?' (spoken, just as the song finishes abruptly).

An EMS VCS3, was used to make the strange hornlike parts. These parts were overdubbed separately to create a polyphonic 'brass section.' The song was created mostly live in the studio as an improvisation, to not only reinforce the funk dance feel, but also add structure to the long, repetitive jam. Jones considers this to be one of his favourite Led Zeppelin songs.[5]

A voice is audible at the beginning asking Bonham if he's 'ready to go.' The voices that can be heard talking on the recording just as Bonham's drums begin on the intro are those of Jimmy Page and audio engineer George Chkiantz.[6]

Time signatures

Some of the humour of the song derives from the juxtaposition of James Brown funk against utterly undanceable shifting time signatures. One way to count out the song is as follows:

Intro measure:
1 x 9/8

Part 1:
7 x 9/8 (or 4/8 + 5/8)
1 x 8/8 (or 4/8 + 4/8)
Part 2:
3 x 4/4
1 x 5/8
1 x 2/4
3 x 2/4
1 x 5/8
1 x 4/8
3 x 4/4
1 x 2/4
1 x 2/8

then return to 'Part 1', play through pattern two more times, end with roughly
23 x 9/8 (last one ends in the middle of the measure, with drums ending on the fifth beat and the synthesizer continuing for a beat or two).

Live performances

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.

References in other media

In the film Almost Famous a reference is made to the song. On the shirt of the Led Zeppelin fanatic, Vic, is written the four 'runes' from Led Zeppelin IV and 'Have You Seen the Bridge?' This song was the title of a season five episode of That 70s Show. All season five episodes were named after Led Zeppelin tunes.

Credits

Personnel
  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, harpsichord, Mellotron, EMS VCS3
    • John Bonham - drums, percussion
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Eddie Kramer – engineer, mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)

References

  1. Tolinski, Brad; Greg DiBenedetto (May 1993). "Inside the studio with Jimmy Page". Guitar World 14 (5). ISSN 1063-4231.
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 62. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Tolinski, Brad; Greg DiBenedetto (May 1993). "Inside the studio with Jimmy Page". Guitar World 14 (5). ISSN 1063-4231.
  4. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 62. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  5. Long, Andy (March 2002). "Get the Led Out". Global Bass Online. Retrieved on 27 April 2014.
  6. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 62. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1.