That's the Way (Led Zeppelin song)

"That's the Way" is a ballad by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their third album, Led Zeppelin III, released in 1970. As with several of the tracks on the album, it is an acoustic song.

"That's the Way"
Song by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin III
Released5 October 1970 (1970-10-05)
FormatLP record
StudioIsland, London
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Producer(s)Jimmy Page


Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote the piece in 1970 on a retreat at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage, Wales.[1] Page noted that the two developed it and recorded a rough demo after a long walk before they returned to the cottage.[2]

The original working title of the song was "The Boy Next Door".[3] On the surface, the lyrics are about one boy's parents being against a friendship with another boy due to his long hair and coming from the wrong side of town.[4] It also reflects on the group's early American tours, when they were sometimes harassed for their appearance.[1]

Instrumentation for the song is spare, consisting of a strummed twelve-string acoustic guitar, with overdubbed mandolin and steel guitar fills; percussion and bass are absent from much of the song until the instrumental outro.[3]


In a contemporary review of Led Zeppelin III, Lester Bangs of Rolling Stone describes "That's the Way" as the first Led Zeppelin song that has ever truly moved him.[4] Bangs praises the understated, but effective acoustic guitar and vocal approach.[4] In a later review for AllMusic, Denise Sullivan calls it "one of Led Zeppelin's most beautiful ballads (in the true tradition of the folk ballad)".[3]

Live performancesEdit

"That's the Way" was played live at Led Zeppelin concerts from 1970 through 1972, and was recalled for their series of concerts at Earls Court in 1975. Live versions of the song can also be found on How the West Was Won, the BBC Sessions and the Led Zeppelin DVD. The song was always performed half a step higher than the studio version, and the bass part at the end was always played by John Paul Jones on bass pedals. In 1994, Page and Plant also released a version on the No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded CD and DVD.

Cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ a b Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  2. ^ Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 1-85797-930-3, p. 53.
  3. ^ a b c Sullivan, Denise. "Led Zeppelin: That's the Way"". AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Bangs, Lester (26 November 1970). "Led Zeppelin III". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 August 2017.

External linksEdit