That's the Way

'That's the Way' is a 1970 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was written by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, 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 eighth track on Led Zeppelin's third album Led Zeppelin III, released on 5 October 1970. 'That's the Way' was a folk song composed at the cottage retreat of Bron-Yr-Aur in Wales, essentially in one day during a walk in the countryside where the chords and lyrics all came together. The working title for the song during the recording process was 'The Boy Next Door', taken from a line in the lyrics, and is one of the few songs to make a consistent live appearance in the acoustic set lists during and after Led Zeppelin.


'That's the Way' is one of Led Zeppelin's most gentle acoustic songs, which makes use of guitarist Jimmy Page's pedal steel guitar, bassist John Paul Jones on mandolin, and drummer John Bonham on tambourine. Page's electric solo almost imitates a horn-line. The roots of the song date back to Led Zeppelin's spring tour of North America in 1970, where there was much violence by authorities against fans in the wake of the shootings at Ohio's Kent State University. Singer Robert Plant adopted a straight-forward conversational style lyric-wise, bringing together a story of star-crossed lovers amidst the darkness that surrounds them.

'That's the Way' was included in the 2000 film Almost Famous, and was the only Led Zeppelin song on the official soundtrack for the film.

Live performances

'That's the Way' was debuted at the 1970 Bath Festival, and became a part of the band's acoustic set up to the 1972 North American tour. Live versions can be heard on the 1997 BBC Sessions album and the 2003 How the West Was Won album. It was again briefly revived for the 1975 Earls Court shows. Page and Plant performed the song as part of their MTV Unledded special, and performed it on tour during 1995 and 1996. John Paul Jones both played and sung the song on his 2001 solo tour concerts.

Led Zeppelin Acoustically EP front cover

Formats and track listings

1971 7" EP (Australia: Atlantic EPA 228)



  • Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – mandolin, bass guitar
  • John Bonham - tambourine, percussion


  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • 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).


  • APRA: GW06752184
  • ASCAP: 500205174
  • GEMA: 1343601-001
  • ISWC: T-070.183.409-4
  • US Copyright Office: EU0000212960

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