Celebration Day (song)

'Celebration Day' is a 1970 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones, and recorded at Olympic Studios, Barnes, London in May 1970; Headley Grange, Hampshire, England in June 1970, and mixed at Island Studios, London in July 1970, and Ardent Studios, Memphis, in August 1970. It appeared as the third track on Led Zeppelin's third album Led Zeppelin III, released on 5 October 1970. A hypnotic, and somewhat danceable song with a country twinge, 'Celebration Day' was written lyrically by singer Robert Plant to describe his feelings when arriving in America for the first time, in particular the city of New York. It's working title was in fact 'The New York Song'.

Overview

'Celebration Day' was originally meant to begin with a rolling drum introduction, however an engineering mistake erased the first few bars of the take, and it was decided to allow keyboardist John Paul Jones to insert a Moog synthesizer overlay on top of the existing track instead. To allow the smooth transitioning of the edit, the outro of the previous song 'Friends' continues straight into 'Celebration Day' with the synthesizer effect. The song itself contains at least four different guitar riffs - two in standard tuning and another two in open A tuning played on a slide guitar. When played live, Page used his Gibson double neck guitar in an attempt to try and replicate what had been recorded. 'Celebration Day' was vastly different to any other song Led Zeppelin had recorded to that point with its wall of jangling guitar riffs and a trance-like mood generated by the rhythm section of drummer John Bonham and bassist Jones.

Live performances

'Celebration Day' made its debut in the live set list for the 1971 spring European tour, as part of the 'Communication Breakdown' medley. It was performed on the 1971 summer American tour on its own, until the 1973 American tour. In 1973, the song was recorded for the film and soundtrack to The Song Remains the Same, however it was eventually culled from the final track list. With the remastering of the film onto DVD and double compact disc album in 2008, the song was re-included. It was again played at both Knebworth shows in 1979. Page and Plant revived the song for the 1995 to 1998 tours, and Page would play it for the 1999 and 2000 Black Crowes dates. Plant performed the song for his 2002 Strange Sensation tour.

Formats and track listings

1970 7" single (Poland: Daszkowska N 037)

  • A. 'Celebration Day' (Jones, Page, Plant) 3.29
  • B. 'Paranoid'* (Butler, Iommi, Osbourne, Ward) 2.52

1970 7" single (South Africa: Atlantic Teal MR 10)

  • A. 'Celebration Day' (Jones, Page, Plant) 3.29
  • B. 'Immigrant Song' (Page, Plant) 2.25

Notes:
(*) B-side by Black Sabbath

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, Moog synthesizer, EMS VCS3
  • John Bonham - percussion

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Andy Johns - engineer, mixing
  • 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: GW06300555
  • ASCAP: 330180700
  • GEMA: 1343539-001
  • ISWC: T-070.027.876-7
  • US Copyright Office: EU0000212956

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