Deep Cuts From 1971: ‘Going To California”- Led Zeppelin. There were eight songs on Led Zeppelin’s most famous and in my opinion at least their best album- Led Zeppelin IV- a number of them could have been hit singles- but there was only one hit “Black Dog” #15. “Going To California” is a folk song type song with Jimmy Page on acoustic guitar and John Paul Jones on mandolin. No drums on this one so John Bonham sat this one out. . The song started out about California earthquakes. Rolling Stone ranked “Going To California” was the 12th greatest Led Zeppelin song.
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote this song, drawing inspiration from Joni Mitchell, specifically her song “California.” Mitchell lived in the musically fertile but earthquake-prone Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles; “California” finds her recalling her adventures on a trip to Europe but looking forward to a return home. In “Going To California,” Plant plays the part of a guy who’s looking to leave his no-good woman behind and make a fresh start in California.