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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 166
Sun. July 15, 2013

“In The Evening”
Led Zeppelin

1979
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“♫ I
hear you
crying
in the
darkness ♫”

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When thinking of Led Zeppelin usually Jimmy Page guitar greatness, Robert Plant’s ‘Adonis’ like vocals and John Bonham furiously wielding the drum kits, bassist’s John Paul Jones’ underrated contribution to the Zep mythology often gets overlooked. Did you know, while waiting for Page to show up, it was John Paul Jones along with Robert Plant who took the initiative in the studio during the In Through the Out Door sessions? In Keith Shadwick’s Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music 1968-1980, Jones talked about being the one taking the reigns in the studio when he said, “When I was playing keyboards I sort of had control of everything, tonally. If I wanted to change key, it would change key—sometimes inadvertently. “Carouselambra” and “In The Evening” were all keyboards and drums to start with. The guitar was added on, as it were.”
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You can hear it from the opening chords that 1979’s In Through The Out Door was a new chapter in the life of Led Zeppelin. Although Jimmy Page said in Jon Bream’s book Whole Lotta Led Zeppelin: The Illustrated History of the Heaviest Band of All Time, “I like drones and things like that.” Page’s virtuosity wasn’t the main player in these 1979 songs. In fact, Page’s classic riffs took a backseat to John Paul Jones distinctive keyboard spirits soaring In Through the Out Door.
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Jones explained in George Case’s book, Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man: An Unauthorized biography, why his imprints were all over songs like “In The Evening” when he John Paul said, “Looking back on that period it did seems Robert and I were holding it together, while others were dealing with other matters.” Robert added this criqtique on his disappearing guitarist and songwriting collaborator Jimmy Page, when Plant slyly commented, “I was really keen to stop the self-importance and the guitar solos that lasted an hour.” Led Zeppelin tour manager Richard Cole weighed in on the controversy in Shadwick’s book when he added, “Jimmy always resented the fact when the writing credits came out, and John Paul Jones was on every credit, because he had been working all the time. I think Jimmy kind of thought Jonesy was trying to take over as a producer, which he wasn’t. [Jones] was trying to make use of the time until the other two turned up. The truth of the matter was [Page] never turned up until the middle of the night until [Jones and Plant] had scored.”
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John Paul Jones must have been doing something right because “In The Evening” was named one of Rolling Stone Magazine‘s Top 40 Led Zeppelin songs of all time. As time passed, Page later warmed up to John Paul’s contributions to In Through The Out Door; when asked by Rock Cellar Magazine whether the reunited Led Zeppelin would play songs like “In The Evening” Page replied, “I’d love to open a show with that one, as I think that’s a fantastic period in Zeppelin’s career, so perhaps we’ll incorporate that one in down the road. You never know.
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What we do know is that John Paul Jones’ contribution to later catalog of Led Zeppelin songs is so influential and underrated that we at Don’t Forget The Songs 365 honor Jones’ artistic versatility when he and Robert Plant crafted this keyboard soaring “In The Evening.” It took three years between 1976’s Presence to In Through the Out Door. Thankfully, John Paul got tired of waiting and took up the mantle because without Jonesy’s creative initiative after Led Zeppelin might have stalled in their mighty tracks.
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On Friday, John Paul Jones’ “In The Evening” saved out night. You see, our power was shut off in our neighborhood, this felt like it was the umpteenth time we had to wait over fourteen hours to get electricity back for the maintenance the power company was doing to our street since the last time. We decided to make the best of a crappy situation, after taking my wife on a dinner date to Mamma P’s, [Editor’s Note: Mamma P’s is literally the best pizza in Temple City, CA] I lit some candles, ‘batteried up’ my iPod dock and serenaded my wife to our favorite Led Zeppelin songs. My wife’s favorite was me leaping up and down while doing my best Jimmy Page air guitar in my underwear singing “I Need You Love.” Kind of hilarious if you think about it but once again but all in all we made through the darkness and thanks to Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Bonham and especially John Paul Jones; and because of his In Through The Out Door epic, we had a very rockingly enjoyable time, Led Zeppelin dreaming— “In the Evening.”

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