No Quarter (song)

'No Quarter' is a 1973 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones, and recorded at Island Studios, London, England in May 1972, and mixed at Olympic Studios, London in May 1972, and Electric Lady Studios, New York in June 1972. It appeared as the seventh track on Led Zeppelin's fifth album Houses of the Holy, released on 28 March 1973. 'No Quarter' is an epic Gothic rock song which showcased the keyboard work of John Paul Jones, and a compact guitar riff by Jimmy Page. It became Jones' 'signature tune' when performed live at Led Zeppelin concerts, with keyboardist often adding improvised and extended classical pieces to the song.

Overview

'No Quarter' was originally attempted at the Headley Grange sessions, during the recording of Led Zeppelin IV in February 1971. During the Island Studios sessions in May 1972, it was decided to attempt the song again. Jones utilized a Hohner Electra-Piano, and an EMS VCS3 was used to create that liquid 'wobble' audio effect. During the mixing process, producer Page applied vari-speed and slowed down the tempo by a semitone to create a much more eerie and ominous feeling to proceedings. 'No Quarter' was used as thematic music by Jones in his fantasy sequence in the 1976 film The Song Remains the Same.

'No Quarter' has been covered by a number of artists including Dread Zeppelin, Great White, Tool, the Flaming Lips, and Gov't Mule.

Live performances

'No Quarter' was performed on every tour following its debut on the 1973 North American tour through to Knebworth 1979. It was dropped during the scaled down 1980 Over Europe tour. Plant revisited the song on his 1990 Manic Nirvana tour, and it was revived by Page and Plant for their 1994 MTV Unledded special and their 1995, 1996, and 1998 tours. It also became the name of their debut album. Jones played the song as an instrumental on his 1999 solo tour. The song was performed by a reunited Led Zeppelin at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert at the O2 Arena in December 2007.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – Hohner Electra-Piano, EMS VCS3, bass guitar
  • John Bonham - drums, percussion

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).

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