"That's the Way" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their third album, Led Zeppelin III, released in 1970. Like several of the tracks on the album, it is an acoustic song and is particularly noted as being one of the most gentle and mellow compositions in the entire Led Zeppelin catalogue. The studio version features Jimmy Page playing acoustic guitar in open G tuning, and pedal steel, while John Paul Jones plays mandolin. There is almost no presence of drums or bass guitar on the track, and light tambourine is added towards the end of the song.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this in 1970 whilst on a retreat at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage, Wales. They took a long walk with a guitar and tape recorder, sat down in a ravine, and composed the song. When onstage for Page and Plant's Unledded reunion in 1994, Plant announced to the audience that Page's daughter, Scarlet Page, was conceived "about half an hour" after "That's the Way" was written. Page's partner, Charlotte Martin, was staying at Bron-Yr-Aur at the time with Page, along with Plant's wife Maureen and their own child Carmen.
The original working title of the song was "The Boy Next Door". As is pointed out in Stephen Davis's biography of Led Zeppelin, Hammer of the Gods, the song's lyrics reflected Plant's views on the ecology and environment. There are also several lines in the song which reflected on the way Led Zeppelin was sometimes treated in America during their early concert tours, when they were sometimes spat on, had guns drawn on them and were heckled at airports and on planes. They were also troubled about the violence that they had seen policemen visit upon youth who protested the war in Vietnam, as well as upon the fans at their shows, particularly during their Spring 1970 Tour of the United States:
I can't believe what people saying, you're gonna let your hair hang down, I'm satisfied to sit here working all day long, you're in the darker side of town.
"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 Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions and the Led Zeppelin DVD. The song was always performed half a step higher than the studio version. In 1994 Page and Plant also released a version on the No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded CD and DVD.
This was one of the few songs in their catalogue that Led Zeppelin authorized for use on a film soundtrack. After seeing a rough cut of Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous in 2000, Page and Plant agreed to let him use some Led Zeppelin songs on it, but this is the only one which made it onto soundtrack. Other Led Zeppelin songs which can be heard in the movie are "Tangerine" "The Rain Song" "Bron-Yr-Aur" and "Misty Mountain Hop"
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