MiddleEarthBlog: Led Zeppelin and LOTR


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Led Zeppelin and LOTR

One of my favorite groups of all times (Led Zeppelin} were devoted followers of Professor Tolkiens works. Just listen to their fourth album(They still made albums back in 1971). There are Tolkien references throughout the album such as the song "Misty Mountain Hop" and references to Gollum the evil one who crept up and slipped away with her.My favorite is the song "Battle of Evermore" with references to LOTR and the Arthurian legends, we hear mentions of Avalon and of the Queen of Light(Galadriel) and other tolkien characters as well as events.The guitarist(Jimmy Page) and the lead singer(Robert Plant) at that time were heavily into mysticism both good and bad(Alistaire Crowley) and wrote several songs to reflect their love for Tolkien literature. On the Battle of Evermore , Page was experimenting with a Mandolin and said the song just burst from him.Plant felt that the song required something extra and for the first and I believe last time they brought in another Artist to assist on the vocals.The tune for this was written by guitarist Jimmy Page at Headley Grange while he was experimenting on the mandolin owned by bassist John Paul Jones.[1][ As Page explained in 1977:

"Battle of Evermore" was made up on the spot by Robert [Plant] and myself. I just picked up John Paul Jones's mandolin, never having played a mandolin before, and just wrote up the chords and the whole thing in one sitting.[3]

Vocalist Robert Plant had recently been reading about Scottish folklore and this inspired him to compose the lyrics to this song.. The song, like some others by the group, makes references to The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Plant felt he needed another voice to tell the story and for the recording of this song folk singer Sandy Denny was invited to duet with Plant. Denny was a former member of British folk group Fairport Convention, with whom Led Zeppelin had shared a bill in 1970 at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. Plant played the role of the narrator and Denny represented the town crier. Page elaborated:
The song sounded like an old English instrumental first off. Then it became a vocal and Robert did his bit. Finally we figured we'd bring Sandy by and do a question-and-answer-type thing.
To thank her for her involvement, Denny was given the symbol on the album sleeve of three pyramids (the four members of Led Zeppelin each chose their own symbols for the album). This is the only song Led Zeppelin ever recorded with a guest vocalist. In an interview he gave in 1995 to Uncut magazine, Plant stated:
For me to sing with Sandy Denny was great. We were always good friends with that period of Fairport Convention. Richard Thompson is a superlative guitarist. Sandy and I were friends and it was the most obvious thing to ask her to sing on "The Battle of Evermore". If it suffered from naivete and tweeness—I was only 23—it makes up for it in the cohesion of the voices and the playing.
Some people argue that the song had nothing to do with LOTR or Tolkien.I would ask you to read the lyrics below and tell me if  you have ever heard of Ringwraiths outsThe LOTR                                                         Queen of Light took her bow and then she turned to go (Galadriel?)
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom and walked the night alone

Oh, dance in the dark night, sing to the morning light
The Dark Lord rides in force tonight, and time will tell us all  (THE DARK LORD hmmm)

Oh, throw down your plow and hoe, race now to my bow

Side by side we wait the might, of the darkest of them all

I hear the horses thunder down in the valley below (The Rohirrim?)
I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon, waiting for the eastern glow

The apples of the valley hold the seeds of happiness
The ground is rich from tender care, which they do not forget, no, no
Dance in the dark night, sing to the morning light

The apples turn to brown and black, the tyrant's face is red

Oh, war is the common cry, pick up your swords and fly
The sky is filled with good and bad, mortals never know

Oh well, the night is long, the beads of time pass slow
Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow

The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath
The drums will shake the castle wall, the Ringwraiths ride in black (ride on) (Yup, Ringwraiths)

Sing as you raise your bow, (ride on) shoot straighter than before
No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold

Oh, dance in the dark night, sing to the morning light
The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back, bring it back (Reference to the One Ring?)

At last the sun is shining, the clouds of blue roll by
With flames from the dragon of darkness, the sunlight blinds his eyes

Oh, bring it back, bring it back                                            

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