'Dancing Days' is a 1973 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, and recorded at Stargroves, Berkshire, England in April 1972, and mixed at Electric Lady Studios, New York in June 1972. It appeared as the fifth track on Led Zeppelin's fifth album Houses of the Holy, released on 28 March 1973. 'Dancing Days' is a hard rock song, composed after guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant had visited Bombay, India in March of 1972. The hypnotic riff was inspired by an exotic Indian musical instrument they had heard in the markets of that India city, with Plant adding a mystical but playful lyrics celebrating love.
'Dancing Days' was recorded with Page using a dropped C tuning (C, G, C, F, A, D) on his Gibson Les Paul Standard. Keyboardist John Paul Jones used a Farfisa VIP-255, and played slightly behind drummer John Bonham's swinging beat. An early attempt at the basic melody was rehearsed at Headley Grange, during the recording of Led Zeppelin IV, however this was abandoned until after their visit to India, which gave the composition the creative spark it needed. The band were reportedly so pleased with the recording session, they danced on the lawns of Stargroves during playback.
'Dancing Days' was the first song used to promote Houses of the Holy, both on the radio and on stage. It featured as an A-side to the French promotional single, with 'Over the Hills and Far Away' on the flip side. The song has been covered by a number of artists including Stone Temple Pilots, Vanilla Fudge, and John Wetton and Geoff Downes.
'Dancing Days' debuted on 19 June 1972 in Seattle, and was played often on their 1972 North American tour. A version can be found on 2003 live release How the West Was Won. It was dropped thereafter and returned as a shortened acoustic version on their 1977 US tour, paired with 'Bron-Y-Aur Stomp'. It was played in full only once on 27 June 1977 at the Forum. Page and Plant revived the song for their 1995 and 1996 world tours.
Formats and track listings
1973 7" single (France: Atlantic 10328)
- A. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43
- B. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (Page, Plant) 4.47
1973 7" radio edit (South Africa: Atlantic Teal LM)
- A. 'Dancing Days' [stereo] (Page, Plant) 3.43
- B. 'Dancing Days' [mono] (Page, Plant) 3.43
1973 7" EP (US: Atlantic LLP 213 SD 7-7255)
- A1. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43
- A2. 'D'yer Mak'er' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 4.23
- B1. 'The Song Remains the Same' (Page, Plant) 5.30
- B2. 'The Crunge' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 3.17
- Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
- Robert Plant – vocals
- John Paul Jones – Farfisa VIP-255, bass guitar
- John Bonham - drums, percussion
- Peter Grant – executive producer
- Eddie Kramer – engineer, mixing
- Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
- George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)
- 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).
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