Photo: Robert Knight / Retna
When we heard that Led Zeppelin has finally licensed their songs as ringtones, it marked the end of a long period of darkness. Long have we trolled the back alleys of rock looking for the right tone. And though Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” was satisfying, it lacked a certain amount of — how can we put this politely? We can’t — balls. Now that Zep has finally uncorked the lid on its digital stinginess, we’re coming in from the cold.
Choosing the right Zep tone, though, posed a serious challenge. Clearly we would not choose The Song That Really Should Not Be Named; far too many dudes will be buying a stairway to heaven anytime someone calls. Nor could our choice be as obvious as “Kashmir” or “Immigrant Song.” Not that having “Immigrant Song” as a ringtone wouldn’t be the greatest thing ever, since clearly it would be, but maybe we don’t want the hammer of the gods driving our ships to new lands as frequently as all that.
What about a workhorse like “Communication Breakdown” or “Dazed and Confused”? But here we got a little hung up on Robert Plant’s voice. Plant is to Zep as Thomas Jefferson is to Mount Rushmore: timeless and formidable, but a weak link nevertheless. We needed a ringtone easy on Plant and heavy on the rest of the lads.
After a confusing period where we thought we’d end up going for something esoteric, like “Trampled Underfoot,” we finally settled on “Bring It on Home.” Can you hear it? First there’s the top riff, then a mighty god named John Bonham enters the room with two thunderclaps upon the snare, then Jimmy Page favors us with unison melody over the riff. And with that, the whole song ascends onto a plain of noise nirvana unmatched by any foursome in the history of music itself. And the most amazing thing about it is how Plant is there the whole time, in the negative space. You can almost hear his haunting voice coming in at the pickup — just out of earshot — though he’s not actually in the ringtone at all. Call us! —Pete Brush
Pete’s Ringtone: “Bring It on Home,” by Led Zeppelin