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Led Zeppelin — Going To California
Album: Led Zeppelin IV
Avg rating:
8.5

Your rating:
Total ratings: 4251









Released: 1971
Length: 3:30
Plays (last 30 days): 2
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 (320)add comment
For those of us who are of a certain vintage in age this is the soundtrack of our lives. 
Is it wrong if this is one of my very favorite Led Zeppelin songs ever?
Just did so: moved back to northern Germany, to the country between the seas. And it works!
I always love it when I hear the first few seconds of a song and glance at the playlist and have it right.
When we were 14 years old, I loved Robert and my friend loved Jimmy so no fighting over things !!
Astounding track from one of their best albums 10 plus
 WBOB wrote:

Saw the 1973 tour in Chicago. Still ranks #1 with me. Lousy venue, no fancy stage effects, just great music.



Ha - My very first concert!
 calypsus_1 wrote:

where's the drooly emoticon? mmm   

nice segue from Ludovico Einaudi's Experience.
This brings back memories. I first heard this album when I was 15, had recently started high school, and started spending more time with a friend who not only had an awesome record collection, but had long blonde hair, blue eyes, and was a girl. Take me back...
The memories. High school daze in S. Fla. Before Florida went bonkers. I rarely give a 10. I had it as a solid "9", also a rarity. But when RP played it back to back, it was a sign from the R&R gods that it should be a "10".



One of Radio Paradise's most popular songs. Would be nice to see statistics.  How many at each major ranking. A list of most popular.
 shackatoa1 wrote:


Oh yeahhhh. Takes me way back.


Dressed left, as usual! 
 mfassett wrote:
freddyfender wrote: Actually, Mike Nesmith was QUITE a guitar player. Yea, the rest of the guys not so much... but sweeping generalizations generally get you into trouble. :) Also, they did write some of their songs, albeit not the ones during the height of their popularity. That said, there are plenty of amazing musicians who never wrote a song and whose only instrument is their voice. Does that make them bad? Anyway, on topic... this song by Zep will always be special to me, because we listened it knowing we were, indeed, "goin' to California" on our way from Michigan. I'm the only one who never went back.

I saw the Monkees in Wembley, London, back in late 60's - they played their own instruments and sang and they were excellent.  Lulu was their support.  Lovely show.

But back to Led Zep - I saw them many times in the Midlands (Birmingham and surrounding  area) when they were starting out in mid-late 60's/early 70's - a time  that I have never forgotten.  Just wish  I'd have made it to California.  ☮️ 

 I'd really love a magic carpet to take me back .... awesome times, awesome music. 

Perfection.
I always wish this track, when played on RP, was always followed by the next track on Zep IV. Just like you guys do with Floyds' Time & The Great Gig In The Sky combination. It's the way it was meant to be heard (in my head).
I'm always just a little tiny bit disappointed when it doesn't happen. 
Is that just me? 
 SchoepTone wrote:

Zeppelin's acoustic music is, in many ways, their best stuff.




Yes. I agree.
Joni is 78 now and still amazing.
 timmus wrote:

Man, so much amazing music made from 1970 to 1972.


Or, let's say '64 to '75 . . .
And lots of great stuff before and after.   ; )
Zeppelin's acoustic music is, in many ways, their best stuff.
 calypsus_1 wrote:

Oh yeahhhh. Takes me way back.
Godlike and spliff like✌️
 scrubbrush wrote:


My mom had that same blouse!


Non-binary before there was a word for it?
Man, so much amazing music made from 1970 to 1972.
 calypsus_1 wrote:

My mom had that same blouse!
A dear friend of mine who was one of my two best men at my wedding loved this song. He always aspired to move to California… Unfortunately he never achieved that goal and died before his 35th birthday. Thank you RP for playing this, it always reminds me of my dear friend Dave, RIP, I hope you found your California in the next life.
https://youtu.be/J8WpL5eHFkM
 secretsauce wrote:


As that's a reference to the picture of Plant with the dove ... is the 'yummy' referring to what Plant is wearing, or what he is thinking?


Doves are delicious. No, they really are. Trust me, I've eaten dozens.
 pigtail wrote:
yummy


As that's a reference to the picture of Plant with the dove ... is the 'yummy' referring to what Plant is wearing, or what he is thinking?
♥️
 calypsus_1 wrote:
 

OMG   Perfeciton 
 max_p wrote:
sounds like the writer may have experienced a lil Cali  earthquake.
 
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this song, drawing inspiration from Joni Mitchell, specifically her song "California." Mitchell lived in the musically fertile but earthquake-prone Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles; "California" finds her recalling her adventures on a trip to Europe but looking forward to a return home. In "Going To California," Plant plays the part of a guy who's looking to leave his no-good woman behind and make a fresh start in California.

Page and Plant were both enthralled by Joni Mitchell's songwriting; in "Going To California," the guy in the song is looking for a girl just like her, one with "love in her eyes and flowers in her hair" who "plays guitar and cries and sings." This was one of the songs Led Zeppelin played during acoustic sets at their concerts from 1971-1977. Plant would sometimes say the word "Joni" after the line, "She plays guitar and cries and sings."

There is some earthquake imagery with the line, "The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake." When Jimmy Page and Andy Johns flew to Los Angeles to mix the album on February 9, 1971, the area was still feeling aftershocks from the Sylmar earthquake, which hit that morning in the San Fernando Valley. Page got a little freaked out, and insisted on mixing "Going To California" last in case the song somehow conjured tremors.

https://www.songfacts.com/fact...
Lovely song. Nm more words..!!
thank you for playing music that sparkles with original thought.    
D major to minor and back. Page is a god
A stand out. A brilliant
ode to Laurel Canyon, Joni Mitchell and other beautiful people, places and things.
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.


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?


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!