Zeppelin's prettiest song: Page's gentle acoustic fingerpicking weaves together with Jones' mandolin, while Plant tries on some country twang. Rumored to be written about Joni Mitchell, it could just as easily be about any California girl "with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair." And for Led Zeppelin in 1971, there were many.
A Play Off Joni Mitchell's Song "California"
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this song, drawing inspiration from Joni Mitchell, specifically her song "California." Mitchell lived in the musically fertile but earthquake-prone Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles; "California" finds her recalling her adventures on a trip to Europe but looking forward to a return home. In "Going To California," Plant plays the part of a guy who's looking to leave his no-good woman behind and make a fresh start in California.
Drummer, John Bonham, Sat This Acoustic Song Out
This is an acoustic song with no drums, so John Bonham sat this one out. Jimmy Page played two different guitars on the track - a 12-string and a 6-string - and John Paul Jones played mandolin. Jones was the bass player in Led Zeppelin but could play a variety of instruments, expanding the band's musical range.
Appeared in a Scripted Film in 2019, The Friend
This song shows up in news programs and documentaries from time to time, but it didn't appear in a scripted film until 2019, when it was used in the movie The Friend, the real-life story of a woman with terminal cancer. Along with "Ramble On," it's part of the plot line, but Led Zeppelin songs are notoriously hard to clear and The Friend had a budget of just $10 million. Those involved in making the film, including executive producer Ridley Scott, made personal appeals to the surviving band members and managed to get the songs cleared at a deep discount.
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 my heart
Someone told me there's a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair
Took my chances 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 awake
Seems that the wrath of the Gods
Got a punch on the nose and 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
Side 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