John Paul Jones Share Real Meaning Behind “Royal Orleans”

John Paul Jones Share Real Meaning Behind “Royal Orleans” | I Love Classic Rock Videos

John Paul Jones live at the Hard Rock Cafe Japan 20th Anniversary, 2003 - 80thisvelvetglove / Youtube

Experiences often give the best lessons and even great songs. Led Zeppelin, also known for writing songs based on experiences, released a song named “Royal Orleans,” which had a colorful background story behind it.

The British classic rock band’s song “Royal Orleans,” from their 1976 album Presence, was inspired by their stay at the Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans. The protagonist of this song picks up a drag queen but is shocked to learn that his new lover is a male the next morning. Members of Led Zeppelin were frequently spotted in gay pubs in New Orleans, where they could have a good time without having to deal with fans demanding autographs.

In the song, Plant hints that a member of Led Zeppelin had a sexual encounter with someone they thought was a woman but who was actually a drag queen, although he never directly addresses John Paul Jones, who supposedly experienced the event. Yet, the bassist insisted that the events that were established in the song were all false. In fact, Jones did spend the night in a hotel room with a drag queen named Stephanie, whom he considered a buddy. Jones, however, was not fooled by Plant’s poetic invention that she was a mystery to him.

At least one thing Robert Plant got right regarding the night John Paul Jones and his crew spent in New Orleans is that Jones and Stephanie did go to sleep in Jones’ hotel room at The Royal Orleans after a fun evening on Bourbon Street. Jones was smoking when he slept off; when the bassist and the drag queen awoke, the place was on fire.

“I fell asleep and set fire to the hotel room, as you do, haha … And when I woke up it was full of firemen!” Jones said. He also explained that he and Stephanie were both safe from harm during the fire.