The History Of One Song /// Led Zeppelin ‘Dazed And Confused’

led-zeppelin

‘Dazed And Confused’ is the track from the renowned debut album ‘Led Zeppelin I’ by Led Zeppelin. The track became one of those major brickstones that shaped a tremendous debut album and was included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Originally ‘Dazed And Confused’ was written and performed by Jake Holmes and went under the title ‘I’m Confused’. It was only after The Yardbirds tour with him in the USA the same year, when Jimmy Page fell in love with the unhackneyed extravaganza of the track and adopted it for playing live with his band. Initially, The Yardbirds performed it at their live shows, but they never recorded the track in the studio though. Later, when The Yardbirds disbanded and the era of Led Zeppelin came, Page reworked the song – lyrically and melodically – and the band recorded ‘Dazed And Confused’ for their debut which was released in 1969.

During live shows the performance of ‘Dazed And Confused’ turned, over the years, into a 40-something-minute spectacle of improvisation, part of which included Page playing his guitar with a violin bow. In fact, ‘Dazed And Confused’ was one of the three songs where Page used this technique of playing the guitar for an unusual, bold sound effect. At that time, this number was one of those elements of the Zeppelin show that made them truly unique, just like everything the band did. Led Zeppelin continued playing the song up till 1975 when it was dropped from the setlist.

‘Dazed And Confused’ has a complex, layered structure with numerous transitions from middle-paced passages into explosive volcanoes of sound. It’s a great embodiment of what Led Zeppelin are about sound- and character-wise and, even though the track was not originally written by Zeppelin, they turned it into their own creation with a distinct stamp of their personality on it. Having put it on their crucial debut album – a daring and risky affair as it was – ‘Dazed And Confused’ made a great impact on the general impression made by this record.

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