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FBG'S TOP 81 LED ZEPPELIN SONGS: #1 - When The Levee Breaks from Led Zeppelin IV (1971) (1 Viewer)

In The Zone

Footballguy
I don't remember the comments surrounding this. Four is a still a fair bit away from one in the grand scheme of things. It ended up almost 100 votes from first. I certainly hoped it would have ended up higher than 4th.
Just busting your chops a little. 😁

 

Dwayne Hoover

Footballguy
I love the beginning and the end of WLL, but the porn soundtrack in the middle just ruins it for me.  I cringe when it gets to that part.  Sometimes I hit skip. It's about the only LZ song where the radio cut is far better (IMO).
I'm a little ambivalent about that part but porn is not the first thing to come to mind.

Anyway the guitar and drums coming out of it is phenomenal and  makes it worth it.  Otherwise I'd say its a little meh

 

otb_lifer

Footballguy
I love the beginning and the end of WLL, but the porn soundtrack in the middle just ruins it for me.  I cringe when it gets to that part.  Sometimes I hit skip. It's about the only LZ song where the radio cut is far better (IMO).


the aural equivalent of horrid stomach discomfort, until the sweet relief of Bonzo's drums, a veritable release from the pain as you PLOP or, well ... geyser. 

:shrug:

 
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Ghost Rider

Footballguy
I had Whole Lotta Love at 7, which still seems about right, but I can live with it at 4.  Hearing this for the first time was quite the eye opener for me at 18. 

 

shuke

Black Ice Skeptic
As this countdown started I realized leaving Whole Lotta Love off my list was a huge oversight.  I had it at 26.  It should have been in over a couple I included.

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
shuke said:
As this countdown started I realized leaving Whole Lotta Love off my list was a huge oversight.  I had it at 26.  It should have been in over a couple I included.
A part of me feels the same, but while this is one of their 25 best it's not one of my 25 favorites. 

 

beer 30

Footballguy
They did that song so much justice. It was such a special tribute. I bet the previous performers were glad they didn't have to follow that. 
Somewhere in the pages of this thread I posted the full concert, which I had never seen before. It's an easy Youtube search if you're interested but the whole show was excellent. Think the whole thing is 20-30 min, 4-5 songs so doesn't take too long.

 

Anarchy99

Footballguy
Somewhere in the pages of this thread I posted the full concert, which I had never seen before. It's an easy Youtube search if you're interested but the whole show was excellent. Think the whole thing is 20-30 min, 4-5 songs so doesn't take too long.
The Kenndy Honors Performance that night was split between Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin. IIRC, Foo Fighters also played Black Dog, but I don't believe that was televised. And I believed they only aired half of Lenny Kravitz's version of WLL.

Most of the LZ Tribute Broadcast
Full Lenny Kravitz Unedited Performance

 

Anarchy99

Footballguy
#3 - Kashmir from Physical Graffiti (1975)

Appeared On: 49 ballots (out of 1,550 possible points . . .  79%)
Total Points: 819 points (out of 1,550 possible points . . .  52.8%)

#1 Rankers: @worrierking@Tom Servo@jwb@AAABatteries@DocHolliday@Binky The Doormat
Top 5 Rankers: @timschochet@beer 30@Rustoleum@Andrew74@joffer@BroncoFreak_2K3@lardonastick@Dennis Castro@Dr. Octopus@Sullie@gianmarco@Ilov80s@dhockster@zamboni
Highest Ranking: 1

Live Performances:
LZ: 103 (Bloomington - 1975-01-18Seattle - 1977-07-17Copenhagen - 1979-07-23Frankfurt - 1980-06-30, New York - 1988-05-14, London - 2007-12-10)
Page & Plant: 111 (MTV - 1994Glastonbury - 1995-06-25)
Plant: 1 (London - 2017-03-14)
Coverdale / Page: 7 (Osaka - 1993-12-21)

Covers: Marcin, Beth Hart, Dread Zeppelin, Great White, Lenny White, Michael White, Puff Daddy, Never The Bride, Angra, Bond, Iron Horse, Escala, Gregorian, Dave MatthewsMaya Beiser, Starset, Party BoysSpin 1ne 2woKevin GilbertOfra Haza, Luxt, Five FifteenIndian JewelryPaul Dianno, Heart, Alter Bridge, Dixie Dregs, Ordinaires, Lana Lane, David Garrett, Such A Surge, Bobby Yang, Monkey3, Grassmasters, Judith Mateo, Pianofy, Jane's Addiction, Forming The VoidExtreme Rhythm, Ben Harper, Eric Gales, Jon Anderson, Josh Groban, Ween, Billy Joel, Roger Daltry & Ann Wilson, Axel Bauer, Zepparella, Gentle Groove, String Cheese Incident, Ian Anderson, Public Image Ltd, Umphrey's McGee, Zebra, Zac Brown Band, Anathema

Ultimate Classic Rock Ranking (out of 92 songs): 3
Vulture Ranking (out of 74 songs): 1
Rolling Stone Ranking (out of 40 songs): 4
Louder Ranking (out of 50 songs): 2
Uproxx Ranking (out of 50 songs): 2
WMGK Ranking (out of 92 songs): 4
SPIN Ranking (out of 87 songs): 2
Ranker Ranking (out of 87 songs): 5
Anachronarchy Ranking (out of 80 songs): 2

Kashmir sets new records with six #1 votes, twenty Top 5 selections, and thirty Top 10 votes. While it started off slowly as people sent me their lists, it went on to have two streaks where it appeared on 13 ballots in a row both times. It almost took over the #1 spot overall but faded near the end over the last 10 ballots that came in. Collectively, it was the #1 song for the outside rankers. It was the only song to receive Top 5 votes from every outside ranker.

We bid adieu to Physical Graffiti, which ends up as out #4 album based on total points. Kashmir and Out On The Tiles are the only two songs in the Zeppelin catalog credited to Bonham, Page, and Plant. Over the years, Page has mentioned that Kashmir evolved from a conversation he had with author William Burroughs, who encouraged Page to further explore Eastern exoticism.

The song’s original title was called Driving to Kashmir. Page was also developing a song called Swan Song, and the two songs morphed into Kashmir. "I had that riff that everybody knows but there was still a lot of shaping to do,” Page said. “ But I knew that there was something that could work, and that really became obvious when Bonham and I started working on it during the first days at the studio. It just seemed to come to life. Nothing else sounded like Kashmir. It was was quite majestic, and it was just cool playing it.”

Plant wrote the lyrics in 1973 while driving through the Sahara Desert on the way to the National Festival of Folklore in Morocco . . . although Kashmir is a region in Southern Asia. Plant explained, “Kashmir came from a trip Jimmy and I made down the Moroccan Atlantic coast, from Agadir down to Sidi Ifni. We were just the same as the other hippies really.

I kept bumping up and down a desert track and there was nobody for miles, except a guy on a camel. The whole inspiration for the song came from the fact the road went on and on and on. It was a single-track road which cut neatly through the desert. It looked like you were driving down a channel. I thought, this is great, but one day . . . Kashmir. That’s my Shangri-La.”

The band collectively thinks Kashmir is one of, if not the, best LZ song. The signature guitar riff began as a tuning cycle Jimmy Page had been using for years. Kashmir is one of the few Zeppelin songs to use outside musicians. Session players were brought in for the string and horn sections. Page described, “I knew that this wasn't just something guitar-based. All of the guitar parts would be on there. But the orchestra needed to sit there, reflecting those other parts, doing what the guitars were but with the colors of a symphony.”

Manager Peter Grant recalled, "I remember Bonzo having me listen to the demo of Kashmir with only him and Jimmy. It was fantastic. What's funny is that after a first recording of the song, we found it sounded a bit like a dirge. We were in Paris, we had Atlantic listen to it, and we all thought it really sounded like a dirge, so we went searching for a Pakistani orchestra. Jonesy put it all together, and the final result was exactly what was needed. He was an exceptional arranger.”

Led Zeppelin archivist Dave Lewis called the song, “Unquestionably the most startling and impressive track on Physical Graffiti, and arguably the most progressive and original track that Led Zeppelin ever recorded. Kashmir went a long way towards establishing their credibility with otherwise skeptical rock critics. Many would regard this track as the finest example of the sheer majesty of Zeppelin's special chemistry.

Instrumental Version, Demo Version, Outtake, OuttakeDriving Through Kashmir (Kashmir Rough Orchestra Mix)2007 Rehearsal

As discussed a few times already, the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High shot a scene referencing the Led Zeppelin IV album, but Kashmir was the song used in the movie. At the time, Atlantic Records would not allow anyone to license anything from the fourth album, so the movie had to settle for Kashmir. The director opted not to reshoot the scene discussed the fourth album, and instead juxtaposed the two scenes without correcting the error.

The song was performed at almost every concert the band played since they introduced it in 1975, with one of the rare exceptions being their Live Aid performance.

Ultimate Classic Rock (3 of 92 songs): There were rock 'n' roll epics before Kashmir, and rock 'n' roll epics after Kashmir. But few pack the colossal wave of magnitude that towers over this eight-and-a-half-minute force of nature from the band's sixth album. It's almost prog in scope, and a sign of things to come on the next year's Presence LP.

Vulture (1 of 74 songs): When the band’s fourth album came out, Rolling Stone mentioned Stairway to Heaven only in passing. When, three years later, Physical Graffiti came out, a grudgingly positive lead review in the magazine praised Stairway to the stars — and dismissed Kashmir in an aside as “monotonous.” By this point, Page had plainly mastered the fast-slow, soft-hard dynamics of sound, with his guitar, in song construction, and in the studio. For Kashmir he decided to experiment with stasis. The song starts out at a high pitch and stays there, producing a hypnotic M.C. Escher staircase of a guitar riff; always moving upward, yet somehow always coming around to create itself again. And it’s all built on a herky-jerky beat that Bonham (dismissed as “plodding” in the Rolling Stone review) uses to drive the band forward. No other hard-rock band of the time recorded a song like this, and no other group ever would — and it’s probably the band’s most popular song after Stairway. A postscript: Remember the Sex Pistols, the band dedicated to tearing down the rock Establishment in general, and dinosaur rock bands like Zeppelin in particular, on the rise just as Physical Graffiti was released? Close to a decade after the Pistols’ demise, their escapee leader, John Lydon, debuted his new live ensemble, a cacophonous aggregation called Public Image Limited. They opened their shows with a stunner: a grand, precise, sweeping, and wholly admiring version of Kashmir — a potent example of the respect from unexpected quarters that accrues to those who, you might say, decide to be a rock, and not to roll. 

Rolling Stone (4 of 40 songs): It's their hugest-sounding track, partly because it was one of the few that used outside musicians – a string and brass corps that augmented Jones' Mellotron swirls, Bonham's druid storm-trooper processional and Page's Arabic-­Indian vibe ("I had a sitar before George Harrison," he said). Plant's lyrics were born from an endless car ride through southern Morocco, and his 15-second howl around the four-minute mark may be his most spectacular vocal moment. Plant called it "the definitive Zeppelin song."

Louder (2 of 50 songs): A mood of sustained mystery and menace pervades what is undoubtedly one of Zeppelin’s greatest achievements. The impact of Kashmir was immediate when the tune made its debut on the blockbuster double-album Physical Graffiti in March 1975. The pulsating, hypnotic Eastern theme married to the insistent rhythm and orchestrated backing resulted in a most innovative piece of work. Yet, just as Stairway took time to grow in stature, so Kashmir was greeted with doubt and foreboding. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

The song was originally called Driving To Kashmir. Robert Plant had been on holiday in Morocco, a desert kingdom nowhere near Kashmir. Plant told how he had written the lyrics while driving through the Spanish Sahara. Apart from the occasional camel, there was nothing to see for miles and the single track, sandy road seemed to go on forever. Robert dreamed one day the road might lead to his own personal Shangri-La, in Kashmir.

Jimmy Page had devised the main part on a demo he’d made with John Bonham. It was based on a guitar tuning he’d used before on tunes like White Summer and Black Mountain Side. Combined with an arrangement by John Paul Jones, it was enhanced by Page’s use of Moorish-sounding chords played on a Danelectro guitar and backed by session string players. Peter Grant, their manager and mentor, thought the new song was “a dirge”. It wasn’t like anything they’d ever written before, or anyone else for that matter. It was slow, ponderous and doomy, and flew in the face of contemporary trends in rock’n’roll. As an early example of music crossing over with world music, the band thought Kashmir was the highlight of their career. “It had all the elements that defined the band,” said John Paul Jones.

Uproxx (2 of 50 songs): Duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh.

WMGK (4 of 92 songs): Kashmir was the closest thing a hard rock band came to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. It’s the best example of Zeppelin at their most ambitious. It’s so good, we’ll even forgive the band for allowing Puff Daddy to rap over it for the 1998 track Come With Me (which actually featured Jimmy Page!) from the Godzilla soundtrack.

SPIN (2 of 87 songs): The song Led Zeppelin themselves would most like you to remember them by, and for good reason. The biggest song on their biggest album in the biggest stretch of their career, Kashmir was, obviously, Led Zeppelin’s ultimate too-big-to-fail moment: a plodding eight-and-a-half minute journey through a faraway land that Zeppelin themselves had never even been to, a song which was either going to define them as pretentious fops whose reach far exceeded their grasp, or simply, the greatest hard-rock band in the history of recorded music.

Naturally, it did the latter, as the song stands as their most singular, hypnotic and awesome-in-the-truest-sense epic of the band’s career — though they’d have their moments in the former category soon enough. Puff Daddy caught some heat when he sampled the song for the silly Come With Me off of the 1998 Godzilla soundtrack, but his instincts were right: The Kashmir riff is the sound of a gigantic green lizard wrecking a downtown metropolis, and like the rest of the song, it never ceases to amaze.

 
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Ghost Rider

Footballguy
That already showed up, it’s called In My Time of Dying.
No, no, it's the song now featured. 

I gave it a fresh listen last week and it was a chore to get through.  I get the love many have for it, but while I thought it was awesome when I first heard it on classic rock radio, it got old for me quickly as I got into more and more LZ.  I realized how many better songs they have than Kashmir.  Gun to my head, it probably is a better song than some that made my top 25 (Kashmir was unranked for me), but this is about favorites, and this simply is not one of my favorites.  It finished at 3 here, so I am in the minority, and that is okay. :cool:  

 

simey

Footballguy
I ranked this song #11. I love the big sound of it, and the inclusion of the orchestra. My favorite part in the song is when Plant starts singing the bridge, "All I see turns to brown."   I love the end of it when he sings, "Try to find, try to find the way I feeeeeel uh ahhh uh ahhhh."  

 
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krista4

Footballguy
That Beatles thread has like four people doing the work that he's doing himself over here.
Untrue and quite frankly offensive, but there’s no reason to compare the two.  This is a really fun thread!  @Anarchy99was a great participant in the Beatles thread, too, until he got too busy, and I hope he’ll be back when he has more time.

 

krista4

Footballguy
I didn't participate in the Beatles thread, but I probably should have. I have just been in a different musical head space lately, so the Beatles haven't got a lot of play with me in the last few years. 
You’re always welcome there.   :)   I’m excited to see your list in the new U2 countdown as well.

 

skol asylum

Footballguy
Had Kashmir lower at 17. In retrospect I should probably have had it a little higher.

My top 25 (consensus)

1. Dazed and Confused (5)
2. Since I've Been Loving You (15)
3. Whole Lotta Love (4)
4. The Rain Song (17)
5. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (10)
6. The Ocean (20)
7.
8. Travelling Riverside Blues (43)
9. Ten Years Gone (22)
10. Heartbreaker / Living Loving Maid (12)
11. Good Times Bad Times (11)
12. Over the Hills and Far Away (9)
13. What is and What Should Never Be (16)
14. Immigrant Song (8)
15. Ramble On (6)
16. Black Dog (7)
17.  Kashmir (3)
18.
19. Hey, Hey, What Can I Do (24)
20. Going to California (13)
21. In My Time of Dying (26)
22. Houses of the Holy (37)
23. Communication Breakdown (18)
24. I Can't Quit You Baby (50)
25. Your Time is Gonna Come (39)

The 5 consensus top 25 songs that didn't make my list:

Rock & Roll (14)
No Quarter (19)
The Battle of Evermore (21)
The Song Remains the Same (23)
Misty Mountain Hop (25)

 

Zegras11

Footballguy
I ranked this song #11. I love the big sound of it, and the inclusion of the orchestra. My favorite part in the song is when Plant starts singing the bridge, "All I see turns to brown."   I love the end of it when he sings, "Try to find, try to find the way I feeeeeel uh ahhh uh ahhhh."  
I had it at #11 also     :hifive:   Love the song, but always lose interest in it at the end. Too long.

 

simey

Footballguy
Two more to go. My #2 is really my 1b.  I'll just say it is one of the best intros to a song ever.

1   Going to California  (13)
2    
3    Ramble On  (6)
4    Tangerine  (28)
5    Your Time Is Gonna Come  (39)
6    Thank You  (30)
7    What Is and What Shall Never Be  (16)
8    Hey Hey What Can I Do  (24)
9    Good Times Bad Times  (11)
10  Down By The Seaside  (57)
11  Kashmir  (3)
12  Immigrant Song  (8)
13  Since I've Been Loving You  (15)
14  The Battle of Evermore  (21)
15  Babe I'm Gonna Leave You  (10)
16  Whole Lotta Love (4)
17  
18  In The Evening  (34)
19  Over the Hills and Far Away  (9)
20  Dazed and Confused  (5)
21  The Ocean  (20)
22  All of My Love  (44)
23  Misty Mountain Hop (25)
24  Trampled Under Foot  (31)
25  The Lemon Song  (40)

 

krista4

Footballguy
Oof, I disappeared from the U2 thread. Once the long countdown by the OP was done, I kind of put them on the backburner for a while. 


Did you submit a list?  It's not really active right now anyway because new lists aren't due until April 1.  But I spent last weekend reading the whole thread and enjoyed your posts; figured you'd be back in when the new countdown starts.  

 
Can we just say that this thread and the Beatles thread are both great and leave it at that?  
 

They are the two FFA threads that I’ve spent the most time in this year by a wide margin.  I’ve had fun and learned a lot of cool stuff in both.  I’m very thankful to all those responsible for putting them together.

 

Ghost Rider

Footballguy
Did you submit a list?  It's not really active right now anyway because new lists aren't due until April 1.  But I spent last weekend reading the whole thread and enjoyed your posts; figured you'd be back in when the new countdown starts.  
No.  Maybe I will peruse back over and check it out.  

 

Tom Servo

Nittany Beavers
Obviously, I had this as my #1.  This has an alluring, primal urge to it.  This is LZ at their very, very best.  In my mind, there are two other songs where this sound is repeated.  The first is the Rolling Stones Continental Drift from Steel Wheels. Around 2:40, the song picks up with the rhythmic drumming to a dizzying, almost sexual frenzy and then, 90 seconds later, it plateaus before coasting in to the finish.

Another song where this shows up for me is Whitesnake's Still of the Night, another song similar to Kashmir that has a long build, a frenetic build up before a release at the end.  While Kashmir and CD are subtle in their build up, Night is that same sentiment ratcheted up to 12.

A younger Servo used to blast SotN while driving home from a girlfriend's house at a high rate of speed on an early Sunday morning.  It was my Guardian Angel's weekly duty to make sure I didn't wrap myself around a utility pole.

 

Pip's Invitation

Footballguy
#3 - Kashmir from Physical Graffiti (1975)

Appeared On: 49 ballots (out of 1,550 possible points . . .  79%)
Total Points: 819 points (out of 1,550 possible points . . .  52.8%)

#1 Rankers: @worrierking@Tom Servo@jwb@AAABatteries@DocHolliday@Binky The Doormat
Top 5 Rankers: @timschochet@beer 30@Rustoleum@Andrew74@joffer@BroncoFreak_2K3@lardonastick@Dennis Castro@Dr. Octopus@Sullie@gianmarco@Ilov80s@dhockster@zamboni
Highest Ranking: 1

Live Performances:
LZ: 103 (Bloomington - 1975-01-18Seattle - 1977-07-17Copenhagen - 1979-07-23Frankfurt - 1980-06-30, New York - 1988-05-14, London - 2007-12-10)
Page & Plant: 111 (MTV - 1994Glastonbury - 1995-06-25)
Plant: 1 (London - 2017-03-14)
Coverdale / Page: 7 (Osaka - 1993-12-21)

Covers: Marcin, Beth Hart, Dread Zeppelin, Great White, Lenny White, Michael White, Puff Daddy, Never The Bride, Angra, Bond, Iron Horse, Escala, Gregorian, Dave MatthewsMaya Beiser, Starset, Party BoysSpin 1ne 2woKevin GilbertOfra Haza, Luxt, Five FifteenIndian JewelryPaul Dianno, Heart, Alter Bridge, Dixie Dregs, Ordinaires, Lana Lane, David Garrett, Such A Surge, Bobby Yang, Monkey3, Grassmasters, Judith Mateo, Pianofy, Jane's Addiction, Forming The VoidExtreme Rhythm, Ben Harper, Eric Gales, Jon Anderson, Josh Groban, Ween, Billy Joel, Roger Daltry & Ann Wilson, Axel Bauer, Zepparella, Gentle Groove, String Cheese Incident, Ian Anderson, Public Image Ltd, Umphrey's McGee, Zebra, Zac Brown Band, Anathema

Ultimate Classic Rock Ranking (out of 92 songs): 3
Vulture Ranking (out of 74 songs): 1
Rolling Stone Ranking (out of 40 songs): 4
Louder Ranking (out of 50 songs): 2
Uproxx Ranking (out of 50 songs): 2
WMGK Ranking (out of 92 songs): 4
SPIN Ranking (out of 87 songs): 2
Ranker Ranking (out of 87 songs): 5
Anachronarchy Ranking (out of 80 songs): 2

Kashmir sets new records with six #1 votes, twenty Top 5 selections, and thirty Top 10 votes. While it started off slowly as people sent me their lists, it went on to have two streaks where it appeared on 13 ballots in a row both times. It almost took over the #1 spot overall but faded near the end over the last 10 ballots that came in. Collectively, it was the #1 song for the outside rankers. It was the only song to receive Top 5 votes from every outside ranker.

We bid adieu to Physical Graffiti, which ends up as out #4 album based on total points. Kashmir and Out On The Tiles are the only two songs in the Zeppelin catalog credited to Bonham, Page, and Plant. Over the years, Page has mentioned that Kashmir evolved from a conversation he had with author William Burroughs, who encouraged Page to further explore Eastern exoticism.

The song’s original title was called Driving to Kashmir. Page was also developing a song called Swan Song, and the two songs morphed into Kashmir. "I had that riff that everybody knows but there was still a lot of shaping to do,” Page said. “ But I knew that there was something that could work, and that really became obvious when Bonham and I started working on it during the first days at the studio. It just seemed to come to life. Nothing else sounded like Kashmir. It was was quite majestic, and it was just cool playing it.”

Plant wrote the lyrics in 1973 while driving through the Sahara Desert on the way to the National Festival of Folklore in Morocco . . . although Kashmir is a region in Southern Asia. Plant explained, “Kashmir came from a trip Jimmy and I made down the Moroccan Atlantic coast, from Agadir down to Sidi Ifni. We were just the same as the other hippies really.

I kept bumping up and down a desert track and there was nobody for miles, except a guy on a camel. The whole inspiration for the song came from the fact the road went on and on and on. It was a single-track road which cut neatly through the desert. It looked like you were driving down a channel. I thought, this is great, but one day . . . Kashmir. That’s my Shangri-La.”

The band collectively thinks Kashmir is one of, if not the, best LZ song. The signature guitar riff began as a tuning cycle Jimmy Page had been using for years. Kashmir is one of the few Zeppelin songs to use outside musicians. Session players were brought in for the string and horn sections. Page described, “I knew that this wasn't just something guitar-based. All of the guitar parts would be on there. But the orchestra needed to sit there, reflecting those other parts, doing what the guitars were but with the colors of a symphony.”

Manager Peter Grant recalled, "I remember Bonzo having me listen to the demo of Kashmir with only him and Jimmy. It was fantastic. What's funny is that after a first recording of the song, we found it sounded a bit like a dirge. We were in Paris, we had Atlantic listen to it, and we all thought it really sounded like a dirge, so we went searching for a Pakistani orchestra. Jonesy put it all together, and the final result was exactly what was needed. He was an exceptional arranger.”

Led Zeppelin archivist Dave Lewis called the song, “Unquestionably the most startling and impressive track on Physical Graffiti, and arguably the most progressive and original track that Led Zeppelin ever recorded. Kashmir went a long way towards establishing their credibility with otherwise skeptical rock critics. Many would regard this track as the finest example of the sheer majesty of Zeppelin's special chemistry.

Instrumental Version, Demo Version, Outtake, Outtake, 2007 Rehearsal

As discussed a few times already, the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High shot a scene referencing the Led Zeppelin IV album, but Kashmir was the song used in the movie. At the time, Atlantic Records would not allow anyone to license anything from the fourth album, so the movie had to settle for Kashmir. The director opted not to reshoot the scene discussed the fourth album, and instead juxtaposed the two scenes without correcting the error.

The song was performed at almost every concert the band played since they introduced it in 1975, with one of the rare exceptions being their Live Aid performance.

Ultimate Classic Rock (3 of 92 songs): There were rock 'n' roll epics before Kashmir, and rock 'n' roll epics after Kashmir. But few pack the colossal wave of magnitude that towers over this eight-and-a-half-minute force of nature from the band's sixth album. It's almost prog in scope, and a sign of things to come on the next year's Presence LP.

Vulture (1 of 74 songs): When the band’s fourth album came out, Rolling Stone mentioned Stairway to Heaven only in passing. When, three years later, Physical Graffiti came out, a grudgingly positive lead review in the magazine praised Stairway to the stars — and dismissed Kashmir in an aside as “monotonous.” By this point, Page had plainly mastered the fast-slow, soft-hard dynamics of sound, with his guitar, in song construction, and in the studio. For Kashmir he decided to experiment with stasis. The song starts out at a high pitch and stays there, producing a hypnotic M.C. Escher staircase of a guitar riff; always moving upward, yet somehow always coming around to create itself again. And it’s all built on a herky-jerky beat that Bonham (dismissed as “plodding” in the Rolling Stone review) uses to drive the band forward. No other hard-rock band of the time recorded a song like this, and no other group ever would — and it’s probably the band’s most popular song after Stairway. A postscript: Remember the Sex Pistols, the band dedicated to tearing down the rock Establishment in general, and dinosaur rock bands like Zeppelin in particular, on the rise just as Physical Graffiti was released? Close to a decade after the Pistols’ demise, their escapee leader, John Lydon, debuted his new live ensemble, a cacophonous aggregation called Public Image Limited. They opened their shows with a stunner: a grand, precise, sweeping, and wholly admiring version of Kashmir — a potent example of the respect from unexpected quarters that accrues to those who, you might say, decide to be a rock, and not to roll. 

Rolling Stone (4 of 40 songs): It's their hugest-sounding track, partly because it was one of the few that used outside musicians – a string and brass corps that augmented Jones' Mellotron swirls, Bonham's druid storm-trooper processional and Page's Arabic-­Indian vibe ("I had a sitar before George Harrison," he said). Plant's lyrics were born from an endless car ride through southern Morocco, and his 15-second howl around the four-minute mark may be his most spectacular vocal moment. Plant called it "the definitive Zeppelin song."

Louder (2 of 50 songs): A mood of sustained mystery and menace pervades what is undoubtedly one of Zeppelin’s greatest achievements. The impact of Kashmir was immediate when the tune made its debut on the blockbuster double-album Physical Graffiti in March 1975. The pulsating, hypnotic Eastern theme married to the insistent rhythm and orchestrated backing resulted in a most innovative piece of work. Yet, just as Stairway took time to grow in stature, so Kashmir was greeted with doubt and foreboding. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

The song was originally called Driving To Kashmir. Robert Plant had been on holiday in Morocco, a desert kingdom nowhere near Kashmir. Plant told how he had written the lyrics while driving through the Spanish Sahara. Apart from the occasional camel, there was nothing to see for miles and the single track, sandy road seemed to go on forever. Robert dreamed one day the road might lead to his own personal Shangri-La, in Kashmir.

Jimmy Page had devised the main part on a demo he’d made with John Bonham. It was based on a guitar tuning he’d used before on tunes like White Summer and Black Mountain Side. Combined with an arrangement by John Paul Jones, it was enhanced by Page’s use of Moorish-sounding chords played on a Danelectro guitar and backed by session string players. Peter Grant, their manager and mentor, thought the new song was “a dirge”. It wasn’t like anything they’d ever written before, or anyone else for that matter. It was slow, ponderous and doomy, and flew in the face of contemporary trends in rock’n’roll. As an early example of music crossing over with world music, the band thought Kashmir was the highlight of their career. “It had all the elements that defined the band,” said John Paul Jones.

Uproxx (2 of 50 songs): Duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh, duh duh duh.

WMGK (4 of 92 songs): Kashmir was the closest thing a hard rock band came to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. It’s the best example of Zeppelin at their most ambitious. It’s so good, we’ll even forgive the band for allowing Puff Daddy to rap over it for the 1998 track Come With Me (which actually featured Jimmy Page!) from the Godzilla soundtrack.

SPIN (2 of 87 songs): The song Led Zeppelin themselves would most like you to remember them by, and for good reason. The biggest song on their biggest album in the biggest stretch of their career, Kashmir was, obviously, Led Zeppelin’s ultimate too-big-to-fail moment: a plodding eight-and-a-half minute journey through a faraway land that Zeppelin themselves had never even been to, a song which was either going to define them as pretentious fops whose reach far exceeded their grasp, or simply, the greatest hard-rock band in the history of recorded music.

Naturally, it did the latter, as the song stands as their most singular, hypnotic and awesome-in-the-truest-sense epic of the band’s career — though they’d have their moments in the former category soon enough. Puff Daddy caught some heat when he sampled the song for the silly Come With Me off of the 1998 Godzilla soundtrack, but his instincts were right: The Kashmir riff is the sound of a gigantic green lizard wrecking a downtown metropolis, and like the rest of the song, it never ceases to amaze.
My rank: 10

My friend’s rank: 20

Epic, moving and every bit as innovative as the best Beatles’ experiments in the 60s. The riffage is unforgettable and the orchestral arrangement is a stunner. I get a little burned out on it from time to time, but it’s one of those songs that offers surprises even when you’re hearing it for the squillionth time. 

My friend loves fusion of Eastern music with Western, and prog when it’s done really well, so I’m not surprised this is also a favorite of his.

 

[scooter]

Footballguy
#3 - Kashmir from Physical Graffiti (1975)

The song’s original title was called Driving to Kashmir. Page was also developing a song called Swan Song, and the two songs morphed into Kashmir.
"Swan Song" was an unfinished composition which later became the basis for "Midnight Moonlight" by The Firm.

Page's original idea was to have it be a 20-minute epic, featuring multiple segments, with only sparse vocals from Plant. He recorded an unfinished home demo in 1973 which runs about an hour (starting at 1:02:30 of this link). The following year, Zep laid down an instrumental track for part of the song, which can be heard here. If you don't have the patience for 60 minutes of Page's noodling, then you might be interested in this fan reconstruction, which combines the 1974 Zep recording with the best bits from Page's home demo.

Anyway, Plant never wrote vocals for it, so the concept went on the shelf until Page and Paul Rodgers resurrected it in 1983.

 

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