Four Sticks

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"Four Sticks"
Rock & Roll45.jpg
German single picture sleeve
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin IV
A-side"Rock and Roll"
Released21 February 1972 (1972-02-21) (US)
Format7-inch 45 rpm
RecordedIsland Studios, London, 1971
GenreRaga rock[1]
Producer(s)Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Black Dog"
"Four Sticks"
"Over the Hills and Far Away"
Audio sample

"Four Sticks" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1971 fourth album. The title reflects drummer John Bonham's performance with two sets of two drumsticks, totaling four.[2]

The song was difficult to record, and required more takes than usual.[2] John Paul Jones played a VCS3 synthesizer on the track.[2] The song has an unusual time signature, featuring riffs in a mixture of 5/8 and 6/8.

Only one live performance has been identified – in Copenhagen on their 1971 European tour – and preserved on some bootleg recordings.[2]

Four Hands[edit]

The song was re-recorded by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant with the Bombay Symphony Orchestra in 1972, during their trip to India, along with another track, "Friends" from Led Zeppelin III.[3] This version featured tabla drums and sitars. The recording, titled "Four Hands" was released officially on the 2015 remastering of Coda.

Other versions[edit]

In 1994, Plant and Page had rejoined in musical collaboration as Page and Plant. On 25 August and 26, they performed the song. This new version of "Four Sticks" was also included on the album No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded. Plant played a version of the song during his solo tour in 2005, as is included on the DVD release Soundstage: Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation.

A different version of this song is included on the remastered deluxe two-CD version of Led Zeppelin IV. Listed as "Four Sticks (Alternate Mix)", it was recorded on 2 November 1970, at Island Studios, No. 2, in London with engineer Andy Johns and assistant engineer Tony. It lasts 4:33, while the original version is 4:45.

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ RAMIREZ, AJ (21 November 2011). "Led Zeppelin - "Four Sticks"". PopMatters.
  2. ^ a b c d Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  3. ^ Liner notes to Led Zeppelin Boxed Set 2 by David Fricke