What does Going to California mean?

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Led Zeppelin: Going to California Meaning

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Going to California Lyrics

Spent my days with a woman unkind,
Smoked my stuff and drank all my wine.
Made up my mind to make a new start,
Going to california with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me there’s a girl out there
With love in her eyes and flowers in her...


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    Mar 30th, 2012 3:48am report

    One of Led Zeppelin's most beautiful, acoustic songs. It was definitely inspired by the California style folk music of the 1960s.

    The song features Jimmy Page playing finger-picked guitar which I believe was tuned to double drop d. John Paul Jones' plays mandolin. There are no drums on the song. It was recorded outside and supposedly one can hear a plane passing overhead at some point.

    The song follows the theme of California as a mecca, as the promised land. Although it does contain other themes too. When interpreting the song it is important to remember two things:

    1. Robert Plant was a self confessed hippie. For him and many other hippies California and, in particular, San Francisco, was like their version of paradise. Their Shangri-la, if you like.

    2. Both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page had an infatuation with Canadian folk rocker Joni Mitchell, and much of the song is a tribute to her.

    My view is that the song was designed to be more poetic in style rather than have any specific meaning.

    Essentially the song is about heartache and actively seeking out love. The first woman only gives him trouble. Drinking all of his wine and smoking all his grass. So he goes to California on an airplane and experiences, first hand, an earthquake. One he has arrived he feels like he is being persecuted by the Gods. But, pulling himself together, he decides to seek out the woman with which he has now become infatuated with. When he realizes he cannot have her he seeks out the innocent virgin as often depicted in folklore, religious doctrines, and fairy-tales. The song ends by leaving the listener with an interesting vision. The narrator "standing on a hill in my mountain of dreams/ telling myself it's not as hard, hard, hard as it seems."


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    Oct 16th, 2011 10:43pm report

    Joni Mitchell isnt dead you morons....


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    Dec 17th, 2008 12:28pm report

    This song is actually about one of the themes from the 1944 Archibald T. Higgs book, "Manslaughter Madhouse: The Transition From Isolationism to Corporate Slavery of The Mind"
    In the song, "California" represents a place far away. It is important to note that the singer never mentions where he is coming from. This is the essence of a modern social free-roam prison (America).
    He may not even know where he is, but he knows where he wants to go. His life is blurry, but his dreams are clear. The singer fills the role of the waking spirit traveler, as described in so many books by Higgs and his contemporaries.
    At the beginning of the song, the singer is entering the second spirit mind phase, the birth of the life center essence. Most people go their entire lives without ever reaching this stage. You could say that, as a newly awakened spirit, he is just beginning to wipe the sleep from his eyes. He still longs for shattered images of things he once believed in, but his spirit of adventure shines through.
    In the second part of the song, the singer has reached the most critical part of his journey, where time and light become as one, dancing in a cascade of beauty and love. This period of a spirits travel is known as the communination. It is said to be the most beautiful thing the universe has to offer.
    This is a song of hope. It tells the story of a man throwing of the shackles placed on him at birth in order to pursue his honest destiny.
    As a personal note, I can only listen to this song once every year or two, because it's so powerful.


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    Aug 4th, 2017 8:28am report

    Robert Plant wanting to meet Joni Mitchell Da shitheads


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    Mar 13th, 2017 3:32pm report

    My father died recently. He was schitzophrenic. He would always tell me he was 'Going California.' He never would tell me what that meant to him. Which now I can interpret it as his life...The American dream, somewhere else in utopia. Where his mind would take him. Through all treatments for his spiraling depression and suicide attempts, he knew he wouldn't find peace until he reached death. Where his mind could be finally free from the torture of what he couldn't understand or control. The dream is just an delusion for him. He's riding that white mare and for him, it's over. It's not hard at all after death.
    It saddens me, I know how to interpret this through my dads eyes. Yet, understanding mental illness takes a special touch from God. To him, I will always be the Queen. His only child that has always tried to understand him, but cant walk in his shoes or ride in his mind.


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    Jun 8th, 2016 6:53pm report

    I always like to think this song has a spiritual meaning. Therefore, he gets on a plane hoping to find the woman of his dreams, the plane crashes, and he finds the girl of his dreams after death, like an afterlife type of thing..if you will


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    Jun 24th, 2014 6:45pm report

    It's about taking a shit. What do you think it's about? Uh, Going to California...maybe? You people are so naive. Why do I also have to be the Adult in the room?

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Nov 12th, 2013 11:22pm report

    Simple story, he's sick of where he is in life, especially with his girlfriend ...so he hops on a plane and goes to California - as many other young people did during the late 60's following the "Summer if Love" ... On the way out to the coast an earthquake strikes. It's probably a metaphor for something that he is also struck with the thought that this adventure is going to be a real challenge. He's heard there are young beauties (Queens) with flowers in their hair so he obviously looking to hook up with one of them and start anew. Problem is, all of the cute chicks are taken (i.e. by Kings) He ends up being alone knowing that this journey won't be an easy one but he is standing tall and waiting for the right opportunity.


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    Feb 8th, 2012 2:03pm report

    Christ...spent my time with a woman unkind (bitch) but still has a broken heart. Going to California, still looking for love. Feels like the gods might be punishing him
    Took another chance, things are looking up, but it's still a hard life.
    Then again, it means anything you want it to mean.


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    Apr 17th, 2011 4:18am report

    About the hippie movement and everyone going to Cali and writing songs about it.


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    Feb 8th, 2011 2:08am report

    i think everyone looks to hard into it plant is talking about the womN OF HIS DREAMS AND HE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE FOUND IT IN THAT AREA.


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    Apr 2nd, 2009 4:23pm report

    It's about the death of Joni Mitchell.


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    Jan 15th, 2009 1:51am report

    I really really adore this song! It is such a beatiful masterpiece.

    As of interpretation i do agree with most of fastfordfocus. Indeed this is a song of hope, but more specifically it is a song of "the american dream". Going west, California is for many people as west as it gets, and pursuing happiness. This song is just af 1970's interpretation of the american dream, were California was the place to go for all who wanted to be a part of the cultural changes the world were undegoing (anti-vietnam, YOUTH culture, drugs, hippies in SF, music).

    Word for word there's is much more in it, and I do believe this is art at its best.


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    Feb 20th, 2008 2:45pm report

    You can't forget about the plane crash.
    "The Sea Was Red And The Sky Was Grey"


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    Dec 24th, 2007 12:54pm report

    It started off about earthquakes and became a song about a search for a woman. Hense "Find a queen without a king."

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Nov 16th, 2006 11:11am report

    Um...... Jimmy page was the one who liked Joni Mitchell... You know.. By the way... Get your facts straight love...

    Otherwise it does seem like a reasonable explanation.


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    Nov 15th, 2006 11:43am report

    Um.. Robert plant wasn't infatuated with Joni Mitchell.... It was jimmy page.. Moron..


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    Nov 12th, 2006 11:22pm report

    It's all about plant's infatuation with Joni Mitchell who spent a lot of time living in california and writing about california..And the line isn't "a making in my heart"..Its "going to california with an aching in my heart"

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