Led Zeppelin has a lengthy discography of heavy, hard-hitting rock ballads. While the band is no more, millions of lucky fans in the 1970s were able to witness the band play live. However, Led Zeppelin did not perform every track they released, and a few songs never made it on any concert setlist. Here are 5 Led Zeppelin songs the band never performed live.
‘Fool in the Rain’
“Fool in the Rain” suffered from poor timing as it was the last single released in the U.S. by Led Zeppelin before the band disbanded after drummer John Bonham’s death. The single peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and was included on the album In Through the Out Door.
Led Zeppelin never performed this song live. However, lead singer Robert Plant teamed up with Pearl Jam in 2005 and performed this track at a Hurricane Katrina benefit in Chicago’s House of Blues. So, it may not have gotten the full Zeppelin treatment, but Plant did bring it to the stage in the future.
‘Living Loving Maid’
“Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” debuted on 1969’s Led Zeppelin II. The song also was released as a single in the U.S. as the B-side to “Whole Lotta Love”. The track was written about a groupie who followed and annoyed the band in their early days. While the track fits nicely on Led Zeppelin II, flowing seamlessly into “Heartbreaker.”
However, this song didn’t perform great on the charts, and it’s one of Jimmy Page’s least favorite Led Zeppelin songs, so the band never played it live. However, Plant did perform it on his 1990 tour.
One of Led Zeppelin’s most conflicting songs, “D’yer Mak’er” was the band’s attempt at recreating a reggae song. The title is a play on Robert Plant’s joke on how people with cockney accents might pronounce “Jamaica”. According to author Dave Lewis, bassist John Paul Jones wasn’t a fan of the track, calling it a joke that never should have left the studio.
The song’s offbeat tempo comes from Bonham attempting to create a reggae sound that blends with Zeppelin’s hard rock. However, the sound became hard to replicate, leading to the band never performing this song live. It wasn’t one of their biggest hits anyways, and many fans have conflicting opinions on it today.
‘Tea for One’
Robert Plant wrote the lyrics to “Tea for One” as a blues number that reflected his loneliness while on the road. The track debuted on 1976’s Presence, and is a favorite for many Led Zeppelin fans. While the band never played this full song live, the introductory riff for “Tea for One” would sometimes make its way into sets. It’s unclear why they never played the full version, but it could be because Page was “frightened” by its guitar solo.
We did two takes in the end, one with a guitar solo and one without,” Page explained in a 1977 Trouser Press interview. “I ended up sitting there thinking, ‘I’ve got this guitar solo to do,’ because there have been blues guitar solos since Eric (Clapton) on Five Live Yardbirds and everyone’s done a good one. I was really a bit frightened of it. I thought, “What’s to be done?” I didn’t want to blast out the solo like a locomotive or something, because it wasn’t conductive to the vibe of the rest of the track.”
The members of Led Zeppelin were genius musicians, but “Four Sticks” stumped them. According to Jones, Bonham attempted to play the 1971 song while holding two sticks in each hand. Unfortunately, he struggled to get it right, and the band would have had a difficult time recreating it on any stage. Page added it to a list of songs Led Zeppelin would avoid performing.
Led Zeppelin has plenty of iconic songs, but a few never made their way to the stage. Some were misfires that they didn’t like, while others were too complicated to perform live. Still, they could fill their setlists with enough hits to satisfy audiences.