That's the Way

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That's the Way
Appears on Led Zeppelin III
Published by Superhype Music
Registration ASCAP 500205174
Release date 5 October 1970
Recorded July 1970 at
Island Studios, London.
Mixed at Ardent Studios, Memphis.
Genre Folk rock
Language English
Length 5 minutes 38 seconds
Composer Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Label Atlantic Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Andy Johns

'That's the Way' is a song by England|English rock music|rock band Led Zeppelin from their third album, Led Zeppelin III, released in 1970.


Like several of the tracks on the album, it is an acoustic song and is particularly noted as being one of the most gentle and mellow compositions in the Led Zeppelin catalogue. The studio version features Jimmy Page playing Steel-string guitar|acoustic guitar in open G tuning, and pedal steel, while John Paul Jones (musician)|John Paul Jones plays mandolin. There is no presence of John Bonham's drums on the track, and light tambourine and bass guitar is added towards the end of the song.

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this in 1970 whilst on a retreat at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage, Wales.[1][2] Page explained:

'That's the Way' was written in Wales. It was one of those days after a long walk and we were setting back to the cottage. We had a guitar with us. It was a tiring walk coming down a ravine and we stopped and sat down. I played the tune and Robert sang the first verse straight off. We had a tape recorder with us and we got the tune down.[3]

When onstage for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's Unledded reunion in 1994, Plant announced to the audience that Page's daughter, Scarlet Page, was conceived 'about half an hour' after 'That's the Way' was written.[4] Page's partner, Charlotte Martin, was staying at Bron-Yr-Aur at the time with Page, along with Plant's wife Maureen and their own child Carmen.

The original working title of the song was 'The Boy Next Door'.[5] The song's lyrics reflected Plant's views on the ecology and environment. There are also several lines in the song which recall the dissolution between two lovers.[6] They were also troubled about the violence that they had witnessed upon the youth who protested against the war in Vietnam War|Vietnam, as well as upon the fans at their shows, particularly during their Led Zeppelin North American Tour Spring 1970|Spring 1970 Tour of the United States:

I can't believe what people saying, you're gonna let your hair hang down, I'm satisfied to sit here working all day long, you're in the darker side of town.[7]

This was one of the few songs in their catalogue that Led Zeppelin authorized for use on a film soundtrack. After seeing a rough cut of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous in 2000, Page and Plant agreed to let him use some Led Zeppelin songs on it, but this is the only one which made it onto soundtrack. Other Led Zeppelin songs which can be heard in the motion picture are 'Tangerine (song)|Tangerine' 'The Rain Song' 'Bron-Yr-Aur (song)|Bron-Yr-Aur' and 'Misty Mountain Hop'

Live performances

'That's the Way' was played live at Led Zeppelin concerts from 1970 through 1972, and was recalled for their series of Earl's Court 1975|concerts at Earls Court in 1975. Live versions of the song can also be found on How the West Was Won (album)|How the West Was Won, the BBC Sessions (Led Zeppelin album)‎|BBC Sessions and the Led Zeppelin (DVD)|Led Zeppelin DVD. The song was always performed half a step higher than the studio version, and the bass part at the end was always played by John Paul Jones on bass pedals. In 1994 Page and Plant also released a version on the No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded CD and DVD.


  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – mandolin, bass guitar
    • John Bonham - tambourine, percussion
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Andy Johns - engineer, mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)


  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, 44. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Welch, Chris (1996). “Stairway to Heaven”, Led Zeppelin. London: Carlton Books, 53. ISBN 978-1-85868-271-6. 
  4. Sutcliffe, Phil, 'Back to Nature', Q Magazine Special Led Zeppelin edition, 2003, p. 32.
  5. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 44. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  6. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 45. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  7. Gilmore, Mikal (10 August 2006). "The Long Shadow of Led Zeppelin". Rolling Stone (1006). Retrieved on 2007-12-09.