Led Zep Fool in the Rain

I recently posted a thread on “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” mainly due to its iconic drum lick so thought I’d follow up with this one — another iconic drum part I really enjoyed learning. To be honest, when this song first came out I was disappointed and scratching my head cause it was so radically different from all their prior work. As I matured I realized it’s an awesome song, which is why I endeavored to eventually learn the drum part.  And it’s a shuffle for those not familiar with drum lingo but with an interesting twist with an open hi hat hit on the and of 1 that really gives it its iconic sound. I later learned that, for some reason, Led Zep never played this song live, and since I can’t find it live anywhere I’m starting to believe it and why I’m just copying the production version here. Still well worth listening to IMHO, but wondering if anyone has any insights as to why they never played this song live? Anyway…



Well, as you said, it’s not typical Led Zeppelin style, but maybe just something a little silly that they wanted to do. I doubt that there were many fans shouting out for it at their shows

@roxy54 Yeah, I didn’t really think of that but you may well be right.  Good point.

@onhwy61 beat me to it, that video never fails to make me smile. Another great example (among dozens of others) can be found in Toto's "Rosanna".

@onhwy61 Thanks for that — hadn’t seen it before. Gotta love Bernie Purdie! The Purdie shuffle was actually the first shuffle I learned and then moved on to Bonzo’s “Fool in the Rain” shuffle that’s a quite bit different.

@hifiguy42 Thanks for bringing up “Rosanna” — didn’t think of that one and definitely gonna give it another listen cause it’s been a minute.

Of course there’s a common thread here in that both Purdie and Porcaro played for Steely Dan.  Found this interesting…


Oh man!  Great song!  Listen to ' Boogie With Steu', same album.  You'll love the sticks at the end!!

@quincy Thanks for that. I hadn’t heard it, but that made me think, why? Then I realized I don’t own any Led Zep albums. Yeah, I know. I also don’t own any Who albums, which made me ask, why? Upon further reflection I realized I’ve never been a fan of loud, brash, in-your-face rock — not that there’s anything wrong with that. I was always more seduced by the relatively more subtle and groove-oriented bands like Steely Dan, Doobie Brothers, etc. I realize this heresy might get me banned from the club, but there it is.

Oh, that's Stu btw.

I love all music.... except Rap.

Just don't like it!  Never have!

@ibmjunkman She’s so damn impressive.  If I’d nitpick I’d say she needs to work on the fills and 7-stroke rolls, but that’s little stuff and she gets the important stuff right including the all-important feel of the groove.  I’ll tellya what as a drummer I found particularly impressive — on the bridge when you’re playing quarter-note triplets on the ride along with bass drum and snare you’re also playing 2 and 4 on the hihat.  That is NOT an easy combo to pull off and she seems to do it almost effortlessly.  MOST impressive IMHO.

Well, not Led Zeppelin, but I'll throw it out here, somebody might get a kick out of it.


Fool In The Rain (J. Bonham)

Rosanna (J. Porcaro)

Babylon Sisters (B. Purdie)


Yes, these are all half-time shuffles. I remember learning this groove in my 30s, specifically Rosanna. When you figure it out...you can spot them on the radio when they show up here and there in modern pop.


Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears For Fears) is the same f’ing groove! My drum teacher at the time had me learn this to prove a point.

It appears to be a drum machine...but it plays well on a traditional kit. I quickly learned to appreciate the versatility of this groove.


Great topic! I'd like to lean to play the shuffle! Lately I worked on the groove from the catchy tune in the movie Whiplash. It's a lot of fun!

@vuch I’d encourage you to find some videos and learn a shuffle as it’s one of the most fun beats you’ll play.  Listen to songs like “Home at Last” or “Reeling in the Years” by Steely Dan, “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zep, or “Rosanna” by Toto among others and you’ll hear the cool groove.  It’s tricky to learn at first like a lotta things in drums, but when u get it u get it and can have fun with it forever.  Just do it!  

Whiplash was awesome BTW.  Loved the scene at the dinner table where they’re fawning over this division 3 football player but are in the presence of one of the most accomplished drummers in the country.  Sad.  Drummers get no respect.  What pissed me off about that movie was none of his family members ever bothered to even come see him play.  What’s up with that???

*L* "Fools~Rain"....Reminds me of Dire Straits " Les Boys"......(...do cabaret....)....

3 rows from the stage in SF, too long ago....they led into it....one of the guys ’went fay in a big way’....the gays in the place started hootin’ and cheering....

Sometimes...the ’somewhere way-off from ’center’ (whatever that is....*L*) can be as entertaining and fun as the MOR schitt.... ;)

@soix, Yes, I’m going to learn Fool In The Rain! I dig all of the videos that can help!

One artist I love to watch is Gina Knight. She’s really good and a total babe! I played in the adult pit orchestra last March for the HS production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. One of the tracks required a samba beat. I practiced very hard and was good but I’m still practicing to make it as good as Gina does it.

Yeah, that scene in Whiplash was great! The way his dad started to pile on cutting him down was weak and sad. The movie is a study in toxic interpersonal relationships.

His dad did come to watch him for the last performance but almost contributed to sabotaging him. It was a bitter pill to swallow realizing that his dad didn’t think he was talented enough. That was part of the motivation he used to do what he did! He had to prove it to both of them and the world! Very Michael Jordan like, very inspiring!!!

You hear about no respect for drummers but I don’t feel that way. I’m grateful to play with anyone. I picked up the sticks again after a 40 year hiatus from drumming.

I returned home from military service to learn that my mom sold my kit while I was away. It was a total gut punch, It felt like the love of my life just dumped me. But I hid that pain and moved on in life with college and work. Every time I saw live music there was a pain in my heart thinking that I used to be a drummer.

Resurrecting my stereo after a 15 year hiatus almost 5 years ago contributed to me wanting to play drums again. I started with sticks, a practice pad and private lessons, just like when I was 8...

It seems that having a Purdie shuffle foundation is a certain recipe for making a song I will love. I am aware of no exceptions. Enjoying the thread. 

Fool in the Rain is a great song.  I’ve always loved the drumming in it.  Didn’t know till not too long ago about the shuffle beat that’s in it.  Learned about it in Rosanna and Everybody Wants to Rule the World at the same time from a guy who plays the drums.  I’ve played some but I haven’t in a while.  I’ll have to check out Home at Last though since  I’ve never noticed it in that song.  It’s certainly a great rhythm.

Back to the OP original question about why they never played Fool in the Rain live.

If my research is correct, they released ITTOD in August 1979 (at a time when Page & Bonham were both struggling with addictions). Led Zeppelin only played 14 times after that release, starting June 17, 1980 in Dortmund, Germany until their last ever show on July 7 in Berlin.

John Bonham choked to death on his own vomit, a la Hendrix, September 25, 1980 and that was the end of the story.

Listening to Jimmy Page' hi-def remasters series makes it perfectly clear how essential Bonzo was to that band, and it was a heartbreaking end to an amazing group during a time when music trends had not been kind to the original classic-rock juggernauts.

It makes sense to me why Fool in the Rain was never played live.


Just following up on @hifiguy42 mention of Rosanna — made me go back to listen to it and found this live version I thought might be worth sharing…


BTW, can anyone think of a more stunning reinvention than Toto did with Toto IV? Fleetwood Mac did, but those were basically two different bands when Buckingham/Nicks came to town. Don’t even get me started on Jefferson Starship. Yuck.  You could argue Steely Dan made a big transformation going from Aja to Gaucho where they went from a melody-based sound to more of a groove-driven thing — totally different sound post Aja. Anyway…

On another thread I brought up “Home at Last” off Steely Dan’s Aja album as another example of a shuffle, which in this case is the Purdie shuffle. Here’s a nice little exposeé with Donald and Walter as to how it got incorporated into the song in case you haven’t seen it — pretty interesting I think…




@toddalin GREAT tune!!!  And thanks for sharing!  It’s kinda like a jazz meets Steely Dan kinda fusion vibe, and you’re right — the drums are absolutely money on this.  I think a lotta country/blues players are highly underrated, and this lays that bare IMHO.  I used “Tin Pan Alley” from this album for years to review high-end audio equipment because this was such an extremely well-recorded album and exceedingly rare for pop/rock recordings especially back in that era. Thank you!

As I understand the lore this was a John Paul Jones arrangement which tinkered with a Brazilian motif. It was written around when Presence was being arranged/recorded. The problem at that time was heroin. Page was truly strung out as was Plant- to a lesser extent. Plant described talking to Page as "tapping on a thick glass". Jonsie stepped up and managed the sessions saving Page "Led Wallet" a fortune in studio time. Supposedly Page and Plant would no-show at studio time and get billed for it. 

As for "just my opinion" as to why it was not played live: It's a radio song. The 1st 6 notes get repeated ad-nauseum and the Brazilian Carnival whistling and stomping is irritating. It's probably hard to duplicate in a 4 piece live presentation as well.  

I'm not insulting anyone's preferences for or against this tune- just proffering my personal take on it. Obviously I'm a huge Zep fan and their worst stuff is superior to most other's work. 

As a massive Zeppelin fan and broad music connoisseurs, this is my favorite Zep song. Granted a more mature me. I think it points directly toward what was coming from Plant's solo work. The drumming is incredible and changes style. The guitar solo is unique and very cool - it grew on me over the years. The lyrics completely emotive and brilliant.  It's not classic sounding for them except in that it is definitely a unique creation and still theirs. 

I'm not a drummer, but I found this explanation of Bonham's drumming on a number of Zep songs to be really interesting:  What Makes John Bonham Such a Good Drummer? (youtube.com).

Happy Listening.