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Led Zeppelin — Going To California
Album: Led Zeppelin IV
Avg rating:
8.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2703









Released: 1971
Length: 3:25
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Spent my days with a woman unkind
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine.
Made up my mind to make a new start
Going To California with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me there's a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her hair.
Took my chances on a big jet plane
Never let them tell you that they're all the same.
The sea was red and the sky was grey
Wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today.
The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake
As the children of the sun began to awake.
Seems that the wrath of the Gods
Got a punch on the nose and it started to flow;
I think I might be sinking.
Throw me a line if I reach it in time
I'll meet you up there where the path
Runs straight and high.
To find a queen without a king;
They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.
La la la la
Side a white mare in the footsteps of dawn
Tryin' to find a woman who's never, never, never been born.
Standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams,
Telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems
Comments (284)add comment
Jimmy Page is the Man!
 Highlowsel wrote:
Good tune but ever stop to wonder what Robert Plant, today at the age of ~72 (born in 1948), must think about his much younger self? 

Wonder if he instinctively cringes a bit....like you probably do looking at an old picture of yourself wearing multi-stripped bell bottoms from that same period....

Highlow
American Net'Zen  
 Really? these guys were living the Fantasy. What regrets?  I look back and  think, those were the times. And I didn't make nearly as much money or fame.

This is a sweet song, and a lovely contrast to the PLAY IT LOUD material on the rest of the album. Acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonies .. and a song about California. Wonderful.
Good tune but ever stop to wonder what Robert Plant, today at the age of ~72 (born in 1948), must think about his much younger self? 

Wonder if he instinctively cringes a bit....like you probably do looking at an old picture of yourself wearing multi-stripped bell bottoms from that same period....

Highlow
American Net'Zen  
One of the first albums I purchased, which set a high bar. 
One of the Best groups ever.  VERY nice!
 calypsus_1 wrote:
 

yummy
sounds like the writer may have experienced a lil Cali  earthquake.
Long Live  RP







To me this is 8 - Most Excellent
Ups, I gave it 10, thinking it is 'Battle of Evermore'. Nevertheless, 10 stays.
Saw the 1973 tour in Chicago. Still ranks #1 with me. Lousy venue, no fancy stage effects, just great music.
 hayduke2 wrote:
love RP's artistic presentation of killer music!  Plant's time trip from 29- Palms slippin' way back to this beauty was especially cool
 

Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of elevators loves this groovy classic song... we be dancing like happy hippies... love sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll... hope life is grand right now for you, hayduke2...


 westslope wrote:
Funny thing about all these songs about heading to California.  In recent decades, large numbers of Californians have been abandoning the state.  

Popularity can destroy the experience.  California is not unique.   

 

"No one goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

Yogi Berra 
Every time this track comes on I just have to stop, close, y eyes and enjoy
 westslope wrote:
Funny thing about all these songs about heading to California.  In recent decades, large numbers of Californians have been abandoning the state.  

Popularity can destroy the experience.  California is not unique.   

 
Yeah, saying I'm from California has a whole new meaning.  As it gets worse and worse out there, so many people I grew up with out there have left for other places.
Yessssss
It's a California DOUBLE-HEADER!

 
I love this song. And even a little more so now that I know the interesting backstory about Alannah Myles.
love RP's artistic presentation of killer music!  Plant's time trip from 29- Palms slippin' way back to this beauty was especially cool
That girl is Natalie Shayne {#Roflol}
the lyrics are just to lame at best,...PSD
Just play the whole record, Bill.
 VV wrote:
One of Zep's best ballads.
 
Absolutely.
 Skydog wrote:
"Spent my days with a woman unkind 
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine"

 {#Lol} 
don't ya hate it when that happens, damn girl get your own stuff, now come on over here baby and gimme some sugar
.



 
Sounds like something I would've said.
"Spent my days with a woman unkind 
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine"

 {#Lol} 
don't ya hate it when that happens, damn girl get your own stuff, now come on over here baby and gimme some sugar
.


this song sounds remarkably like some other song that was written before it {#Naughty}
After all these years I cannot stop enjoying this music...
very, very nice!
One of Zep's best ballads.
 dkwalika wrote:
 Yes, high school. Played the s*** out of it on cassette, 8-track, lp.

jgrosch wrote:
Brings back memories of my first real girlfriend in high school. Never get tired of this song.
 

 

 
I had the pink 8 track.  This song is one of their best.
 Yes, high school. Played the s*** out of it on cassette, 8-track, lp.

jgrosch wrote:
Brings back memories of my first real girlfriend in high school. Never get tired of this song.
 

 


As noted below, the Joni Mitchell "California" to Zep's "Going to California" is perfect.  Thanks.
Brings back memories of my first real girlfriend in high school. Never get tired of this song.
 
 Proclivities wrote:

I remember hearing that this song was inspired by Joni Mitchell; I don't know if that's one of those music myths or not.

 
I've heard that too. From allmusic.com: "This pensive folk ballad is said to be a tribute to Joni Mitchell, the "girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair," and who "plays guitar and cries and sings."

https://www.allmusic.com/song/going-to-california-mt0010295120
Funny thing about all these songs about heading to California.  In recent decades, large numbers of Californians have been abandoning the state.  

Popularity can destroy the experience.  California is not unique.   
 zubeneschamli wrote:
Preceeded by Joni Mitchell singing "California", two top-notch songs. This is what FM radio in the '70's used to be like, where you'd hear Joni and Zep back-to-back, and RP continues the tradition. 

 
I remember hearing that this song was inspired by Joni Mitchell; I don't know if that's one of those music myths or not.
 scrubbrush wrote:


Does anyone remember laughter?

 
Yeah, and it's not necessarily a good thing...
 scrubbrush wrote:


Does anyone remember laughter?

 
No.  {#No}  {#Lol}
One of my favourite songs to be miserable to when I was sweet sixteen. Still love it. 
 teleskialaska wrote:
This album had such a huge impact on my life. I cannont thank LZ enough for this music.  "It's is not hard, hard, hard as it seems"  Peace!

 

Does anyone remember laughter?
Sublime.
Probably the most important album of my generation.   Yes, more important that than Abbey Road. Beggar's Banquet a close second.   And the best song.  Joni Mitchell is always a good inspiration. 
 PFM wrote:
Wow! Flashback - 1972 Spectrum in Philly

 
WMMR what a radio staion
 moodfood wrote:
what a voice, what a guitar, what a band..{#Notworthy}

 
 {#Yes}
what a voice, what a guitar, what a band..{#Notworthy}
 teleskialaska wrote:
I was 10 when I first heard this, 41 years later I still love this album.

 
Because its the best band that ever existed.
Preceeded by Joni Mitchell singing "California", two top-notch songs. This is what FM radio in the '70's used to be like, where you'd hear Joni and Zep back-to-back, and RP continues the tradition. 
I was 10 when I first heard this, 41 years later I still love this album.
Wow! Flashback - 1972 Spectrum in Philly
 shellbella wrote:
My favorite Zep song....

 

Ditto
My favorite Zep song....
Fantabulistic. 
Everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches loves this song...
 
One of the best from one of the best.
lots of rain today herein the foggy end of the island, cold for June and sometimes straight serious rain... and the music of Joni is perfect, then only made better by Robert and Jimmie           it makes you go inward, and quietly nostalgic, with the pelting rain behind these beauties
“This, and not Stairway to Heaven, is Led Zeppelin's best ”      
This album had such a huge impact on my life. I cannont thank LZ enough for this music.  "It's is not hard, hard, hard as it seems"  Peace!
Superb!
 Hannio wrote:

Actually, I was imputing to Bob a much more deviant intention.  I was thinking of the Simpsons episode where Homer wants to buy illicit fireworks from Apu, but Chief Wiggums walks in during the deal and Homer, off the top of his head, nervously tells Apu he wants some booze, cigarettes, a couple of nudie mags and an enema.  When he gets home Marge looks in the shopping bag and tells him she doesn't know what plans he has for the evening, but he can count her out.
 

One of the best episodes ever!  {#Yes}
I saw Page and Plant in Virginia Beach back in 1998.  The crowd was going insanely wild and rocking with "Led Zeppelin" when they brought out the stools to sit down and play Going to California.  From the first note, the noise from the audience instantly dropped to nothing!  You couldn't have flipped a switch to get people to shut up more quickly.
 cubaninlondon wrote:
{#Angel} I knew it! After Mitchell's California it was only logical to play the Zep's own take on the same state.  
Glad someone else could see a connection!
 Proclivities wrote:

Well, given the well-documented and unbiased evidence that folks who drink beer and/or smoke cigarettes have compulsions to torture birds, I understand your concerns.

 
Actually, I was imputing to Bob a much more deviant intention.  I was thinking of the Simpsons episode where Homer wants to buy illicit fireworks from Apu, but Chief Wiggums walks in during the deal and Homer, off the top of his head, nervously tells Apu he wants some booze, cigarettes, a couple of nudie mags and an enema.  When he gets home Marge looks in the shopping bag and tells him she doesn't know what plans he has for the evening, but he can count her out.
 cubaninlondon wrote:
{#Angel} I knew it! After Mitchell's California it was only logical to play the Zep's own take on the same state. Loved it in my teens and still love in my forties. Plant's voice is surreal.

Greetings from London.
 
And I've read in a piece about Joni {ed.  also in a post from March} that Robert and Jimmy were inspired by her and her writing when they came up with this - one of their most beautiful songs.

The first few seconds (playing at really low volume, I must add to my excuse) had me thinking that this was some acoustic Pearl Jam/Given To Fly cover. Both great songs, but not that similar...
I LOVE this song!!  {#Daisy}
Oh, by the way, Bill, I'm starting to second-guess you. That's not good for a DJ, mate.{#Angel}

Greetings from London.
{#Angel} I knew it! After Mitchell's California it was only logical to play the Zep's own take on the same state. Loved it in my teens and still love in my forties. Plant's voice is surreal.

Greetings from London.
 sirdroseph wrote:
Only a 9 because of hearing too many times over the years. As most Zep, on the face of it though is definitely 10 worthy. I have to reserve the 10 for the Zep songs I don't hear all the time.

 
Yeah, like it's the song's fault.  {#Doh}
"Took my chances on a big jet plane.
Never let them tell you they are all the same"

I think of this lyric every time I go through the process, once joyful, now totally dismal, of boarding a flight.
Sheer brilliance and awesome guitar work,love it!
 mfcrowe wrote:
Had a crush on Joni, loved this song...played it often after each time I got dumped by a lovely lady...still do for all three... spent too many "days with a woman unkind, smoked my stuff and drank all my wine..."
 
hah, brings an old new meaning as this happened to me not too long ago.




This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this spring morning...  love it...

 
Had a crush on Joni, loved this song...played it often after each time I got dumped by a lovely lady...still do for all three... spent too many "days with a woman unkind, smoked my stuff and drank all my wine..."
Maybe one of their best songs!
Blues-Rock supergroup and predeccesors of heavy metal.  But they have enough talent with lyric and instrument to make this special tune — and an entire LZ3 album full of ballads.
 
Wikipedia offers this, which illustrates Bill's mastery of the segue:
The song is reportedly about Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, with whom Plant and Page were both infatuated.  In live performances of the song, Plant would often say the name "Joni" after this stanza (which is thought to have referenced Mitchell's 1967 composition "I Had a King"):

   To find a queen without a king,
   They say she plays guitar and cries and sings.
The Powerful and Almighty Led Zeppelin.
 membeth wrote:
Joni Mitchell's California followed by this made me smile.  Kinda why I heart RP.
 

ditto, cranked up the stereo and enjoyed..
Joni Mitchell's California followed by this made me smile.  Kinda why I heart RP.

Captures the spirit of the lyrics, doesn't it?



Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...


 
Nice transition Bill since this song is about Joni in part I learned recently. Beyond the fact that the music is simply terrific. 
Only a 9 because of hearing too many times over the years. As most Zep, on the face of it though is definitely 10 worthy. I have to reserve the 10 for the Zep songs I don't hear all the time.

 Hannio wrote:
The picture would be a bit more effective without the cig and the booze in his other hand.  As it is, one wonders what plans he has for the poor dove.
 
Well, given the well-documented and unbiased evidence that folks who drink beer and/or smoke cigarettes have compulsions to torture birds, I understand your concerns.

Just one word to describe this song (and the entire album): Godlike!
 Hannio wrote:


The picture would be a bit more effective without the cig and the booze in his other hand.  As it is, one wonders what plans he has for the poor dove.
 
What are you a Puritan?! ...and that ain't booze. It looks like a fine bottle of New Castle Brown Ale to me. Tasty drinkin'

What a great poster. Had it on the wall throughout my college daze (there might have been some booze and cigarettes involved). Good times.



 a-shultz wrote:
Radio Paradise sure plays this one a lot. Good thing it's fantastic. :)
 
THANK YOU RP!
Radio Paradise sure plays this one a lot. Good thing it's fantastic. :)
 Seahunt wrote:
I'm too young to have found this music myself.  It was my older bothers and sisters.  I can't imagine what you thought when this came out.  I can't think of an albumn that I would have crashed my car listening to it the first time because it was so great.  It sounds as good today as ever.
 


"Older bothers and sisters"? Typo...or Freudian slip? ;)
I'm too young to have found this music myself.  It was my older bothers and sisters.  I can't imagine what you thought when this came out.  I can't think of an albumn that I would have crashed my car listening to it the first time because it was so great.  It sounds as good today as ever.
Can you here the Pearl Jam's Given to Fly at the begining? I do :) 
 Cynaera wrote:

Damn, that man could rock a pair of tight jeans.  The cig looks more like a joint. As for the dove?  Not even gonna speculate. If he was Ozzy, I'd be very afraid.

I love this song - this whole album is a 10 (except for "Black Dog," which I've never liked. It seems totally incongruous with the rest of the album mood.)

 
It's a cig. And, in all seriousness, the dove simply flew to him while he was on stage. He has since attempted an explanation by suggesting, "Perhaps it sensed my sincerity." with a little hint of a smirk. {#Roflol}

 Hannio wrote:
The picture would be a bit more effective without the cig and the booze in his other hand.  As it is, one wonders what plans he has for the poor dove.
 
What's wrong with a smoke and a drink?  And dove's good eating.

 Hannio wrote:


The picture would be a bit more effective without the cig and the booze in his other hand.  As it is, one wonders what plans he has for the poor dove.
 
Damn, that man could rock a pair of tight jeans.  The cig looks more like a joint. As for the dove?  Not even gonna speculate. If he was Ozzy, I'd be very afraid.

I love this song - this whole album is a 10 (except for "Black Dog," which I've never liked. It seems totally incongruous with the rest of the album mood.)

If you love this song you must watch this clip . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luDgb5vVHuA&feature=related

Nice to see Jimmy using the acoustic, as he often substituted the electric for it onstage (although maybe not on this song). JPJ on mandolin, I believe.
As sweet a sound as the birds in the trees.

So again you play California by Joni, and I comment to my daughter that Going to California is written in part about Joni, and them presto, Going to California, and then.........  Well, I still don't wonder why there is 70 Gbytes of music on my server unplayed. 
Robert Plant looking at the dove in that way, reminds me of the old joke:

What's the difference between kinky and pervert?
Kinky is when you tickle with a feather.
Pervert is when you use the whole bird.

 helgigermany wrote:

Style of pants still modern!!

 

The blouse too, but not for men... {#Lol}
Pretty nice actually, but then... He goes up with his singing and all i can think is, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!
For that, 3
 Hannio wrote:


The picture would be a bit more effective without the cig and the booze in his other hand.  As it is, one wonders what plans he has for the poor dove.
 
In many an interview he says, to paraphrase, "I squeezed its arse."
What does the cig and beer have to do with the fact that the dove simply flew to him and landed in his hand? {#Eh}
You can buy a homogenized pic with the cig removed if that's yer thing.
I like this Zep tune, cause it's mellow and Robert Plant doesn't croon like a banshee in the.....wait. Scratch that! Oh Well...still a good tune though...
 calypsus_1 wrote: 

The picture would be a bit more effective without the cig and the booze in his other hand.  As it is, one wonders what plans he has for the poor dove.
 calypsus_1 wrote: 
Style of pants still modern!!




Robert Plant with dove by ~Kissa21

1969
I was 13 when I first heard this album. It still makes a real impact for me today. That's 38 years. 

Phew! 
I grew up in northern California and this was one of my first albums.  This song always took me to some better California in my imagination, mostly away from my family.  Look at what music can do.
Alway's one of my favorite Zepplin tunes. It's timeless
Children of the Sun baby ;)
pinklife wrote:
Genie, if you're out there, I still love you. Some nights I dream we are still in your Impala, listening to Zep and running away to the Waffle House to hide out from your dad. I hope you got over, Chica.

WOW! This is right out of the Bruce Springsteen book of song writing!!! {#Lol}
Led Zeppelin - Going To California
Joni Mitchell - California
Bruce Cockburn - Wondering Where the Lions Are

I'm dying of joy here...  don't let it stop.


10 is the highest rating, no?  Okay, so 10 it is...
 ambrebalte wrote:

How much we used to dream on this song. We were 16, in a very small village in the deep country side in France. Each time, listening to this, was like a summer afternoon
The way we envisonned California just, this word, already was beyond reality. It didn't matter so much how reality could be. We just had this image of a place where the sea meets the mountains, blue, where people could dress up as they wanted, where knowing was more important than selling.
Going to California, lying in a field of grass, heads in the clouds, dreaming about the day when we could hit the road, and go there. We did have very clear ideas about what we could do: cabinet maker, carpenter, forest tour guide, organic farming. Yes, that was more than 30 years ago and yet this was the way we imagined "Going to California" We were not just dreaming, most of us were following very traditional and old ways to work wood, glass, forestry. Mostly craftwork.
Each time I hear this song I think about my friends, and I wonder if they still work in these professional areas, if some of them succeeded in reaching their California... I did study companionship in traditonal cabinet making and I worked for 7 years restoring and making old style furniture, and then life decided something different for me.
I am in China now, it's the place where I wanted to go when I was 5. Going to Calichina....
I love this song, very softly, avec tendresse, deeply, and thankfully.
~~~



 
I am simply in awe at how people can pour a little bit of their soul in words as simple as this. Very nice little philosophy of life, Ambrebalte!

Peace{#Good-vibes}

Simply magical...
right on, joni followed up with this, nice touch
 ambrebalte wrote:

How much we used to dream on this song. (see full post below)

 
Beautiful post, ambrebalte. Thanks.  {#Cheers} 

How much we used to dream on this song. We were 16, in a very small village in the deep country side in France. Each time, listening to this, was like a summer afternoon
The way we envisonned California just, this word, already was beyond reality. It didn't matter so much how reality could be. We just had this image of a place where the sea meets the mountains, blue, where people could dress up as they wanted, where knowing was more important than selling.
Going to California, lying in a field of grass, heads in the clouds, dreaming about the day when we could hit the road, and go there. We did have very clear ideas about what we could do: cabinet maker, carpenter, forest tour guide, organic farming. Yes, that was more than 30 years ago and yet this was the way we imagined "Going to California" We were not just dreaming, most of us were following very traditional and old ways to work wood, glass, forestry. Mostly craftwork.
Each time I hear this song I think about my friends, and I wonder if they still work in these professional areas, if some of them succeeded in reaching their California... I did study companionship in traditonal cabinet making and I worked for 7 years restoring and making old style furniture, and then life decided something different for me.
I am in China now, it's the place where I wanted to go when I was 5. Going to Calichina....
I love this song, very softly, avec tendresse, deeply, and thankfully.
~~~



Drake and then Led Zeppelin, successive gods !!

Always liked this song.  Great album too.

It does not get much better than this!!!
{#Sunny}
Beautiful......just beautiful{#Notworthy}