The 50 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs
Guitar World presents a critical analysis of Led Zeppelin's 50 best tracks.
44. “Friends” (Led Zeppelin III)
As mentioned earlier, Page employed the same open C6 tuning on this song that he used on “Bron-Yr-Aur” (low to high, C A C G C E), again employing the open strings as drones to create a mesmerizing, hypnotic effect.
In this case, Jimmy is strumming heartily with the pick, as opposed to fingerpicking, and plays double-stop figures against ringing open notes to create hauntingly beautiful melodies, making extensive use of the exotic-sounding sharp-four interval (Fs in this case), as well as the bluesy flat-three (Ef) and Arabic-flavored flat-nine (Df), conjuring an intriguing East-meets-West kind of vibe.
As he later did in “The Rain Song” and “Kashmir,” the guitarist moves a compact two-finger chord shape up and down the fretboard, played in conjunction with ringing open strings, in this case to craft an enigmatic-sounding octave-doubled countermelody to Plant’s vocals. As a finishing touch, a string ensemble, arranged by Jones, was brought into the studio to double and dramatically reinforce the countermelody.
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