Jimmy Page unearths lost Led Zeppelin demo, The Seasons – the acoustic guitar arrangement that became The Rain Song
Jimmy Page has shared a previously unreleased track created during the sessions for Led Zeppelin’s 1974 record Houses Of The Holy. Dubbed The Seasons, it’s an instrumental arrangement that eventually formed the basis for The Rain Song.
“My original idea for the opening tracks for Houses of the Holy was that a short overture would be a rousing instrumental introduction with layered electric guitars that would segue in to The Season, later to be titled The Rain Song,” explains Page in his post.
“Again there would be a contrasting acoustic guitar instrumental movement with melotron that could lead to the first vocal of the album and the first verse of the song. The Seasons was a memo to myself as a reminder of the sequence of the song and various ideas I’d had for it in its embryonic stage.”
Page put the song together in the evening at home using his multitrack recorder. He says a separate overture – then-titled The Plumpton and Worcester Races – later fulfilled his aim for the rousing (if not instrumental) introduction the band finally settled on in The Song Remains The Same.
“The first set of recordings were done at Olympic Studios with George Chkiantz,” notes Page of the production. “We then came to record at Stargroves, Sir Mick Jagger’s country home, and, like Headley Grange, [where we recorded parts of multiple albums, we used] the Rolling Stones recording truck.
“The Song Remains The Same was played on a Fender 12 string, the same one used on Beck's Bolero, with my trusty Les Paul number 1 on overdubs in a standard turning. The Rain Song was an unorthodox tuning on acoustic and electric guitars. On live shows, it became a work-out feature for the double neck.”
Page’s “unorthodox” tuning on The Rain Song is thought to be DGCGCD, and the new arrangement is a superb acoustic guitar showcase. Indeed, it works so beautifully as an instrumental that you almost wish Plant had left it alone in the first place.
Page had previously mentioned his home demo of The Rain Song in a 2014 interview with Louder’s Paul Elliot, around the Deluxe Reissue of Houses Of The Holy.
“I had a home demo of The Rain Song (from Houses Of The Holy), but unfortunately the tapes have been lost. Which is a real bastard,” stated the guitarist. “I literally had the full piece from beginning to end. I had the Mellotron idea and everything on it.”
The Led Zeppelin icon has not explicitly stated whether or not the newly uploaded demo is the lost version he was referring to in that statement, but it certainly fits the description to a tee.
It’s been a good time for Led Zeppelin guitar fans lately, particularly as a new clip of Page talking through his most iconic Led Zeppelin guitar gear has recently surfaced online.