September 1973: Led Zeppelin Releases "D'yer Mak'er"

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 03: Rock band 'Led Zeppelin' performs onstage at the Forum on June 3, 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (L-R) Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, John Bonham. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Led Zeppelin was never a big singles band. Jimmy Page and company helped usher in the era of "album oriented rock" (AOR), where a band's most popular songs could (and often were) much longer and more elaborate than a typical three and a half minute single.

RELATED: February 1972: Led Zeppelin Releases "Rock and Roll"

The band, did, however, release the occasional single throughout their storied career. In 1973, Led Zeppelin issued two singles from the band's fifth studio album, Houses of the Holy: "Over the Hills and Far Away," in May 1973, and "D'yer Mak'er," on September 17, 1973.

Let's look back at this classic (and divisive) Led Zeppelin track, "D'yer Mak'er," with five fun facts.

D'yer Mak'er


1. The song is pronounced "Jamaica"
For years, American rock radio DJs were known for called the tune "dire maker." In 2005, radio DJ legend Mike Halloran interviewed Robert Plant, and had him clarify the actual pronunciation of the song title. Plant explained how it came from an old English joke: Person A: "My wife's gone to the West Indies." Person B: "Jamaica?" Person A: "No, she went of her own accord."

2. All four members of Led Zeppelin are credited as songwriters on the track
The band's bassist, John Paul Jones, was famously known for not being a fan of the tune at all, considering it a half-baked joke. Still, it's one of the few Led Zeppelin tunes that credits him alongside the three other members of the band as songwriters.

3. Robert Plant was the lone member of the band who thought the song was a hit
The band's singer was adamant that that Led Zeppelin release "D'yer Mak'er" as a single. Even in the UK, where they never issued singles. They took a band vote, and Plant lost 3-1. Led Zeppelin's "no singles in the UK" edict remained intact.  The group also never performed the song in its entirety live.

4. Robert Plant was right: the song was a hit
"D'yer Mak'er" was, however, released as a single in America. It rocked right up the charts to peak at #20 on the Hot 100 for the week of December 29, 1973. The #1 song in America that week: Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle." It's gone on to assume a ubiquitous presence on rock radio ever since. Years later, Axl Rose would cite the hearing the track as the moment "that got me into heavy rock."

5. Jimmy Page was surprised when people didn't "get" the song
It was during a wide-ranging 1977 interview with Trouser Press, the guitarist and music historian seemed befuddled that listeners didn't pick up what Led Zeppelin was trying to lay down with "D'yer Mak'er": "I didn't expect people not to get it. I thought it was pretty obvious," Page shrugged. "The song itself was a cross between reggae and '50s number, 'Poor Little Fool,' Ben E. King's things, stuff like that."

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