Moby Dick (4:21)

Cover of Led Zeppelin II

From Led Zeppelin II and 135 other releases

“Moby Dick” is an instrumental tune and drum solo by English rock band Led Zeppelin, featured on their 1969 album Led Zeppelin II. It was also known by the alternate titles “Pat’s Delight” and “Over the Top” during various points of the band’s career.

The tune emerged after Jimmy Page would often catch Bonham jamming in the studio, recorded parts of it, and then pieced it all together. Only Page and bassist John Paul Jones play the tune’s Drop-D blues-based riff with Bonham’s drums—as a power trio—at the very beginning and the very end of the tune, leaving the remainder open for Bonham alone. The structure of the main riff is that of the twelve-bar blues. Singer Robert Plant did not sing at all, and in concert would simply introduce Bonham to the audience before the tune started. Studio outtakes from the Led Zeppelin II sessions reveal that the drum solo recorded was edited down from a much longer version.

The guitar riff can be traced back to the BBC unused session track “The Girl I Love” which was recorded in the Summer of 1969. It is an almost note for note copy of a riff which appears in Bobby Parker’s 1961 single, “Watch Your Step”. Jimmy Page was a fan of Parker’s, and at one point in the 1970s attempted to sign him to Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records label. John Lennon also admitted the same Parker riff had been a big influence on The Beatles’ “I Feel Fine”. Page’s riff was used as the theme to BBC2’s Disco 2 rock show.

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