"Four Sticks" as written by and Robert Plant Jimmy Page....
Oh baby it's cryin' time
Oh baby I got to fly

Got to try to find a way
Got to try to get away

'Cause you know I gotta get away from you babe
Oh baby the river's red, ah baby in my head
There's a funny feelin' goin' on
I don't think I can hold out long

And when the owls cry in the night
Oh baby, baby when the pines begin to cry
Baby, baby, baby how do you feel?
If the river runs dry, baby, how do you feel?

Craze, baby, the rainbow's end, mmm, baby, it's just a den
For those who hide, who hide their love to depths of life
And ruin dreams that we all knew so, babe

And when the owls cry in the night
And baby when the pines begin to cry
Oh baby, baby, how do you feel?
If the river runs dry, baby, how do you feel?

Baby how do you feel?

Ooh yeah, brave I endure
Ooh yeah, strong shields and lore
And they can't hold the wrath of those who walk
An' the boots of those who march
Baby, through the roads of time so long ago

Ooooh, yeah
Oooooh, yeah


Hoooh hooh hoooh hah hahhh

Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Four Sticks" as written by Robert Plant Jimmy Page

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Four Sticks song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentthis may not be the best zeppelin song but its lightyears ahead of half of the shit that people call music these days
    RebeLeaderon February 17, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think i read that in the book that comes with the Led Zeppelin Box set, and he did it because he could. Zeppelin also sort of had a thing for giving their songs titles that have nothing to do with the lyrics of the song. "Four Sticks" and "Black Dog" are two such songs (black dog was named after a stray dog that was hanging around the studio that they were recording that album at).
    ramtharon May 15, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIronic, isn't it, that two common names for that untitled album are "Four" and "Sticks"?
    WYWHon March 14, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentWhen I hear the chorus

    'Mmmm, baby, the river's red.
    Oh, baby, in my head.

    There's a funny feeling going on.
    I don't think I can hold out long.'

    I can't help but think of cocaine, and the way it actually works to get you high.

    Very awesome song though. I always found the 'Four Sticks' path to be all crazy and symbolic. I imagine four sticks lined up in mud, with their shadows all pointing to each other.

    Who knows.
    Ironed Maidenson October 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJohn Bonham's decision to play the song with four sticks was a result of him being very frustrated with not being able to get the track down right. After he grabbed the second pair of sticks and beat the drums as hard as he could, he recorded the perfect take and that was the one they kept.
    feedme216on August 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHi all. I had just the other day posted about "When The Levee Breaks" and, to sum it up, after declaring my respect and love for it, rated it as number 2 favoured track on lV, behind only "Four Sticks".

    So I felt it fair to scribble a few lines about this one.

    One contrast between the two worth noting would be the excess of H2O and then the complete lack of it, "if the river runs dry baby how would you feel?" included on the same album.

    True that musicians ahead of their time are misunderstood by critics and the industry as a whole but, although they do refer to these type of obstacles in many of their works, I do not believe that most preoccupy themselves at that low a level.

    It is merely a link in a long chain of interconnected subterfuge encountered by the truly gifted through their lifetime, with each link all the more diabolical then the former. Davinci, Michaelangelo, Galileo, most all polymaths were extremely hesitant, wary and tried to avoid appearing before royal and papal "invitations" to "explain" and "share" their discoveries. And with good reason (spending the last 10 years of your life under house arrest growing sicker?).

    "They can't hold the wrath of those who walk/boots that march.. baby through the roads of time so long ago"

    The lyrics can apply to undesirable situations on both a personal relationship level, and to a collective larger social scale.

    The verse that sums it up for me would be..
    "Craze baby, hmm rainbows end. Hmm baby, its just a den for THOSE who hide. who hide their love in DEPTHS of life (who hide within the depths of love), and ruin dreams that WE all knew (dreams of me on you) so babe".

    Just as, say, those religious philosophers serving the papacy of way back then who would collectively convene and scheme rebuttals to thwart perfect logic, all the while pretending it was in the name of God and for the good of the people (hiding within the depths of love), when in fact they merely wished ruin upon anything endangering their positions.. despicable (but they got their's too, most of them had even shorter lifespans).

    As stated in the Levee post, the drumming on "Sticks" is incomparable but the cherry topping it off is Plant's vocal delivery in closing. Sans words, as Plant pioneered and Floyed used through Torry a couple of years later on "Gig In The Sky" (but she had to sue for cowriting credit and royalty).

    The deeper album cuts of this quality are signature in that, as great a guitarist as is Page, they usually lack a guitar lead or at most have one very short and simple like "Levee".. and Page knew that if the rhythm is worked to the state of perfection as it was on Levee and Four Sticks (and a few others) then the content from beginning to end draws more desire for tireless repeat.. the lead here is not required and may in fact detract from the set atmosphere. As with other faves sans lead guitar such as "No Quarter", "In the Light" (barely, sounds more of a different rhythm). "In The Evening" (yes, has a lead that starts great but gets winded, and is no comparison to the opening keys or even the rhythm).

    In all honesty, could one listen to songs such as "Black Dog" or "The Ocean" as frequently, where the rhythm guitar after every verse is identical throughout the whole song with perhaps a slight change in tone once or twice? In truth? I could not if it were not for Page's extended leads saving those type of songs.

    (hope I didn't ruffle any feathers, but my ears define my personal opinion of the type of songs in the above paragraph, and it's merely just that, my own view)

    So that is just about it. Thanks again for the space. Be well.
    george1012on July 26, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBonham plays this song with two sticks in each hand - pretty damn impressive drumming.
    ramtharon April 16, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthe did it because you can do more with 4 sticks than you can with 2, the drums on the song were so complex that they required 4 sticks, ramthar is right, the song required 4 sticks just because he was one of the few drummers on the planet that could use 4 sticks
    toolucky1234on April 22, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this is one of the sadly under-rated songs on the album, IMO its great!
    Ben2k9on May 09, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it is the worst song on the album. but i do not mean that in a negative way at all. it is just my least favorite song on IV, however it is one of my all time favorite zeppelin songs. i just love the album so much, one of my top three, and i'm never quite sure what order those are in...
    kingmikekingon July 02, 2003   Link

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