The Ocean (song)

'The Ocean' is a 1973 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham, and recorded at Stargroves, Berkshire, England in April 1972, and mixed at Electric Lady Studios, New York in June 1972. It appeared as the eighth and final track on Led Zeppelin's fifth album Houses of the Holy, released on 28 March 1973. 'The Ocean' is a rollicking hard rock song dedicated to the fans of Led Zeppelin, particularly those that came to their concerts and formed an 'ocean' within the stadiums they filled. Singer Robert Plant also dedicated part of the lyrics to his daughter Carmen Jane Plant.

Overview

'The Ocean' was inspired by the band's performances where they could see a metaphorical ocean of fans from the stage. The song is counted in by drummer John Bonham, after the band had already attempted four takes. Recorded with a complex 4/4, 7/8, and 12/8 alternating time signature, it gave the song a fast intricate rhythm. Near the end of the song, the tempo speeds up into a doo-wop chorus. In the song's final verse, Plant refers to a ' ... girl who's won my heart, She is only three years old but that's a real fine place to start'. Plant is singing about his then-young daughter, Carmen. In live versions, Plant updated the age according to Carmen's. The song has been the subject of a long standing prank, of hearing an alleged telephone ringing at 1 minute 38 seconds - there is no telephone ringing.

'The Ocean' was released as a promotional single in Austria and Germany by Atlantic Records, where it peaked at number eight on the German Singles Chart. the song has been covered by numerous artists including Zebra, Living Colour, Tesla, Jason Bonham Band, and Dream Theater. Similarly, Plant wanting to keep up with the technology of sampling used 'The Ocean' (among other Led Zeppelin tracks) in 'Tall Cool One' from his 1988 album, Now and Zen.

Live performances

'The Ocean' was first performed during their 1972 North American tour, and dropped after 1973. A live version from 1973 can be found on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD. Page on his 1988 Outrider tour included part of the song on his version of 'Custard Pie'.

Chart positions

  • German Singles Chart (1973) 8

Formats and track listings

1973 7" single (Austria/Germany: Atlantic ATL 10316)

  • A. 'The Ocean' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 4.31
  • B. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43

1973 7" single (Germany: Atlantic ATL 10316)

1973 7" EP (Thailand: Atlantic FT 911)

  • A1. 'The Ocean' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 4.31
  • A2. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43
  • B1. 'The Song Remains the Same' (Page, Plant) 5.30
  • B2. 'The Crunge' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 3.17

1975 7" EP (Thailand: Atlantic KS 185)

  • A1. 'The Ocean' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 4.31
  • A2. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (Page, Plant) 4.47
  • B1. 'The Song Remains the Same' (Page, Plant) 5.30
  • B2. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • John Bonham - drums, percussion, backing vocals

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).

© 2009 SoundHistoria.    All rights reserved.