Jimmy Page confirms George Harrison inspired The Rain Song because “Led Zeppelin don’t do any ballads”

The guitarist also explains why he never understood the negative response to Led Zeppelin III.

Jimmy Page on George Harrison

Page image: David Redfern/Getty
Harrison image: Jeff Hochberg/Getty

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Jimmy Page has discussed the story behind his 1973 track, The Rain Song, explaining that he wrote it after George Harrison reportedly stated that Led Zeppelin don’t release ballads.

The topic arose in a new interview, in which the guitar icon discussed Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy album and its less-appreciated predecessor, Led Zeppelin III.

It was here that Page was asked about the inspiration behind their track, The Rain Song, which was supposedly written after George Harrison told the guitarist that Led Zeppelin “never do ballads”.

“He didn’t say it to me [directly]. I just heard it on the grapevine that he had said ‘Oh, Led Zeppelin don’t do any ballads,’” Page said in the latest issue of Guitar World.

“I’m paraphrasing, but it was something similar to that. He probably said it lightheartedly. He probably hadn’t really listened to very much Led Zeppelin.”

The guitarist later proclaimed that the track in question remains one of the band’s best, and explained that he even incorporated a subtle reference to Harrison’s Beatles song Something into the opening section.

“I thought it would be interesting to put the first two notes from Something into the beginning of The Rain Song … [As a whole,] The Rain Song was really nothing like Something, so nobody was even going to think of it,” he said.

“Yes, it’s pretty up there [as a personal favourite], for sure. As a guitar piece, it was really good, but again, it came to life with Bonzo playing really sensitively on the brushes.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Page also reflected on negative reviews that Led Zeppelin received throughout their career, particularly after their third album, stating:

“The press didn’t get any of the albums. With the third album, they didn’t understand why we were doing accusing music, except that it was all over the first album anyway,” he explained. “I wondered [at the time], where are these people coming from?”


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