Led Zeppelin .:. Going To California

The song’s wistful folk-style sound, with Robert Plant on lead vocals, acoustic guitar by Jimmy Page and mandolin by John Paul Jones, contrasts with the heavy electric-amplified rock on four of the album’s other tracks. Page’s guitar is in double drop D tuning: DADGBD.

The song is reportedly about Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, with whom Plant and Page were both infatuated. In live performances of the song, Plant would often say the name “Joni” after this stanza (which is thought to have referenced Mitchell’s 1967 composition “I Had a King”):

To find a queen without a king,They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.This song started out as a song about Californian earthquakes and when Jimmy Page, audio engineer Andy Johns and band manager Peter Grant travelled to Los Angeles to mix the album, they coincidentally experienced a minor earthquake. At this point it was known as “Guide to California”.At Led Zeppelin concerts the band performed this song during their acoustic sets, first playing it on their Spring 1971 tour of the United Kingdom. One live version, from Led Zeppelin’s performance at Earls Court in 1975, is featured on disc 2 of the Led Zeppelin DVD.It was performed on Plant’s solo tours during 1988/1989 and at the Knebworth Silver Clef show in 1990. He played it again on his Mighty ReArranger tour, with additions of a double bass and a synthesizer.
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