Good Times Bad Times

'Good Times Bad Times' is a 1969 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, and recorded and mixed at Olympic Studios, Barnes, England in October 1968. It appeared as the opening track on Led Zeppelin's eponymous debut album Led Zeppelin, released on 12 January 1969. 'Good Times Bad Times' was also issued as a promotional single in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Greece, Mexico, Japan, and the Philippines. It performed best in the Netherlands reaching number 17 on the Dutch singles chart.

Overview

Multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones came up with the basic riff for the song. It is notable for the use of sixteenth note triplets by drummer John Bonham, who learned the technique listening to Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge. When musicians first heard this track, they assumed Bonham used a double kick drum to achieve that effect, however producer Jimmy Page in interviews confirmed he used only a single kick drum during the recording. Page played a 1958 Fender Telecaster through a Leslie speaker system to achieve a 'soaring' sound effect in the guitar solo. While the speakers were not rotating, the effect was obtained by using an overdriven amplifier through them, plugged directly from Page's guitar via the mixing board. Singer Robert Plant's vocals are dynamic and controlled, and the song's chorus is the most commercial on the entire album. It's selection as the band's first ever single, backed with 'Communication Breakdown', was not surprising.

Live performances

The song was rarely performed live, never being permanently part of a tour set list. It was played on the 1968 Scandinavian tour, and later formed part of the 'Communication Breakdown' medley in the 1969 and 1970 tours. Page and Plant performed it in New Orleans in 1995, and it was the opening song of the 10 December 2007 reunion set list at the O2 Arena in London. It's selection likely due to the fact that it fittingly marked the first song on their first album.

Accolades

  • Blender - The 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now! (2003) *
  • DigitalDreamDoor - The 100 Greatest Rock Debut Singles (2005) 73
  • DigitalDreamDoor - The 100 Greatest Recordings From 1969 (2007) 56

(*) designates unordered lists.

Chart positions

  • Canadian RPM Top 100 chart (1969) 64
  • US Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart (1969) 80
  • US Cash Box Top 100 Singles chart (1969) 66
  • US Record World 100 Top Pops (1969) 65
  • Japanese Singles chart (1969) 84
  • Dutch Singles chart (1969) 17

Good Times Bad Times German single front cover

Formats and track listings

1969 7" single (UK: Atlantic 584269, US/New Zealand: Atlantic 45-2613, Australia: Atlantic AK 2914, Canada: Atlantic AT 2613X, France: Atlantic 650 153, Germany: Atlantic ATL 70369, Greece: Atlantic 255 002, Italy: Atlantic ATL NP 03117, Japan: Atlantic/Nihon Gramophone DT-1105, Philippines: Atlantic 45-3734, Sweden: Atlantic ATL 70.369)

  • A. 'Good Times Bad Times' (Bonham, Jones, Page) 2.46
  • B. 'Communication Breakdown' (Page, Plant) 2.27

1969 7" single (South Africa: Atlantic ATS410)

1969 7" EP (Mexico: Atlantic EPA 1577)

  • A1. 'Good Times Bad Times' (Bonham, Jones, Page) 2.46
  • A2. 'Communication Breakdown' (Page, Plant) 2.27
  • B. 'Dazed and Confused' (Page) 6.26

1972 7" EP (Argentina: Music Hall 186)

  • A1. 'Good Times Bad Times' (Bonham, Jones, Page) 2.46
  • A2. 'Communication Breakdown' (Page, Plant) 2.27
  • B1. 'Roundabout'* (Anderson, Howe) 3.27
  • B2. 'Long Distance Runaround'* (Anderson) 3.30

1976 7" single (Japan: Atlantic P-117A)

  • A. 'Good Times Bad Times' (Bonham, Jones, Page) 2.46
  • B. 'Communication Breakdown' (Page, Plant) 2.27

Notes:
(*) B-side by Yes

Credits

Musicians:

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

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Glyn 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: GW00387753
  • ASCAP: 370093944
  • GEMA: 371733-001
  • ISWC: T-070.066.161-5
  • US Copyright Office: EU0000096053

© 2009 SoundHistoria.    All rights reserved.