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DavidZoso

Houses of the Holy Sessions 1972

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Led Zeppelin worked on songs for their "Houses of the Holy" album during a

few weeks of sessions with the Rolling Stones' mobile studio, a truck with a

16-track recording facility. Because it was on wheels, it was possible to

park the truck and record inside the basement of an adjacent building, or

even outside in the garden.

The Rolling Stones had used the mobile studio in 1971 to record for

the double album Exile on Main Street. It became popular with other groups

too. Most notably, Deep Purple had attempted to use it in December 1971 to

record the album, Machine Head. Led Zeppelin used it in 1972 and 1974, and

Bad Company followed Zep's lead and recorded its third album, Run with the

Pack, with the mobile studio in September 1975.

The truck was sometimes stationed in France, Belgium or Switzerland.

But for Led Zeppelin's sessions, it was parked at Stargroves, a country

estate that belonged to Stones front man Mick Jagger.

The only immediate goal Led Zeppelin had was write and record some

songs. "When we first went down there, we had no set ideas," said Jimmy Page.

"We just recorded the ideas each one of us had at that particular time. It

was simply a matter of getting together and letting it come out."

New York-based engineer Eddie Kramer said, "I was asked to come to

England to record a bunch of tracks." What was recorded was not originally

intended to comprise one album, although three quarters of Led Zeppelin's

next album came from Stargroves sessions. Three leftovers were later split

among two other Led Zeppelin albums. One of the three was "Walter's Walk."

In the 1972 track, "Walter's Walk" consisted only of an instrumental

riff devised during improvisation on "Dazed and Confused." The vocals for the

final "Walter's Walk" mix that appeared on the 1982 outtakes compilation Coda

were added not during the Stargroves sessions but after the breakup of Led

Zeppelin, by which point Plant's voice had noticeably aged 10 years.

In fact, some of the other vocal lines for songs recorded for Houses

of the Holy were afterthoughts: "Over the Hills and Far Away" was one, and

"The Crunge" (recorded with the Stones' mobile studio at Headley Grange in

1972) were two of them. Plant said, "We would have backing track tapes worked

out and somebody would cry out, 'We've got no bloody lyrics.' Some of the

tapes would be quite intricate, and I couldn't sing along instantly. So I had

to take them away and listen on my own. Then a week later, I'd come back with

'Over the Hills' or 'The Crunge.'"

At the highly productive Stargroves sessions with Kramer, six Houses

of the Holy tracks emerged: "The Song Remains the Same," "The Rain Song,"

"Over the Hills and Far Away," "Dancing Days," "D'yer Mak'er" and "The

Ocean."

Two songs from Stargroves were left over for Physical Graffiti,

released in 1975: "The Rover" and "Black Country Woman."

Aside from being highly productive, the Stargroves sessions were fun.

Said Kramer, "The lads were really happy there, recording with the amazing

acoustics of the old mansion and frolicking around in the park-like setting."

The band was great to work with, he added: "They were great, inspiring,

wonderful. They were so confident and so happy with what was going on. The

general feeling was excellent."

Kramer did his engineering from inside the truck, but he was out and

about on a few occasions. He brought a camera to the recording sessions --

something he'd been doing for years at previous sessions -- and was able to

capture some historic moments from what was essentially the Houses of the

Holy recording sessions.

Photos in his collection show the band

dancing to the playback of the newly recorded "Dancing Days." Kramer said,

"The truck doors are open, and we're playing back what was just recorded. So

the lads decided to get into it and dance around to this great track."

Kramer also recalled details about the recording of the blues "Black

Country Woman," in the garden at Stargroves. He also wrote that Page, wearing

a V-neck cardigan sweater and looking "like the quintessential English school

boy," used a Martin 6-string acoustic guitar.

He continued, "We decided to place Jimmy and John Paul outside in

order to record their acoustic guitars with no acoustical room interference.

When Robert sang his lead vocal, we tried to capture the same sound. However,

just as he was about to sing, an airplane droned overhead. On the final mix,

both my comment, 'Er, what about that airplane?' and his terse reply, 'Na,

leave it in,' are preserved for posterity on the album."

All of these great photos were taken by the Fantabulous recording engineer-Eddie Kramer.

Robert standing by the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio-outside Stargroves Manor.

RP_near_mobile_studio_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_Kramer_1972.jpg

Bonzo strumming guitar next to Rolling Stones Mobile truck.

JB_Stargroves_England_by__Kramer-06.jpg

Jimmy's mandolin case and John Paul Jones's african drum.

KAG_ZEP_72_0205_F.jpg

JB_Stargroves_England_by_Kramer_-05.jpg

JB_Stargroves_England_by_Kramer_04.jpg

JB_Stargroves_England_by__Kramer-03.jpg

JB_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_Kram.jpg

JB_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_Kram.jpg

JP_JPJ_guitars_Stargroves_England_1.jpg

recording Black Country Woman-

rob72-stargroves.jpg

JP_RP_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_K.jpg

JP_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_Kram.jpg

JP_JPJ_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_.jpg

Bonzo and Jimmy

JB_JP_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_K.jpg

John Paul Jones and John Bonham

JPJ_JB_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_.jpg

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Dancing Days are here again :D

robertdancing1972.jpg

JP_RP__England__Kramer-03.jpg

LZ_Stargroves_England_by_Eddie_Kram.jpg

Eddie Kramer backstage with Jimmy Page at Madison Square Garden, New York-July-1973. He took all the Stargroves 1972 pics and was the engineer at those 'Houses of the Holy' sessions. He was also the engineer for the 3 nights of recording at MSG-NY July '73 that were used for 'The Song Remains the Same'-soundtrack and film.

group240.jpg

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Sweet, very nice!!!

Great stuff, as I learned a lot that I did not know before.

Thanks for sharing the story and what wonderful pictures!

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great photos and information David! Thanks again! I love your posts!

post-16971-0-49832900-1304009250_thumb.j

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Very insightful thread! Thank you!

But I noticed No Quarter was not done in the truck. I also thought that the title track was done in the same sessions with the rest of the album. Can any Zepheads shed some more light on when these songs were composed?

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Very insightful thread! Thank you!

But I noticed No Quarter was not done in the truck. I also thought that the title track was done in the same sessions with the rest of the album. Can any Zepheads shed some more light on when these songs were composed?

Credit to Melcore/Ian for compiling this list.

N.B. All information is taken from the 2014-2015 "Super Deluxe" books (hereafter abbreviated "SD") included with the remastered albums, unless otherwise stated.

Known Recording/Mixing Dates:

  • 1971.12.03:
    • "No Quarter" at Island Studios, No. 2, Notting Hill, London, England, UK

      Engineers: Andy Johns; Bob Potter; Phil Brown

      {Officially released as "No Quarter [Rough Mix with JPJ Keyboard Overdubs - No Vocal]"*}

  • 1972.04.12:
    • "Dancing Days" and "Houses of the Holy" at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineers: George Chkiantz; Rod Thear

      {See 1972.04.30 and 1972.08.04 below}

  • 1972.04.15:
    • "The Ocean" at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineers: George Chkiantz; Rod Thear

      {See 1972.11.16 below}

  • 1972.04.16:
    • "The Crunge" and "Next One" (later "Over the Hills and Far Away") at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineers: George Chkiantz; Rod Thear

      {See 1972.04.30 and 1972.05.30 below}

  • 1972.04.30:
    • "Houses of the Holy" and "Next One" (later "Over the Hills and Far Away") at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineer: George Chkiantz

      {Officially released as "Houses of the Holy [Rough Mix with Overdubs]" and "Over the Hills and Far Away [Guitar Mix Backing Track]"}

  • 1972.05.15:**
    • "The Overture" or "Plumpton & Worcester Races" (later "The Song Remains the Same"), "Best One Yet" (later "The Rain Song") and "J???? (What's the Matter Here)" (later "Black Country Woman")*** with The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio at Stargroves, England, UK

      Engineer: Eddie Kramer

      {See 1972.05.30 and 1972.08.09 below}

  • 1972.05.16:
    • "Walter's Walk" with The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio at Stargroves, England, UK

      Engineer: Eddie Kramer

  • 1972.05.30:
    • "The Overture" or "Plumpton & Worcester Races" (later "The Song Remains the Same") and "The Crunge" at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineer: George Chkiantz

      {Officially released as "The Song Remains the Same [Guitar Overdub Reference Mix]" and "The Crunge [Rough Mix - Keys Up]"}

  • 1972.08.04:
    • "Dancing Days" at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineers: George Chkiantz; Rod Thear

      {Officially released as "Dancing Days [Rough Mix with Vocal]"}

  • 1972.08.09:
    • "The Rain Song" at Olympic Sound Studios, No. 1, Barnes, London, England, UK

      Engineer: Keith Harwood

      {Officially released as "The Rain Song [Mix Minus Piano]"}

  • 1972.10.19:****
    • "Friends" and "Four Sticks" in Mumbai, India

      {Officially released as "Friends [bombay Orchestra]" and "Four Hands (Four Sticks) [bombay Orchestra]"}

  • 1972.10.26:*****
    • "Friends" and "Four Sticks" at Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London, England, UK

      {See 1972.10.19 above}

    • 1972.11.16:
      • "The Ocean" at Olympic Sound Studios, "Reduction Room," Barnes, London, England, UK

        Engineer: Keith Harwood

        {Officially released as "The Ocean [Working Mix]"}

* -- The recording engineers are listed as Andy Johns and Bob Potter; Phil Brown is listed alongside Johns as the "mix engineers" for the companion audio, which may date to a later time.

** -- This date is attested from the liner notes of Coda.

*** -- As noted by ledzepfilm, during one of the montages on the official DVD release, the tape label for "Black Country Woman" is visible. The working title is obscured. (Pics forthcoming.)

**** -- These Bombay recordings were previously thought to have been recorded in March 1972.

***** -- On this date, the group (ostensibly Page or Plant) copied the "Bombay" tracks onto 15 ips tape from a 7.5 ips tape.

Edited by Sathington Willoughby

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