Performer: Led Zeppelin
Songwriters: John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page
Original Release: Led Zeppelin
Definitive Version: The studio version with bowed guitar.
As fate would have it, I ended up living with one of the guys who used to drive me nuts my freshman year at Wabash with his endless renditions of Eight Days a Week. We decided to be off-campus roomies our senior year, and considering I was from Columbus, and he was just up the road in Delaware, it made sense.
It turns out our musical tastes complimented each other pretty well. There was little overlap—even on the stuff that we liked. Case in point, I had Led Zeppelin IV, Physical Graffitti and Song Remains the Same. He had Led Zeppelin I, II and III and In Through the Out Door.
Matt taught me a basic philosophy towards life and music and one I’ve passed along a few times when appropriate. Matt used to say, “When the women don’t understand, Led understands.” Absolutely right, and this is one of several songs that fits that tenet.
We weren’t really friends when our senior-year odyssey began in August 1985, but we were the best of friends by the time graduation rolled around, and we continue to be friends, although we don’t have as much contact as we used to since I moved to Chicago. Matt really helped me when I needed it in the spring of 1986.
I never went anywhere over spring break. I had Beth, and obviously, I wasn’t going to be able to take Beth with me to Florida, so I went home each year.
But Spring Break my senior year was going to involve a very unpleasant task—one that I will recount at a separate time—and I needed a diversion. Even though Beth was there, I didn’t want to go home given the nature of what was coming. So Matt suggested I go with him to visit his mom in Knoxville, Tenn., for a few days. She was studying for her Ph.D. at Rocky Top, and Matt was going to go see her and then swing over to North Carolina to visit one of his brothers.
It was no drunken beach orgy in Fort Lauderdale, but it sounded great to me. Before we left, we made a couple of tapes for the drive, with this song being one of them. We took Matt’s dog, Ziggy (as in Ziggy Stardust) who had become the house dog and one of the campus dogs, and I would take Ziggy with me to Columbus and then back to Wabash.
We spent a couple days in Knoxville. One day, we went to Oak Ridge, where they developed The Bomb, and we saw this crazy sci-fi movie called the Quiet Earth. (Check it out if you haven’t seen it.) But generally we just hung out, watched TV and drank Killians (one of my go-to beers), which was what I was looking for.
Finally it was time to do what I had to do, so I piled Ziggy and her stuff into my car and off I went—the dread building with each passing mile.