Carouselambra

'Carouselambra' is a 1979 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones, recorded at Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden in November 1978, and mixed at Plumpton Studio, East Sussex, in December 1978. It appeared as the fifth track on Led Zeppelin's 1979 album In Through the Out Door, released on 15 August 1979. 'Carouselambra' is a progressive rock tour de force with keyboardist John Paul Jones driving the song with his synthesizer, and cryptic lyrics by singer Robert Plant on the current state of the band. It is the second longest song recorded in the studio by Led Zeppelin, clocking in at 10 minutes 32 seconds.

Overview

'Carouselambra' was composed during the Clearwell Castle rehearsal sessions, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire in May 1978. Jones played a leading role in composing the melody and arranging the songs three shifting movements in the key of C, and time signature. The song was further fine tuned at the Ezyhire Studios, London in October 1978, before recording at Polar Studios, Stockholm, Sweden. Jones used a recently acquired Yamaha GX-1 synthesizer for the song, mimicking a horn line throughout. Guitarist Jimmy Page used his Gibson EDS-1275 double neck guitar. 'Carouselambra' comprises three distinct sections - an opening fanfare of polyphonic synthesizer with Jones, a mid-tempo middle section where Page plays some atmospheric chords and uses a Gizmotron for added effects, and a final section where Jones' synthesizer bass and keyboards again kicks in for a triumphal procession. Singer Plant's lyrics concern his feelings of the current state of affairs concerning the band, told in a deliberate 'The Battle of Evermore'-type fashion and buried in the mix. The name of the song is derived from the music of a carousel, which is reflected in the song.

Live performances

'Carouselambra' was never performed live by Led Zeppelin. It was being rehearsed by the band as part of their 1980s Part One North American tour which was eventually cancelled due to the death of drummer John Bonham. Sections of the song were incorporated by Page and Plant on their 1995 and 1996 tours.

Credits

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)

Bibliography

  • Lewis, Dave (2012) Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1 (OCLC 782996334).
  • Welch, Chris (2009) Led Zeppelin: The Stories Behind Every Led Zeppelin Song. London: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84732-286-9 (OCLC 317254118).

Registrations

  • APRA: GW05280493
  • ASCAP: 330272790
  • GEMA: 1096900-001
  • ISWC: T-070.029.326-0
  • US Copyright Office: PAu000120323

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