Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
“Immigrant Song” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin.
The “land of ice and snow” is Iceland, where the band played in June 1970. Robert Plant explained: “We weren’t being pompous. We did come from the land of the ice and snow. We were guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be canceled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal. The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. ‘Immigrant Song’ was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different.”
One of the lyrics became part of Led Zeppelin lore. The line, “The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands” got many of their fans referring to Zeppelin’s sound as the “hammer of the gods.” The phrase was used by author Stephen Davis as the title of a book about the band.
Led Zeppelin meant for this song to be somewhat humorous, relating their adventures on the road to the Vikings who fought the hordes to conquer new lands. They weren’t known as a funny band, so a lot of their fans took it quite seriously.
The hiss at the beginning is feedback from an echo unit. It was intentional.
Robert Plant’s love of history played into the lyric, as he was thinking about explorers like Marco Polo and how they must have felt in their travels. Just as he felt pressure to top the previous album, he wondered if these explorers felt pressure to find even better lands after a big discovery.Until the Zeppelin boxed set was released, the fan favorite “Hey, Hey What Can I Do” could be found only on the flip side of this single. In Japan, the single was mistakenly released with “Out On The Tiles” as the B-side. That one became a rare collectible.
The line, “Valhalla I am coming,” refers to Norse mythology. Valhalla is a hall in Asgard where the souls of fallen warriors are taken by the “Valkyries,” which are spirits of war who carry up heroes who have been slain. Only heroes are taken to Valhalla, where they will wait for their certain doom.
To get permission to use this song in the movie School Of Rock, the star of the movie, Jack Black, videotaped himself singing in front of a huge crowd of people, begging Led Zeppelin to let them use the song in the movie. They succeeded, and the song was featured in a scene where Black sings along to the tune when it comes on the radio in his van, which he is using to transport his students.
“It may seem corny, but it worked,” Jack Black said on the DVD. “The moral of the story is, Don’t be too proud to beg.”
Led Zeppelin opened their live shows with this song from 1970-1972.
This plays over the credits of the French TV series 50 Minutes Inside.
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Karen O covered this song for the 2011 film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It can be heard over the opening credits/title sequence.
The song soundtracks the trailer for the 2017 movie Thor: Ragnarok. The iconic opening riff kicks in while Cate Blanchett, a.k.a. Hela, the Goddess of Death, turns to the camera. The track continues to play as she wrecks havoc in Thor’s world.
Led zeppelin: The Immigrant Song. Album: Led Zeppelin III Released: 5 November 1970.
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where wefind out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!
Thank You is a song written by Led Zeppelin for their second album, Led Zeppelin II, and appears as the fourth track on it. On vinyl releases, it closes Side A.
Thank You is the first song with lyrics written entirely by Robert Plant. He wrote the song as a tribute to his then-wife Maureen. It was this song that made Jimmy Page realize that Plant could write most of the band’s lyrics.
Mike Portnoy, the current drummer of The Neal Morse Band, talked about his memory about the song ‘Thank You’ of Led Zeppelin and the song’s tragic story.
Portnoy made a video in which he showed the Led Zeppelin albums he had and spoke of his favorite songs of the band. He also mentioned a significant memory for him about the song ‘Thank You‘ in the video.
Portnoy revealed that his wife Marlene wanted that song to be their wedding song, yet, he opposed that idea since ‘Thank You’ is about the child of Robert Plant who passed away so soon.
Karac, the child of Plant, unfortunately, died due to a stomach virus at the age of 5 on July 26, 1977. The death of his child, especially at such an early age, shocked Robert Plant who was on tour with Led Zeppelin in the US at that time. With the song ‘Thank You‘, Plant paid tribute to his son whom he mentioned as the source of joy in the family, even after his tragic death.
Led Zeppelin: Thank you. Album: Led Zeppelin II Release 22 October 1969
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
The band broke up when John Bonham died after a drinking binge at Jimmy Page’s house on September 25, 1980.
Page was a session musician from 1963-1966, working with Cliff Richard, Burt Bacharach, The Kinks, The Who, and Donovan, among others. Jones was also a popular session player and released a single, “Baja,” in 1964. Plant released two singles (“Our Song,” “Long Time Coming”) in 1967. Bonham was the only member who had not recorded prior to joining the band, but he had earned a sterling reputation playing with a number of bands.
Page formed The New Yardbirds in 1968, which would then become Led Zeppelin.
They got the idea for the name from Keith Moon. Before Page joined the Yardbirds, he got together with Moon (who was upset with his role in The Who at the time), John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Jeff Beck, and they discussed forming a band. Moon stated that this band would go down like a “Lead Balloon,” and soon thereafter he worked out his problems with The Who and the project fell apart. One song is known to exist from these sessions, and that is the Page written song “Beck’s Bolero” which appeared on Jeff Beck’s first solo album, Truth.
Jimmy Page said, “Those damn Americans will think it’s Lead (Leed) Zeppelin.” So they changed the name to Led Zeppelin to clear up any mispronunciation.
Plant’s 5-year-old son Karac died of a stomach infection in 1977 while Zeppelin was on what would be their last US tour. After his death, Plant almost left the band to become a kindergarten teacher.
Plant helped write many of the songs on their first album, but was left off the credits because he was still under contract with his old record company.
No singles were released in England, and very few in the US. Manager Peter Grant tried to keep the record companies from releasing singles, fearing that it would hurt album sales. Very few Led Zeppelin singles were released in the US, and in the UK, none were released until “Whole Lotta Love” in 1997, some 18 years after it was written. There were several pressings made of “Trampled Underfoot,” but they were all shelved before being released, and are, today, viewed as highly collectable.
Their fourth, untitled album (which we refer to as Led Zeppelin 4) contained symbols representing each band member. Plant was a feather, Page his “Zoso” symbol, Jones a circle with trisecting ovals, and Bonham three intersecting circles, which resembles the Ballantine beer logo.
When Physical Graffiti was released, all five of their previous albums reentered the charts. They were the first band to have 6 albums chart at once.
While on a family vacation in Rhodes, Plant fractured his ankle and elbow in 1975 when his hired car hit a tree. Zeppelin’s world tour had to be canceled.
They toured and recorded away from England to avoid the excessive taxes their home country charged high-income performers.
Their last studio album, In Through the Out Door, was recorded in 1978 and 1979 at a studio in Sweden owned by Abba.
Page was very concerned about packaging for the albums. This would sometimes delay the album’s release, but resulted in some cover and sleeve designs that became collectors items.
A tribute album, Encomium, was released in 1995 featuring Sheryl Crow, Duran Duran, Hootie and The Blowfish and others interpreting Led Zeppelin songs.
They made very few TV appearances, avoiding TV performances because of the poor audio-video quality. According to Robert Plant, no matter how well they performed, they were always at the mercy of the in-house studio engineers, most of whom had no idea how to record a live band. After a June 1969 taping for a French TV appearance, they did no more TV ever; they’d be seen live on stage or not at all from that point on.
They toured relentlessly. Their first US tour was opening for Vanilla Fudge. Here’s what Fudge drummer Carmine Appice told Songfacts: “People can’t believe it now, but when they came over, they were green. They were a brand new band, nobody knew Robert Plant, nobody knew John Paul Jones, nobody knew John Bonham. Their first date with us was Vanilla Fudge and Spirit, and we were already sold out when they were added to the show. When they went on, the audience was yelling, ‘Bring on The Fudge.’ It was hilarious. I remember telling Robert Plant he should move around more on the stage. In March (2004), we went to Europe, played England, and Robert came up to jam with The Fudge. We told that story on stage and we both had a chuckle about it. Then they became so big. I got John Bonham a Ludwig endorsement, the same drums that I had, which were big 26 bass drums – a totally unique Ludwig kit that started all these crazy sizes. Bonzo saw it and loved it, so I got him the endorsement. Six months later when they came back to tour again, we toured together again, but this time it was equal bill. They got so big so fast, then they went on to become the biggest band in the world. We played with Hendrix, Cream, The Who, and at times, we blew everybody off the stage. We were a very hard act to follow, we were known for being very aggressive live and different from anyone else. We were wondering who was going to blow us off – it was Led Zeppelin.”
Page, Plant, and Jones played at Live Aid in 1985 with Phil Collins and Tony Thompson on drums. They refused to allow their performance onto the Live Aid DVD as they considered it such a poor performance.
Along with The Beatles, Led Zeppelin is one of two bands with five diamond albums, meaning sales of more than 10 million each. They are Led Zeppelin 4 (22 mil), Physical Graffiti (15 mil), Led Zeppelin II (12 mil), Houses of the Holy (11 mil), and their Boxed Set (10 mil).
Vinyl copies of Led Zeppelin III were pressed with two Aleister Crowley quotes on the inner groove: “Do What Thou Wilt,” and “So Mote It Be.” Crowley, a practitioner of black magic, was a big influence on Page. In 1970, Page bought a house in Scotland where Crowley used to live. He has since sold it.
They made #1 on Spin magazine’s list of the 100 Sleaziest Moments in Rock for what is known as The Red Snapper Incident. The story goes that on a tour stop in Seattle in 1969, they mixed a redheaded groupie with red snapper.
Regarding the band’s legend for debauchery, Robert Plant said in an interview with Cameron Crowe: “That whole lunacy thing was all people knew about us and it was all word-of-mouth. All those times of lunacy were okay, but we aren’t and never were monsters. Just good-time boys, loved by their fans and hated by their critics.”
Bonham was actually Zeppelin’s second choice for drummer, their first being BJ Wilson, from Procol Harum.
Bonham had his own private quarter mile road so that he could relax by driving his car down it at 250 miles per hour.
They got their first recording contract based on the recommendation of Dusty Springfield. Jones and Page had both played on some of her albums.
They never won a Grammy while they were active, but in 2005 they were given a lifetime achievement award.
They had a huge influence on the next generation of musicians. A good example is Dave Grohl of Nirvana and The Foo Fighters, who told Rolling Stone magazine April 15, 2004: “To me, Zeppelin were spiritually inspirational. I was going to Catholic school and questioning God, but I believed in Led Zeppelin. I wasn’t really buying into this Christianity thing, but I had faith in Led Zeppelin as a spiritual entity. They showed me that human beings could channel this music somehow and that it was coming from somewhere. It wasn’t coming from a songbook. It wasn’t coming from a producer. It wasn’t coming from an instructor. It was coming from somewhere else.”
On March 29, 1975, they became the first band ever to have six albums on the Billboard chart at once: Physical Graffiti (#1), Led Zeppelin IV,Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin III.
It took a while before they sold their music online, but they did eventually allow iTunes to sell their songs. They remain holdouts when it comes to music video games, however.
When crafting songs, Page always focused on the music first as he wasn’t always confident in his songwriting abilities. He told interviewer Daniel Rachel (The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters): “I was very keen on concentrating on the music, and whomever I was going to be working with, for them to be coming up with lyrics. I didn’t think that my lyrics were necessarily good enough.”
Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series, “Rhythm & Blues” Edition, where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Led Zeppelin, Since Ive Been Loving You, Album:Led Zeppelin III 1970
The Greatest Led Zeppelin Blues Song might be their most melancholy of all. Released in 1970 on their third record, “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” as so many blues songs do, tells the tale of a hard-working man and a up-to-no-good cheating woman who has caused him to “lose his worried mind.” Minus an intro lick borrowed from the Yardbirds’ song “New York City Blues,” it’s a wholly original composition that features some of the best guitar work Page ever laid down – as well as some of the most bombastic vocals Robert Plant was ever able to belt out. For the musicianship, the minor-key swing and the downright depressing content it is undoubtedly the best blues number in Zeppelin’s vast back catalog.A seven-and-a-half minute blues number with some electric piano played by Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones, this was a live favorite for the band. They started working on the song during the sessions for Led Zeppelin II, but was bumped for “Whole Lotta Love.” By the time they recorded it for Led Zeppelin III, they had worked out the song in live performances, but according to Jimmy Page, it was still the hardest track to record for the album. The guitarist says they were getting very self-critical around this time.
Before this song was committed to tape, Led Zeppelin performed it at their famous January 9, 1970 concert at Royal Albert Hall in London. The show was filmed and recorded, but the keyboards didn’t make it into the mix on this track, so the song was not included on the 2003 DVD Led Zeppelin, which featured footage from the show.
This is a very difficult song to sing, and it showed off Robert Plant’s vocal range quite well. He said in a 2003 interview with Mojo: “The musical progression at the end of each verse – the chord choice – is not a natural place to go. And it’s that lift up there that’s so regal and so emotional. I don’t know whether that was born from the loins of JP or JPJ, but I know that when we reached that point in the song you could get a lump in the throat from being in the middle of it.”
This was recorded live in the studio with very little overdubbing. If you listen carefully, you can hear the squeak of John Bonham’s drum pedal.
Jimmy Page did his guitar solo in one take. Engineer Terry Manning called it “The best rock guitar solo of all time.”Plant used a sample from this on his solo track “White, Clean, and Neat.”
Just before their Physical Grafitti tour, Jimmy Page broke the tip of his left ring finger in a door-slamming incident. They went on with the tour but they had to drop this and “Dazed And Confused” from the set lists as he couldn’t play them until his finger healed.
The riff in the beginning is taken from “New York City Blues” by The Yardbirds – Jimmy Page was not a member of that band yet when the group wrote that song.
The track was recorded live (except for the vocals part and a few overdubs) at Island Studios in London. This features John Paul Jones on both bass pedal and organ. Interestingly, Jimmy Page’s famous solo was recorded in a studio in Memphis, whereas the whole album was recorded in Headley Grange and in Island Studios.
A new documentary onLED ZEPPELINis currently in post-production. The as-yet-untitled film is being helmed byBernard MacMahon, the director of theEmmy-nominated music documentary series“American Epic”, and will feature new interviews with guitaristJimmy Page, singerRobert Plantand bassistJohn Paul Jones, as well as rare archival interviews with the late drummerJohn Bonham. It marks the first time members ofLED ZEPPELINhave participated in a documentary about the group.
The documentary will launch in Cannes withCAArepresenting the U.S. rights andAltitudehandling international sales. It is billed as the “definitive telling of the birth of the world’s biggest-selling rock band” and will be told solely from the band’s perspective, with never-before-seen archive film footage and photographs and state-of-the-art audio transfers of the band’s music.
Speaking of the upcoming release,Pagesaid: “When I saw everythingBernardhad done both visually and sonically on the remarkable achievement that is‘American Epic’, I knew he would be qualified to tell our story.”
Plantadded: “SeeingWill Shade, and so many other important early American musicians, brought to life on the big screen in‘American Epic’inspired me to contribute to a very interesting and exciting story.”
Jonesstated: “The time was right for us to tell our own story for the first time in our own words, and I think that this film will really bring this story to life.”
No official release date has been announced for the documentary.
An officialLED ZEPPELINbook,“Led Zeppelin By Led Zeppelin”, came out in October.
The former home of one of the most notorious figures in the study of the occult and the mystical has gone up for sale. The fire-ravaged ruins of Boleskine House, the one-time residence of Aleister Crowley, have beenlisted for saleat £500,000 (around $650,000 USD).
Crowley, who called himself “The Great Beast” and was once called “the wickedest man in the world,” was an influential figure and author in the realm of ceremonial magick and the occult, inspiring countless followers to pursue the study of higher mysteries and the esoteric. Naturally, Crowley’s former residence Boleskine House is alleged to be haunted or cursed and was reportedly used for Satanistrituals and black magik ceremonies between 1899 – 1913.
Could any dark forces still linger on the property?
Given it’s history, it seems that way. Boleskine House sits on the southeastern shores of Loch Ness, itself an infamous location. Crowley owned the property until 1913, after which it was owned by Major Edward Grant whocommitted suicidein Crowley’s former bedroom with a shotgun. Following Grant’s death, legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page bought the property.
Jimmy Page was a collector of Crowley relics and writings and believed the site’s dark history would inspire his songwriting. The caretaker Page hired to live at the property reported paranormal experiences and terrifying encounters with what he described as “pure evil” while at Boleksine House. For reasons unknown, Page unceremoniously sold the property in 1992. Since then, the house has changed hands several times between privateowners and in 2015, over half of the housewas consumed by a fire, the cause of which was never determined.
The sale of Boleskine House is being managed by selling agent Galbraiths whodescribethe site as a former “gracious B listed Georgian house of historic note” offering the opportunity “to restore the house and grounds to create an outstanding property subject to obtaining the necessary consents.”
What will become of this notorious and seemingly cursed property?
Shadows and Light…the monolithic grandeur of Led Zeppelin IV looms large over the landscape of ’70’s (indeed, everything to the present) popular music. Combining the best hard rock, heavy metal, blues, folk, and classic rock, Led Zeppelin IV set a standard of excellence in rock that imitators have yet to replicate.
Jimmy Page’s production, vision, writing, and guitar magic were at their peak, as was the presence of the Golden God himself, Mr. Robert Plant.
Plant composed some of his best lyrics and sang like a man possessed.
John Paul Jones, always the unsung hero of the band, played bass, mandolin, electric piano, synthesizers, and recorders. Jones has always been one of the most underrated musicians among elite bands, but true fans know Zeppelin would not have been the same without him.
John Henry Bonham laid down the thunderous drums and kept the rhythms flowing in unexpected ways. His drum intro to When The Levee Breaks is the absolute blueprint for how rock drums should sound (and was sampled in about a million rap and hip-hop tracks back in the day).
Stairway To Heaven was the big masterpiece that became the most-played song in FM radio history, but Black Dog, Rock And Roll, Going To California, Four Sticks, and Misty Mountain Hop were all absolutely brilliant and perfectly executed.
I think Battle Of Evermore may be my favorite Zeppelin tune of all, just something so astonishing going on between Plant and Sandy Denny’s vocal duet; the acoustic guitars and mandolins, Lord Of The Rings inspirations…like a Renaissance fair comes to life every time I hear that song!
Houses Of The Holy by Led Zeppelin was the first rock album I ever purchased. I remember this because it literally changed my life and awakened the raging heavy metal maniac that had undoubtedly been awaiting its release since my birth! Released in 1973, Houses Of The Holy was an incredibly diverse album, featuring hard rock majesty, playful reggae, thunderous funk, a gorgeous ballad, a mysterious psychedelic viking jam, and generally immaculate playing and singing from the collective members of the mighty Zeppelin. From the first notes of the opening song on Side 1, the high energy The Song Remains The Same, all the way to the closing notes of The Ocean on Side 2, Led Zeppelin captivated my ears and imagination with such delicious sounds and ideas. I was hooked and I immediately began exploring their previous albums and began anticipating the release of Physical Graffiti. I never stopped listening to this band and on most days, if asked, I would more than likely name them my favorite band of all time.
On this date in history, 6/3/1988, one night after seeing an awesome Joe Satriani show, I traveled back to Indianapolis to my familiar concert home away from home, MSA.
This was a special one for me, as I was going to see one quarter of the mighty Led Zeppelin, the golden god himself…the one and only Robert Plant.
Robert had forged a successful solo career in the wake of Zeppelin’s demise following the death of John Bonham in 1980.
Now And Zen was his fourth and current album at that time and it contained several of the highlight tunes of the concert, like “Heaven Knows”, “Tall Cool One”, and “Ship Of Fools.”
Plant was in great voice and truly charming in his various song introductions.
Several times during the show, the band would tease us with a bit of a Zeppelin riff, but they stuck to the solo material exclusively, probably disappointing more than a few fans, but I personally thought it was a wise move. Not to mention the fact that Plant’s solo material was consistently top notch.
The Mission U.K. opened the show with a good set of English goth rock that was a nice fit with Plant’s style.
Sadly, I never saw Zeppelin, but seeing their singer on a great night was a pretty sweet consolation prize.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic
On this date in history, 4/26/1995, I saw exactly one half of Led Zeppelin in concert at Market Square Arena! More specifically, I witnessed Robert Plant and Jimmy Page perform together as Page and Plant, and it was majestic.
They had reunited to do an episode of MTV Unplugged and had released an album of reworked Zeppelin songs with both Western and Arab orchestras, mandolins, banjos, hurdy gurdies, and other exotic percussion instruments to add exciting new flavors and textures to those immortal compositions. The concert I saw featured all of these elements and resulted in a mesmerizing mixture of familiarity and imagination.
Always present was the sound of Plant’s voice and its mate in the form of Page’s iconic guitar tone. Robert has lost some of his range throughout the years, but the character and presence of that unmistakable bluesy wail, coupled with his formidable charisma and swagger as a front man par excellence was simply amazing.
Add Page’s guitar mastery and stage moves that match his singing brother step for step, and the results were like a musical bomb blast. I never got to see Zeppelin, but on this magical night, hearing them breathe new life into “Kashmir”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, “The Battle Of Evermore”, and so many others, was a dream come true. One of my most cherished concert memories for certain!
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”