Down by the Seaside

'Down by the Seaside' is a 1975 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, and recorded at Island Studios, London, England in February 1971, and mixed at Olympic Studios, London in October 1974. It appeared as the ninth track on Led Zeppelin's sixth album Physical Graffiti, released on 24 February 1975. 'Down by the Seaside' is a laid back rocker with a country tinge, that gradually changes tempo into hard rock. The song displays Led Zeppelin's ability to experiment with time changes and key dynamics within a composition.

Overview

'Down by the Seaside' was originally conceived at the Welsh cottage of Bron-Yr-Aur as a slow tempo acoustic piece. This was the band's second visit to Snowdonia in October 1970. The basic song had been recorded on a tape recorder brought on the trip, and when played back the band decided it needed major changes. During recording at Island Studios for the Led Zeppelin IV sessions in February 1971, the acoustic guitars of Jimmy Page were replaced with electric ones. Page also used a Leslie speaker to create a 'watery' tremolo effect imitating the seaside with his guitar. Singer Robert Plant's lyrics are relaxed and reflective throughout. Keyboardist John Paul Jones added lively Hohner Electra-Piano electric piano playing to the track. This is used especially in the harder rocking sections where a change of tempo is reinforced. The track was held over from the Led Zeppelin IV album but was selected for inclusion in 1975's Physical Graffiti.

This song is a personal Plant favourite. In 1994, Plant recorded a duetted version of this song with American singer-songwriter Tori Amos, for the tribute album Encomium.

Live performances

'Down by the Seaside' was never performed live. Page and Plant did throw in snippets of the song during the 'Whole Lotta Love' medley for their 1995 and 1996 tours.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – electric piano, bass guitar
  • John Bonham - drums, percussion

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Keith Harwood - mixing
  • Andy Johns - 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).

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