Out on the Tiles

'Out on the Tiles' is a 1970 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Bonham, 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 fifth track on Led Zeppelin's third album Led Zeppelin III, released on 5 October 1970. 'Out on the Tiles' is a song about the English phrase 'on the tiles' ie. to going out on the town and having a good time. During the writing and recording process, the track was known under the working title 'The Bathroom Song', due to a risqué ditty Bonham used to sing on tour and a pun on the title, bathroom tiles.

Overview

'Out on the Tiles' developed from an inspired riff by drummer John Bonham. Reportedly he came into Olympic studio and hummed out the melody to the rest of the group. Page then developed the descending guitar intro and band took it from there. The ambient spacey sound achieved on the recording is due to the distance miking technique developed by producer Jimmy Page. During the recording, between the ten and eleven second mark, a voice can be heard in the left channel to say what sounds like 'stop' and then at the 1 minute 23 second mark, another clearly says 'stop'. Page did this to remind himself to get the timing straight on the riff because of the rapid syncopated drumming by Bonham. When released as a promotional single in Japan, 'Out on the Tiles' was mistakenly placed on the B-side of the 'Immigrant Song' single, rather than 'Hey Hey What Can I Do', making those copies rare collector's items.

Megadeth and Blind Melon also covered this song.

Live performances

'Out on the Tiles' was only ever played on their US tour of September 1970. One performance was captured on the bootleg Live On Blueberry Hill. The opening few bars were later reused as the intro to 'Black Dog' on live performances. On the 1977 North American tour, 'Out on the Tiles' led the intro into Bonham's drum solo, 'Over the Top' which replaced 'Moby Dick'. On the Page and Plant tours, the opening riff was again sued to introduce 'Black Dog' in 1995, 1996, and 1998. Page performed the song in its entirety on the 1999 and 2000 tours with the Black Crowes.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – 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).

Registrations

  • APRA: GW06752192
  • ASCAP: 450094470
  • GEMA: 1343590-001
  • ISWC: T-070.160.758-0
  • US Copyright Office: EU0000212955

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