LA Drone

'LA Drone' is a 1972 instrumental song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, and recorded at Jimmy Page's home studio in Plumpton Place, East Sussex, England, in January 1972. It was used as the basis of an introductory backing tape for their 1972 live concerts. The name of the song comes from the a famous recording of this tape at The Forum, Los Angeles, California, in June 1972, which later appeared on the 2003 live album How the West Was Won, and DVD.

Overview

'LA Drone' is an instrumental prelude of music that the English rock band Led Zeppelin used to introduce their concerts. The idea originally stemmed from the Middle Eastern and Indian music both singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page were interested in, with the drone instruments used in those forms of music. The droning effect idea was also intended to build a sense of suspense and anticipation in the concert audience. The continuous sound was produced by Page by playing an acoustic guitar with a violin bow in the key of F# and layering the various sounds it produced. The audio tape of this piece, played through the venue's public address system, segued directly into Led Zeppelin's opening number, 'Immigrant Song'.

The only official release of the piece has been a brief excerpt used as the opening track on How the West Was Won. This captures the recording of 'LA Drone' at the Long Beach Arena on 27 June 1972. Despite being only 15 seconds on the live album, it was usually closer to a 1 minute 30 seconds in live performances, as can be heard on a number of Led Zeppelin bootleg recordings. 'LA Drone' can also be heard on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD, being included on disc two at the introduction of the band's performance of 'Immigrant Song', in February 1972. However, unlike How the West Was Won, the DVD does not include 'LA Drone' on the track listing. Also, the DVD features a 25 second version of the song which is 11 seconds longer than the album version.

Live performances

'LA Drone' was played at concert performances from February 1972 up until 28 June 1972.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, electronic effects, producer, remastering, digital remastering

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Eddie Kramer – engineer (2003)
  • Kevin Shirley - engineer, mixing (2003)
  • George Marino - mastering (2003)

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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