'Night Flight' is a 1975 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones, and recorded at Headley Grange, Hampshire, England in January 1971, and mixed at Olympic Studios, London in October 1974. It appeared as the eleventh track on Led Zeppelin's sixth album Physical Graffiti, released on 24 February 1975. 'Night Flight' is a hard rock song, originally intended for Led Zeppelin IV, but held over until Physical Graffiti. The lyrics by singer Robert Plant are about a young man fleeing at night from the military draft, and an impending nuclear war.
'Night Flight' was recorded in the final sessions at Headley Grange in January 1971, along with 'Down by the Seaside' and 'Boogie with Stu'. An alternate version is known to exist which includes additional backing vocals from Plant. The song was principally composed by keyboardist John Paul Jones using a Hammond C-3 organ with Leslie speaker. Guitarist Jimmy Page also used the Leslie speaker to create a swirling/phasing effect on his guitar sound, the chords played in the open key of A. Plant wrote the lyrics after Led Zeppelin toured North America in autumn 1970, and heard about the draft dodgers and saw the violence against student protesters.
'Night Flight' was later covered by Jeff Buckley on his Live at Sin-e compact disc.
'Night Flight' was never performed live, but it was rehearsed for the 1973 North American tour. A soundcheck recording exists for Chicago Stadium on 6 July 1973. Page and Plant revived the song for their 1998 tours, and Plant later performed the song for his 2001 Strange Sensations tour.
- Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
- Robert Plant – vocals
- John Paul Jones – hammond organ, bass guitar
- John Bonham - drums, percussion
- Peter Grant – executive producer
- Keith Harwood - mixing
- Andy Johns - 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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