The Wanton Song

'The Wanton Song' is a 1975 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, and recorded at Headley Grange, Hampshire, England in January 1974, and mixed at Olympic Studios, London in October 1974. It appeared as the twelfth track on Led Zeppelin's sixth album Physical Graffiti, released on 24 February 1975. 'The Wanton Song' is a hard rock song, the title of which refers to an immodest or promiscuous woman, a reflection of the groupies who followed Led Zeppelin's previous tours of North America.


'The Wanton Song' originated from out of a jam session held during rehearsals in 1973. One of the heaviest songs on Physical Graffiti, the track is driven by a catchy guitar riff in the key of G by guitarist Jimmy Page, and subtle effects were added such as backwards echo, and playing his guitar through a Leslie speaker to create a Doppler effect. The bridge features Page playing double-tracked chords. Drumming and cymbal work by John Bonham is particularly tight. The lyrics by singer Robert Plant refers to uncontrolled desire. A studio out-take of the song was played on Long Island FM radio station WLIR 92.7 in January 1975, during an interview with audio engineer Eddie Kramer promoting the forthcoming double album Physical Graffiti release.

Live performances

'The Wanton Song' was performed in parts during rehearsals for much of 1973, on their North American tour. One such rehearsal was recorded on 6 July 1973 at Chicago Stadium, and later emerged on a bootleg. The song was performed on the 1975 European tour and the first part of their 1975 North American tour. Page and Plant revived the song as their set opener for their 1995, 1996, and 1998 tours. Page played it with the Black Crowes on their 1999 tour, and a version can be heard on their 2000 album Live at the Greek.



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


  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Keith Harwood - mixing
  • Ron Nevison - 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).

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