Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going to California


  "Going to California" is the seventh song on Led Zeppelin IV and it was released on November 8, 1971. It has a wistful folk-style sound, with Plant on lead vocals, John Paul Jones played the mandolin and Page played an acoustic guitar. It is also 3:31 long.

   The song is reportedly about Joni Mitchell, who was the target of both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant infatuation. Plant would often say the name "Joni" after the following stanza, when "Going to California" was performed live:

 To find a queen without a king,
 They say she plays the guitar and cries and sings

  In a 2002 'Spin' magazine interview, Plant said that the song " might be embarrassing at times lyrically, but it did sum up a period of my life when I was 22." In another interview with the same magazine, in 2007, Plant stated that the song was about "Me reflecting on the first years of the group, when I was about...20, and was struggling to find myself in the midst of all the craziness of California and the band and the groupies...."

"Going to California" started out as a song about California earthquakes and when Jimmy Page, audio engineer Andy Johns and band manager Peter Grant went to Los Angles to mix the album, they by chance experienced an earthquake. At this time the title of the song was "Guide to California".

  At Led Zeppelin concert, "Going to California" was performed during the bands acoustic sets, first played on their Spring 1971 tour of the United Kingdom. Led Zeppelin's live performance of the song at Earl's Court 1975 is on the second disc of  the Led Zeppelin DVD.

  Plant performed the song on his solo tours of 1988/1989 and at the Knebworth Silver Clef show in 1990. He again performed it on his 2005 Mighty ReArranger tourwith a synthesizer and a double bass added

 Spent my days with a woman unkind,
 Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine.
 Made up my mind to make a new start,
 Going to California with an aching in myheart.

 Someone told me there's a girl out there 
 With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.
 Took my chance on a big jet plane
 Never let them tell you that they're all the same. 

 The sea was red and the sky was grey,
 Wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today.
 The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake
 As the children of the sun began to wake

Seems the wrath of the Gods
 Got a punch in the noseand it started to flow;
I think I might be sinking,
 Throw me a line if I reach it in time
 I'll meet you up there where the path
 Runs straight and high.

 To find a queen without a king;
 They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.
 La, la, la, la
 Ride a white mare in the footsteps of dawn
 Tryin' to find a woman who's never, never, never been born.
Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
 Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard, as it seems.

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