The TRUTH Behind Led Zeppelin: When The Levee Breaks

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|Jake|C| : A game of telephone put to rest, really interesting video.

David Ryder : You're encouraging people not to just repeat stuff they hear on social media, but rather go out and research first to ensure accuracy? The internet would implode, dude.

Charlie Zxi : Okay, Rick, fair enough. Could you please tell us, though- Where’s that confounded bridge?

Doggy : The microphones dipped in unicorn tears sounds way more plausible to me. You are wrong Rick Beato!

Anthony Sacco : As a DJ on a classic rock station in the 1990's, I once got a request phone call from a guy who wanted to hear this particular great tune, as it was the perfect song to "cook spaghetti to".......

*TheVoxOfReason* : You're all wrong. Bonzo recorded the drums in Valhalla using Thor's hammer, beating on the hulls of Viking long boats.

trev dowson : Best drum sound ever, the legend of the myth continues.

Joe 30 pack : I heard Shelia E was backing him up with a Ludwig kit bought on Craigslist and was just a tick behind, thus the echo.

SpikeFlea : LOL, well, you just unveiled and laid out the utter idiocy of social media and its partakers. Congrats! “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” - Bertrand Russell

Sean Bowen : Regardless of how it was recorded, when my band plays it live I "play" the echoes in the intro so the crowd recognizes the song. 🤘🏼🤘🏼

FreddysFrets : Also, just the fact that the echo is about 225 ms would mean if it was a natural time delay in a room the mics would have to be about 250 feet from the source.

Bigsurjay : Yeah, but the mics were definitely dipped in unicorn tears.

Leandro Astori : You can try to reply, in the same place, whit the same drums, but nobody is bonzo, nobody sounds like the hammer of the gods

Mac Anoodough : Andy has a history of taking credit for stuff and being at odds with Jimmy over his feeling that he should have been given Producer credit when Jimmy maintains he did nothing more than engineer. But Andy never said no when Jimmy wanted to use him as an engineer, so obviously he never wanted to test the waters of whether he was needed or not. And while you criticize others for repeating what they heard, that's all you are doing. Talking to Drummers and Andy and whoever else. The fact is, Andy produced a lot of albums, none of them are classics and none of them have any particular quality that sets them apart from a lot of other albums.The albums he worked on that are of Mythic status with amazing quality were all Mythic status bands or artists and in LZ's case, artists known for mixing their own sound. It stands to reason that if Andy was the guy he claims to be, you would expect the albums he produced to eclipse the one's he merely engineered. But, not in a single case is that true and he's been producing and engineering for in same time frame. Andy worked on all LZ's albums except Led Zeppelin, Presence and ITTOD. So you are not answering anything, but fueling the debate because you also, were not there. But you choose to believe Andy because you are an engineer yourself. I believe Robert and Jimmy who say Bonzo went down the pub whilst Andy set up his kit in the hall because it was new and just delivered. You say you talked to the guy who recorded it, the people you are trolling in this video are all listening to the guys who were there as well. The only thing you are right about is nobody denies delay was used. Obviously the acoustics of the hall assisted in getting that sound, but I never heard anyone say it was all natural. And your Pepsi challenge is an epic fail. You basically disproved your own argument that the stairwell was not a factor.The last bit that shows Andy is a liar is that using 2 or 3 mics specially placed is his brothers technique, Glyn Johns, who the technique is named after. And, who's in the Hall of Fame, Andy or Glyn? And if it were just mic placement and delay, there'd be a lot more examples of this drum sound than there are currently. That's just common sense. And I'm not doing this to pick on you, just saying maybe before you go and repeat what you heard, you should seek out the information that's already out there.

JP VanDërBilt : Rick Beato makes a small error when he implies that Page was too big at this point to stoop to sound engineering tasks like setting up mics. Yes, Page obviously had a sound engineer working for him, but Page was 3 things: 1) an amazing guitarist, 2) an amazing songwriter, and 3) an amazing sound engineer. Page was a control freak on audio quality and technique, and he was directing Andy Johns as to what & how & where. Was it Andy Johns actual fingers that were placing the mics? Yes, of course, but so what. It was Page’s ear, Page’s techniques and Page’s direction that Andy Johns was following. In the Andy Johns clip, does he sound like he’s taking most of the credit? Of course, that’s what people do. But go back and read Page biographies and interviews, he was obsessed with sound engineering and had more experience (and a better ear) than most actual engineers.

Max D : Correction Rick. It's a little known fact, but Bonham's drums on When The Levee Breaks were actually recorded on the Moon with the mics set up in the fourth and fifth dimensions to create that famous sound. At least that's what my buddy's stoner cousin's uncle's cat said.

Chad Johnson : I heard “In the air tonight” was about a guy that drowned a friend of Phil Collins in front of him at a beach when Phil was a kid!

toddvandell85 : Kinda like the urban legend regarding Bonzo's drums on "D'yer Maker" which appeared in several rock magazines and various interviews with sound engineers who claimed they set up John's kit in a cave with this really lovely echo and a few mics and away he went. Just based on this video, I imagine it was the Binson Echoec (which sure looks an awful lot like the old Echoplex tape repeat echo) in reality yet again. Maybe it isn't an urban legend after all. Maybe they did crawl into a cave and set the drums up in there and record them in there. But in reality? It was probably a lot more mundane location than a cave. That Binson sure does make things sound like a cave. Even though it probably was not.

mrytb : Another little known fact is that the original recording was played faster....It was slowed down a whole tone, From G down to F. Notice the open G slide guitar tuning is now F. The "C" harmonica played blues cross-style for G is now Bb for F. This has a powerful effect on the groove. You can speed it up to its original key and listen to it.... It will sound strange.

Alex Olvera : dude...you should explain politics.....heck, the meaning of life.....j/k...good job

Good Comment Man : This is what you call a “mic drop” moment by Rick. :) Great stuff as usual.

A Smith : Wait--you mean internet commenters don't always know all the details?

Jeffrey Graves : No, I think Jimmy Page dipped the microphones in the Devil's piss while they where having a drink, that's why the drums sound so good.

Robert Frias : Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. - Plato

Matt Coyte : Nice one RB. I'm a drummer. Totally agree that it's always sounded like an echo applied to mix. Yet I've heard many people delve into stairwell stories to explain this sound. Two things. One, people tend to conflate reverb and echo, and to be fair, in the natural world these phenomena are both created by the same thing; the interaction of sound waves with ambient object. But... I haven't heard a real echo that could retain so much of the original sound. The stairwell/lobby/big-space is giving the reverb and the delay is applied by a box that records and plays back the sound (which naturally was analogue at that time). And Two, there IS a double in the groove. I think if it where played without a double it would more clearly be an applied-echo sound to an untrained ear. There's something about the sound of a triple, with it's hit>mix>echo against other hit>echo ('fake' doubles) that helps play around with what you perceive as an echo (and no-doubt helps it sound awesome).

BD : And on this episode of MythBusters...

Marrowbones : As a harp player, I have found replicating the harmonica sound in this song to also be difficult. I was playing from the time I was 12 in 1964 and learned playing along along with The Yardbirds and other bands. I can still do the studio version of Rollin' and Tumblin" from the Fresh Cream album exactly. But the great sound of the harp on that song is elusive. I once came close when I found a small underpass by the Sacramento River in Sutterville (mystery there) that provided a great echo effect and used to go there to play until the cops told me to stop. If you know a harp guy who would like to discuss this part of the song, I'd enjoy it, too.

David Mohr : Great job Brother love history like this :-)

BIG Stick : Strange as it may sound and I'm a Zeppelin head from the first time i saw them in concert. When The Levee Breaks is one of my favorite of all Zeppelin songs hands down. I don't know why but it just one of those songs that never gets old and is pure and haunting. It was the perfect last track to a stunning album. As my friend would put it "It was Zeppelins Dark Side Of the Moon".

John Stitt : Sorry Rick, mics dipped in Unicorn tears I says.....lolol

Robert Houtsch : Wait... no unicorn tears? I signed up for unicorn tears, damnit :(

Rich Florio : Page didn't wanna take away from the legend of Bonham so that's why he never admitted they used artificial echo on Levee. Certainly that great staircase at Headley added to the sound but Glynn Johns is not lying either... they used the Binson on it. None of it subtracts from Bonzo's playing of course, nor should it affect his legendary status.

joey ramirez : THE question: why can't all you expert-jizbags just STF up and enjoy the gifted talent that anyone can hear? Like trekkers arguing which season the Romulans came about. Fucksake, why parse stuff down to something that doesn't matter? Nobody is impressed or could care less. The real conundrum is why that guy in the pajama top has black hair but an old face? Like Tom Selleck or Manafort, don't they have mirrors? Beardo here and Pagey just go with the clock and let time rock. Bonham used an Xbox anyway.

Kevin Stailey : I have to say thank you, When I first heard this song many years ago I thought he was simply doing his double punch off the Bass Drum, I mean he does this all the time, triplets, even quads. I felt like this was an echo somehow simply due to the lower volume unlike the next phrase which is clearly a double- In any case, not having any 'devices' I learned to hit the Bass twice with the second punch at a lower velocity - Works for me and still do it to this day. I also taught myself, I guess the more difficult way of playing their music, since I have never had any effects - just me and my kit - (BTW I was drumming way back in the mid seventies before the "Rumornet" was in existence - just me and my ears)So I am the benefactor of hearing what I heard and learning to play it that way. I will admit though that starting in 1980 I ran the overhead microphones through a Phase Shifter and Reverb - Today I get the sounds from the onboard effects in my mixer. I listened to The Song Remains The Same (Soundtrack . Not the Movie), and was fascinated with the effects during Whole Lotta Love and Dazed and Confused - So, now that you know, I have been playing Achilles Last Stand since, God, forever, and have learned to ply those doubles and triples without effects, Pretty sure he is too - But enlighten me please ???

99beatmonster : I'm loving your work here. I'm a drummer, I met Bonham when I was playing a Hotel gig in 79, he and his family were staying over and I was in the unenviable position of playing MOR pop before a rock god on my first pro gig...a little scary ?? Not really, because in the end he was cool with me. I think he'd had a few drinks...but he treated me with respect & he seemed happy. It's interesting to see how folks just know they are correct about something...because they heard it elsewhere. I'm enjoying a lot of your videos... Holdsworth / drum tuning tips etc. good stuff. cheers from the UK.

les boothe : At some point people might just realize that Mr. Beato knows what he is talking about.

Abraham Esparza : Pearl Jam Immortality

Rogerio Ferrari : Mystery solved!

Rob Robbins : Here is another bit of info. The track was originally recorded in the key of G and the tape was slowed down to make the key on the record F.

Ed Young : Well done Sir!

MJ Snosk8er : First video in the MixBusters series! More plz...

Mario Zoisl : You're no Bonham and I'm no Beato

D Sicilia : Finally the truth :)

Joe Loschiavo : Does anyone hear the clarinet solo - I read it on a clarinet forum Rick is The Man

Soul Younes : I never said or known that claim you just debunked, cause I never went that technical about recording techniques, all I knew was that the positioning of the drums in that stairwell, gave it a distinctive sound, that you simply can't recreate in a studio, and you can't argue with that. You can't argue the effect of the surrounding environment on the music recorded.

Tracy Street : I love that the air was cleared about this because I had read many interviews with Page talking how they achieved this and never mentioned the echo device. Good to know. But with that being said I don't think anyone was actually saying Page set up the mics, he talked saying, "We set up mics," meaning the guys recording the album. And page might have been there saying move this or that, but I don't think anyone of those comments was someone saying Page set them up. Like I said I'm glad you cleared that up. Here's a new one, how did the song Rebel Rouser get recorded. I heard they used a huge gas or oil tank and lowered the guitar amp in it. Did they, or was this another time when we didn't get the full story, or the right story?

Gerry Berry : That was a pretty good impression of “Leevee....”

WhiteFeather : Larry Silverstein "Just Pull it". A man that has to be questioned about 911. He knew....

Adrian Prophett : Those Rok Gods Of yesterday year Are still Here ...may not be here as Izzy... but Here in the After life Eygypt had a Tring to the Thing That makes us to this Present Day THINK.

Simon Taylor : Who cares, just enjoy the music