'Royal Orleans' is a 1976 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, and recorded and mixed at Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany in November 1975. It appeared as the third track on Led Zeppelin's seventh album Presence, released on 31 March 1976. 'Royal Orleans' is a funky hard rock song, with the title referring to the hotel the band stayed in while touring, in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was released as a B-side to the 'Candy Store Rock' promotional single, as well as being an A-side in its own right in France and New Zealand. It was also the only song on Presence to be written by all four members of Led Zeppelin.
'Royal Orleans' was composed in Malibu, California during the enforced lay-off of the band due to singer Robert Plants motor vehicle accident in August 1975. The name of the song is titled after a long established hotel in the French quarter at 621 St Louis Street, New Orleans, which is now known as The Omni Royal Orleans. Plant's lyrics reflect the 'road fever' the band experienced on long tours. The subject matter is about an alleged experience bassist John Paul Jones had while at the hotel, with mistaken identity and a room fire. It is reported Plant wrote the lyrics in jest after an earlier magazine interview in which Jones suggested that vocals were the least important part of the band. Although Jones in not named in the song, a session rival from Jones' studio days, John Cameron, is a clue on to the identity of the person involved. Drummer John Bonham also overdubbed bongos to the song. His beat includes a dramatic time-shift, from 4/4 to a 5/4 shuffle, where the bars are virtually of equal length.
'Royal Orleans' was never performed live by Led Zeppelin.
Formats and track listings
1976 7" single (France: Swan Song SS 19407, New Zealand: Swan Song SS 70110)
- A. 'Royal Orleans' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 2.58
- B. 'Candy Store Rock' (Page, Plant) 4.07
- Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
- Robert Plant – vocals
- John Paul Jones – bass guitar
- John Bonham - drums, bongos, percussion
- Peter Grant – executive producer
- Keith Harwood - engineer, mixing
- Jeremy Gee – tape engineer
- 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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