Vocals: Trey, Page
Original Artist: Led Zeppelin
Original Album: Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Historian: Martian Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)
There are crucial moments in each of our lives when we are tasked with finding the right words to express an emotion, share an idea, respond to unhappy news, or answer a difficult question. Perhaps you are trying to write your own wedding vows, pitch a new product before an unreceptive audience, are just finding out that a treasured friend or family member has a terminal illness, or are being grilled on the witness stand in a capital case. Your life, or the life of another, somehow hangs in the balance awaiting your words. Some words once spoken, cannot be taken back...and they make or break the outcome of that moment. Robert Plant was at such a moment when he composed the lyrics to the Led Zeppelin song “Thank You.” It was his first solo attempt at songwriting for the band. By simply expressing his feelings for his wife Maureen he crafted a lyrical gem that ranks with the most eloquent statements of love ever made, and thereby cemented his role in the mighty Zeppelin. He could provide more than just raw front man sex appeal...in that instant he became a wordsmith, a man of substance.
The Led Zeppelin II album version of the song was recorded in June 1969 at Morgan Studios in Willesden, North London, England. Plant’s words swim in the ethereal glow of John Paul Jones Hammond organ, interspersed with the crashing thunder of John Bonham’s drums and the searing lightning flashes of Jimmy Page’s guitar...together they shall go until we die. Following the October 1969 release of the album “Thank You” was in fairly regular rotation live until 1973. Following a 7/29/73 MSG encore performance (which features an extended keyboard intro from John Paul Jones) to culminate Zeppelin’s 1973 tour, the song was shelved. This legendary run at MSG was of course documented in the film The Song Remains the Same.
Led Zeppelin “Thank You” from The Song Remains the Same
Phish performed the opening verse of “Thank You” during their second set “TweeZeppelin” medley on the second night (10/30/10) of Halloween weekend festivities at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. The medley, in addition to “Thank You,” contained a tease of “Whole Lotta Love,” a brief roll in the hay with “Heartbreaker,” most of “Ramble On,” and the transcendent finale of “Stairway to Heaven.” Of all the pieces selected for the medley, “Thank You” was the only segment wherein the combined Trey and Page vocals approached a reasonable representation of Robert Plant’s voice. As such, “Thank You” could be considered the song most likely to emerge from the medley for a repeat performance.
Whether you were lucky enough to have caught the "TweeZeppelin" medley live or were instead enjoying the virtual couch tour experience at home, the magic of the moment will always transcend the rough edges of the performance. It was a perfect demonstration of the joyful surprise that can at times permeate the Phish concert experience. At the very least, you have to appreciate the band having the courage to try to pull it off. The only appropriate response in these moments of unexpected glory is to say “Thank You” Phish!
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