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"No Quarter" began as a John Paul Jones creation in 1971. Studio sessions from this year reveal a very familiar "No Quarter", albeit a more aggressive time signature and drumming. At it's album release in 1973 on "House of The Holy" it was recorded as a much more subdued, spacey song with a haunting synth melody.
"No Quarter" really took off on stage. 1973 saw the beginnings of a extended version (usually around 12 min) with much more developed jam, and a very precise guitar solo from Page. From this point on, Page also employed the use of his CryBaby Wah. The Song Remains The Same Soundtrack features a version from July 28, 1973. This version features an unusually tight performance and a spot on Page solo.
In 1975 Led Zeppelin took "No Quarter" to a new level. Giving the song ample time for improvisation (usually clocking in at around 20-25 min), it really grew to be a centerpiece for every concert from this point on. Jones commands an impressive piano solo later taken over by Page, who takes on a more relaxed approach to his Dm Dorian solo.
Ever allocating more time in their sets for "No Quarter", Led Zeppelin typically played upwards of 30 min of the song in 1977. Most notably, Jones takes the piano in a new direction during his solo, further proving his multi-instrument mastery.
In 1979 the song was scaled back to 15 min and became a much tighter act. While still keeping the piano solo, it was cut back considerably from '77.
"No Quarter" got some more playtime with Page & Plant in 1994-5 and later in 1998. Here, Page used a 12-string guitar in DADGAD tuning, and Plant used an echo/delay modulator to give the song it's haunting appeal without the help of Jones.
Played in 2007, at the O2 arena, the song returned to it's early 1973 length of ~10 min. Here, Page tries more or less to replicate his solo from 28/7/1973.
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