Hats Off to (Roy) Harper

'Hats Off to (Roy) Harper' is a traditional blues song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The 1970 song was arranged by Charles Obscure (Jimmy Page), 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 tenth and final track on Led Zeppelin's third album Led Zeppelin III, released on 5 October 1970. 'Hats Off to (Roy) Harper' is a tribute to English folk singer-songwriter Roy Harper, a friend of the band and occasional collaborator. The song is a potpourri of various blues themes and styles strung together in an extended live jam.

Overview

'Hats Off to (Roy) Harper' has it's origins in a jam session at Headley Grange, which the band had been using for rehearsals and recording using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Guitarist Jimmy Page performed a number of 12-bar blues riffs using a bottleneck guitar over which singer Robert Plant ad libbed assorted standard blues phrases, with snippets of Bukka White's 'Shake Em on Down' and Oscar Woods' 'Lone Wolf Blues'. Plant achieved his vocal effects by singing through a microphone plugged into a guitar amplifier. 'Hats Off to (Roy) Harper' is heavily edited down from a much longer session of continuous country blues and standard blues medleys. Both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had met Harper previously at the 1969 Bath Festival of Blues (Harper was a late addition to the line-up), and had appreciated his work.

Live performances

'Hats Off to (Roy) Harper' was never performed live.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – acoustic bass
  • John Bonham - tambourine

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: GW15060594
  • ASCAP: 80029152
  • GEMA: 1343569-001
  • ISWC: T-916.055.549-7
  • US Copyright Office: EU0000226333

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