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Appears on In Through the Out Door
Published by Flames of Albion Music
Registration ASCAP 330272790
Release date 15 August 1979
Recorded November - December 1978 at
Polar Studios, Stockholm.
Mixed at Plumpton Studios, Sussex.
Genre Progressive rock
Language English
Length 10 minutes 28 seconds
Composer John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Label Swan Song Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Leif Mases

'Carouselambra' is a song on English rock band Led Zeppelin's 1979 album, In Through the Out Door. The name Carouselambra is a reference to the first section of the song sounding similar to carousel music. It is the second longest song the band recorded in the studio (to 'In My Time of Dying'), clocking in at over 10 minutes and 28 seconds in length.


'Carouselambra' was conceived during the band's rehearsals at Clearwell Castle in May 1978.[1] The song itself is split in three sections. The first section is a fast-paced showcase of Jones on a Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer playing a strong polyphonic synth sound that creates the main element in the song (he overdubbed a bass guitar part), with Robert Plant's vocals mixed down slightly underneath Jones, the drums of John Bonham and Page's guitar chord progression. The second section is a much slower in pace, highlighting Page's use of the Gibson EDS-1275 double-necked guitar, the only time he used that instrument on a Led Zeppelin studio song,[2] while Plant sings some reflective lyrics. The final section returns to an up-tempo beat, with all four band members performing in unison. Some of Page's guitar was processed through a Gizmotron, a device that adds bowing sustain.

The song is in standard 4/4 timing in the key of C major. The lyrics to the first section of the song follow a rough 'ABAB' rhythmical format. In the second and third sections of the song the format changes along with the instruments, but keeps the same tempo in 4/4 and stays in C major. Plant's lyrics, particularly in the first section of the song, are somewhat buried in the mix and are difficult to discern. According to an interview Plant gave in 1979, the song was about someone who, when one day realising the song was written about them, would say, 'My God! Was it really like that?'[3]

Live performances

'Carouselambra' was never played live by the band at Led Zeppelin concerts. The band planned to perform the song on their 1980 North American tour, and rehearsed it on the day that drummer John Bonham died. During the 1995-96 Jimmy Page and Robert Plant tour, however, Plant would often sing the middle verse of the song when he and Page performed 'In the Evening'.[4]


  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, electronic effects, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – Yamaha GX-1, bass guitar
    • John Bonham - drums, percussion
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Leif Mases - engineer, mixing
    • Lennart Ostlund - assistant engineer
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)


  1. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 93. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 93. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 93. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  4. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 93. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1.