Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 59
Tues. Mar 26, 2013

“Going to California”
Led Zeppelin


“♫ Seems
that the wrath
of the Gods/
got a punch
on the nose
and it started
to flow/ I think
I might be

One of my favorite acoustic Led Zeppelin tracks actually reminds me of the fear I used to have about coming to California. Los Angeles, Hollywood, The Doors, Lakers, Galaxy… just about everything I loved was out in the west coast, but what I was I so afraid of moving here. It couldn’t have only the aftershocks that kept me from coming out here, was it?

I wasn’t the only one afraid of earthquakes, one of Robert Plant’s lyrics fro “Going to California” actually came true when Jimmy Page was mixing Led Zeppelin IV as he explained in Brad Tolinski’s essential tome, Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page, “Unfortunately, things went badly right from the beginning. As soon as Page, arrived, he was greeted with a good ol’ California earthquake. “I remember lying in bed while it was shaking going up and down. I immediately flashed on “Going to California,” where Robert sings, “The mountains and canyons start to tremble and shake,” and all I could think was, bloody hell, I’m not taking any chances—I’m going to mix that one [“Going to California”] last. Which I did!

You could hear it from Robert Plant’s poignant lyrics, “Going To California” was actually an ode to one of Jimmy Page’s favorite singers Joni Mitchell as he told Rolling Stone in 1975, “I have to do a lot of hard work before I can get anywhere near those stages of consistent, total brilliance. I don’t think there are too many people who are capable of it. Maybe one. Joni Mitchell. That’s the music that I play at home all the time… ”

Joni Mitchell. Court and Spark I love because I’d always hoped that she’d work with a band. But the main thing with Joni is that she’s able to look at something that’s happened to her, draw back and crystallize the whole situation then write about it. She brings tears to my eyes, what more can I say? It’s bloody eerie. I can relate so much to what she says. “Now old friends are acting strange/They shake their heads /They say I’ve changed.” I’d like to know how many of her original friends she’s got. I’d like to know how many of the original friends any well-known musician has got. You’d be surprised. They think-particularly that thing of change; they all assume that you’ve changed. For the worse. There are very few people I can call real close friends. They’re very. very precious to me.”

“Going to California” is a song that’s equally precious to me. Listening to this poignant Page and Plant classic reflects I time I had fear and trepidation about moving to California. If I could go back, just to let myself, know everything was going to be alright and give myself a musical sign like the time hear The Beatles “Something” played before my surgery in San Antonio—“Going to California” would be that song. Inspired by luscious lyrical lives of Joni Mitchell, “Going” reflects everything that is beautiful and inspiring of the state of mind that I now call home.