White Summer

'White Summer' is a 1967 instrumental song by English rock band the Yardbirds. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and recorded and mixed at De Lane Lea Studios, London, England on 27 March 1967. It appeared as the third track on the Yardbirds' studio album Little Games, released on 24 July 1967. 'White Summer' was briefly known under the working title 'Arabic Number'. It became a solo showcase for guitarist Page, performed often with another song 'Black Mountain Side', during Page's time with Led Zeppelin. 'White Summer' also appeared on Led Zeppelin's compilation box set Led Zeppelin in 1990, leading into 'Black Mountain Side', and subsequently as part of the 1993 remastered Coda album as a bonus track.

Overview

'White Summer' was inspired by a traditional folk song entitled 'She Moved Through the Fair'. Guitarist Jimmy Page had already performed the track live before recording an arranged version at De Lane Lea in March 1967, for the Little Games album. Page would use a 1959 black Danelectro 3021 guitar to perform with both live and in the studio when playing this song. Middle Eastern, Egyptian and Indian raga styles were incorporated into the track, which is played in the DADGAD tuning. In an interview he gave in 1977, Page commented: 'I used a special tuning for [the song]; the low string down to D, then A, D, G, A and D. It's like a modal tuning, a sitar tuning, in fact.' It became a live solo favourite during concerts for Page when it was featured as an instrumental solo spot. A version can be heard on the unofficial 1971 album Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page (Epic 30615).

When the Yardbirds broke-up and Led Zeppelin was formed, Page carried the piece with him over to the new line-up. A version was recorded at a BBC broadcast made from the Playhouse Theatre, performed on 27 June 1969, for the pilot of Radio One's In Concert series, which took place during Led Zeppelin's United Kingdom 1969 summer tour. As with most of the live versions of this song, Page dove-tailed the coda straight into the instrumental 'Black Mountain Side', which was a track from Led Zeppelin's eponymous debut album, Led Zeppelin. The recording combining both remained shelved for many years, but was eventually included on the 1990 Led Zeppelin box set under the combined title 'White Summer' / 'Black Mountain Side'. The piece was later included as a bonus track on the 1993 boxed set The Complete Studio Recordings, as part of the Coda album.

Live performances

'White Summer' was performed by Page in the Yardbirds during 1967 as part of their European and final United States tour set list. Page performed 'White Summer' / 'Black Mountain Side' at Led Zeppelin concerts as part of their standard set list between 1968 and 1970, and again on their 1977, 1979 and 1980 tours, segueing it with 'Kashmir'. A 1970 performance of the song at the Royal Albert Hall, can be seen on the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD. On 26 April 1970, Page performed the piece as a one-off as a guest on the Julie Felix Show. Page would also play versions of this song when he was with the Firm, and again during his 1988 Outrider tour, segueing into 'Black Mountain Side' in the solo section for the 'Midnight Moonlight' medley.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering

Production:

  • Mickie Most – producer
  • Adam Block - producer
  • Kevin Reeves - engineer, mixing

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).

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