What Jimmy Page Discovered on a Missing ‘Early’ Demo Tape of ‘The Rain Song’

In 1973, Led Zeppelin released a ballad called “The Rain Song.” The song was included on the band’s fifth studio album, Houses of the Holy. In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page revealed that he once found an old demo copy of “The Rain Song.”

A black-and-white photo of Jimmy Page playing guitar
Jimmy Page | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin released ‘The Rain Song’ in 1973

Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham formed Led Zeppelin in 1968. After multiple years together, the group disbanded in 1980 following Bonham’s death.

The band’s fifth studio album Houses of the Holy was released in March 1973. “The Rain Song” is the second song on the album’s tracklist.

A ballad, “The Rain Song” is over seven minutes long. Led Zeppelin also decided to make the song because of George Harrison, a member of the popular band the Beatles.

According to the biography Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page, Harrison told Bonham that Led Zeppelin never wrote ballads. This prompted Led Zeppelin to try and prove Harrison wrong, resulting in the creation of “The Rain Song.”

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Jimmy Page found a copy of ‘The Rain Song’

In 2020, Page was interviewed by Rolling Stone about his work with Led Zeppelin and his career. During the interview, Page revealed that he found an “early” copy of “The Rain Song.”

“I recently found a really early [personal demo] tape that had been missing for a long while, but it’s got the full orchestration of ‘Rain Song.’ It goes all through to the very end, the same way that you know it, even with the bit in the middle where it goes a bit heavier, before it goes back to the light and caressing parts,” Page said.

He continued, “It’s all in there, the Mellotron and everything. And it’s not played as well, like the John Paul Jones version, because I knew he could do a really good job on it. But it’s there, every part of it, every phrase is there, slightly different. And then you hear things that didn’t get used.”

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Why Jimmy Page found a tape of ‘The Rain Song’

Over the years, Page has overseen multiple projects remastering and re-releasing Led Zeppelin’s music. When asked by Rolling Stone if revisiting Led Zeppelin’s discography changed his perspective, Page had a short answer.

“No. Only how good it was in the first place,” he replied.

When pressed, Page expanded on his answer.

“This is a hard one to believe, but it’s true: When I had all these quarter-inch tapes, which were sort of reference tapes, I had all these different versions of things, such as different takes of when someone was doing overdubs. All I knew about each tape was the title and the date it was made. But I knew what was coming on each one. It was really weird. It was like a DNA imprint,” Page told Rolling Stone.

Thanks to Page going through Led Zeppelin’s discography, he was able to find a piece of history with the tape of “The Rain Song.”

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