EHS Daily Advisor this week wrote about working in cold weather conditions and the unique hazards that winter can present. The Song of the Week is an appropriately chilly classic from Led Zeppelin called “No Quarter.”
Released on 1973’s Houses of the Holy album, “No Quarter” departs from the straight-ahead, blues-based hard rock that made Zeppelin one of the biggest bands in the world. It’s a slow-building, atmospheric song that showcases bassist John Paul Jones on keyboards, building a moody backdrop for the rest of the band to advance and retreat from. Lyrically, the song’s ambiguous, about giving no quarter or showing no mercy in a battle, but it’s unclear if the protagonists are soldiers, Vikings, hobbits or something else altogether. Nevertheless, it’s an epic tale that became one of Zeppelin’s live highlights. Seven minutes on the studio album, the song would stretch to 25 minutes in concert during the band’s mid-’70s tours, with Jones and guitarist Jimmy Page playing extended solos. Hey, it was the ’70s, man.
As for the winter theme, the song begins: “Close the door, put out the light/No, they won’t be home tonight/The snow falls hard and don’t you know/The winds of Thor are blowing cold.”
“No Quarter” was never released as a single and didn’t get much radio airplay, but it became a fan favorite anyway. Below are the studio version and a live one played at Earl’s Court in London in 1975.