The Ocean (song)

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The Ocean
Appears on Houses of the Holy
Published by Superhype Music
Registration ASCAP 450101292
Release date 18 March 1973
Recorded May 1972 at
Stargroves with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.
Mixed at Electric Lady, New York.
Genre Hard rock
Language English
Length 4 minutes 28 seconds
Composer John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Label Atlantic Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Eddie Kramer

'The Ocean' is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, from their 1973 album Houses of the Holy. 'The Ocean' refers to the sea of fans seen from the stage at Led Zeppelin concerts, to whom this song was dedicated.[1]


The intro and chorus (the main riff) of this song are done in an alternating 4/4 and 7/8 beat, and the song is in a 4/4 beat in the verses and the latter part of the song. The end of the song is 12/8. The voice on the intro is drummer John Bonham. The lead into the song begins, 'We've done four already but now we're steady, and then they went 1, 2, 3, 4!' At approximately 1:37-1:38 into the song and again at around 1:41, a telephone can be faintly heard ringing in the background. Some speculate that this was intentional - the sheet music (printed after the fact) that accompanies the CD box set has the word 'ring' printed twice above the percussion tab of this song. Others are of the opinion that while Led Zeppelin recorded the song a ringing phone was accidentally captured in the mix.

In the last line, the 'Girl who won my heart' is a reference to Robert Plant's daughter Carmen, (born 21 November 1968), who was three years old at the time of recording. In concert, Plant always updated the lyric to reflect her current age, as captured on the Led Zeppelin DVD which features the band's performance of the song at Madison Square Garden in 1973. The band first played this song live on their 1972 U.S. concert tour and it remained as part of their live performances until their 1973 U.S. tour. It was deleted from their set list thereafter.[2]

This is one of the few Led Zeppelin songs in which it is possible to hear the squeak of John Bonham's bass drum pedal in the studio, the others being 'Since I've Been Loving You' from 1970's Led Zeppelin III, 'Ten Years Gone' from 1975's Physical Graffiti, and 'Bonzo's Montreux' from 1982's Coda.

The hard rock song unwinds to a coda consisting of a guitar solo and a doo-wop homage. Though barely audible due to all the guitar overdubs, during the last minute or so John Paul Jones and John Bonham sing, as they harmonize the 'doo-wop' phrase. During this part, Plant can softly be heard singing something along the lines of 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, yeah!' (Or 'I'm so, I'm so, I'm so glad!')

Chart positions

Chart (1973) Peak position
German Singles Chart[3] 8


  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, backing vocals
    • John Bonham - drums, percussion, backing vocals
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Andy Johns – engineer, mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)


  1. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 65. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 65. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Top 100 Singles - 16 July 1973. Retrieved on 2009-01-19.