The Song Remains the Same

From Academic Kids

The Song Remains the Same (concert film)
Missing image
Album cover

Concert film by Led Zeppelin
Premiered October 21, 1976 at Cinema I in New York
Released October 25, 1990 (video)
December 31, 1999 (DVD)
Recorded July 27, July 28 and July 29, 1973 at Madison Square Garden, New York (musical parts).
Music producer Jimmy Page
Genre Hard rock
Length 137 min (film)
132 min + extras (DVD)
Record label Swan Song Records
Catalogue Warner Reprise Video WHV 11389
(DVD) Warner 11389
Professional reviews
DVD Verdict Lukewarm December 31, 1999 ( (DVD version)
Led Zeppelin Chronology
The Song Remains the Same (album)
The Song Remains the Same (film)
In Through the Out Door

The Song Remains the Same is a concert film by the British blues/rock band Led Zeppelin. The recording of the film took place during a 3-night concert stand at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1973 during the band's Houses of the Holy tour. The film premiered on October 21, 1976 at Cinema I in New York. The video of the film was released on October 25, 1990 and the DVD was released on December 31, 1999.

Since late 1969, Led Zeppelin had been planning on filming one of their live performances for a projected movie documenting the band. Peter Grant believed Led Zeppelin would be better served on the big screen rather than television because the sound quality of television he regarded as inadequate. The first attempt was the filming of Led Zeppelin's Royal Albert Hall performance on January 9, 1970. Film-makers Peter Whitehead and Stanley Dorfman were commissioned, however the resultant film was shot using indifferent lighting so it was canned (This footage later turning up on the 2003 release Led Zeppelin. Another attempt was organised for the outdoor Bath Festival on June 28, 1970, but again what little footage that was filmed was deemed unsatisfactory.)

On the morning of July 20 1973, Jimmy Page and Peter Grant made contact with Joe Massot, who had previously directed George Harrison's Wonderwall. Massot agreed to film the band on the last leg of 1973 summer tour of the United States. A crew was finally assembled in time for Led Zeppelin's last leg of the tour starting on July 23, 1973 in Baltimore. Massot decided however to film the concert performances at Madison Square Garden on the nights of July 27, 28, and 29 1973. Both the fans and the band regard these nights of the tour as "average". In an effort to show the individual personalities in the band, footage of each band member in their own real world and fantasy world would also be included backed with a favoured song. The film would be entirely financed by the band and shot on 35mm with a 24-track quadraphonic sound recording. The live footage in the US alone cost $85,000.

Some sequences are as follows:

  • Peter Grant and Richard Cole were filmed as hitmen driving towards Hammerwood Park estate in Sussex in a 1928 Pierce Arrow car. Roy Harper also makes an uncredited guest appearance as one of the "greedy millionaires" portrayed at a business meeting of multi-national corporations. Massot envisioned Grant and Cole in the hitmen roles, having to deal with the tough business decisions they had to make on behalf of the band. Grant's berating of concert staff over pirated merchandise and the gate crasher scene was filmed backstage at the Baltimore Civic Centre on July 23. The black limousines and skyscraper scene was also recorded during their journey to the Civic Centre. At 7:15pm on July 29, 1973, it was noticed $203,000 in cash from ticket receipts, was missing from a safety deposit box at the Drake Hotel, New York. Scenes from a television press conference interviewing Grant on the missing cash was included. The money was never recovered and no-one was charged.
  • John Paul Jones was filmed first at home with his wife Maureen, and reading Jack and the Beanstalk to his two daughters, Tamara and Jacinda, before receiving a call to join the band on their American concert. His fantasy sequence involved a reinterpretation of the film Doctor Syn, a masked gentleman known as The Scarecrow who travels at night on horseback with three others and returns home to Sussex, an ordinary family man. The three other horsemen with him is a reference to the other band members. Filmed in October 1973. Thematic music: "No Quarter".
  • Robert Plant relaxing on his Welsh country farm, known as Jennings farm, with his wife Maureen, and children Karac and Carmen. His fantasy sequence involves him being a knight rescuing a fair maiden, who is a symbolic representation for his vision of the ideal - his personal search for the Holy Grail. Scenes from the sword fight were filmed at Raglan Castle in Wales while the sailing and beach scenes were shot at Cardigan Bay near Aberystwyth, in October 1973. Thematic music: "The Song Remains the Same" and "The Rain Song".
  • John Bonham with his wife Pat and son Jason Bonham on their country estate, The Old Hyde farm in Worcestershire. The game of pool was shot at The Old Hyde hotel and the Harley riding near Blackpool. His fantasy sequence is the most straight forward of all the members, with Bonham drag racing an AA Fueler at 260mph at Santa Pod Speedway in California, in October 1973. Thematic music: "Moby Dick".

Unhappy with the progress of the film, Peter Grant had Joe Massot removed from the project and Australian director Peter Clifton was hired in his place. Clifton, in an effort to complete some close-ups and distance footage of the band members, assembled Led Zeppelin at Shepperton Studios in August 1974, with a mock-up of the Madison Square Garden stage. The bulk of the live sequence seen in the film however was from the 1973 concerts. A plan to shoot additional footage on the band's Autumn 1975 U.S. tour was abandoned due to Plant's car crash in Rhodes. The film was finally completed by early 1976, 18 months behind schedule and over-budget. Peter Grant later quipped "It was the most expensive home movie ever made". It grossed $200,000 in its first week at the box office.



  1. Mob Rubout
  2. Big Apple Credits
  3. Country Life ("Autumn Lake")
  4. New York ("Bron-Yr-Aur")
  5. "Rock and Roll"
  6. "Black Dog"
  7. "Since I've Been Loving You"
  8. "No Quarter"
  9. Who's Responsible?
  10. "The Song Remains the Same"
  11. "The Rain Song"
  12. Fire and Sword
  13. Capturing the Castle
  14. Not Quite Backstage Pass
  15. "Dazed and Confused"
  16. Strung Out
  17. Magic in the Night
  18. Gate Crasher
  19. No Comment
  20. "Stairway to Heaven"
  21. "Moby Dick"
  22. Country Squire Bonham
  23. "Heartbreaker"
  24. Grand Theft
  25. "Whole Lotta Love"
  26. End Credits


Uncredited: Family members; the female passenger wearing a scarf, with Peter Grant driving on a country road is Grant's wife, Gloria; Roy Harper as one of the slain corporate goons; the white-shirted man Grant berates is believed to be promoter Larry Vaughan; the blonde maiden at Raglan Castle (unknown); the close-up of an Indian woman during the song "Since I've Been Loving You" is Maureen Plant's younger sister.


The Song Remains the Same is also a Led Zeppelin song from their 1973 album Houses Of The Holy. It is the first track on the album.

External links

Led Zeppelin
John Bonham - John Paul Jones - Jimmy Page - Robert Plant
Original albums: Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin III - Untitled - Houses of the Holy - Physical Graffiti - Presence - The Song Remains the Same - In Through the Out Door - Coda
Other albums: Boxed Set - Profiled - Remasters - Boxed Set 2 - The Complete Studio Recordings - BBC Sessions - Early Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin Volume One - Latter Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin Volume Two - How the West Was Won
Films: The Song Remains the Same - Led Zeppelin DVD
Songs: "The Battle of Evermore" - "Dazed and Confused" - "Stairway to Heaven" - "When the Levee Breaks"
Other: Peter Grant - Swan Song Records


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