|This song is acoustic. Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones played the
|Sandy Denny from Fairport Convention sang on this with Robert Plant.
Fairport Convention was a British folk group Zeppelin shared a bill with
|Denny was given a symbol on the album sleeve, 3 pyramids, to thank
her. The 4 members of Led Zeppelin each designed their own symbols for
|Jimmy Page wrote the music on a mandolin he borrowed from John Paul
Jones. He had never played the mandolin before.
|Plant wrote the lyrics after reading a book on Scottish history.
|Plant felt he needed another voice to tell the story. He was the
narrator and Sandy Denny represented the people as the town crier.
|Led Zeppelin rarely played this live, but when they did, John Paul
Jones sang Denny's part.
|Sandy Denny died in 1978 from a brain hemorrhage resulting from a
fall down the stairs. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
|Many J.R.R. Tolkien fans see the lyrics as a reference to his book
Return Of The King, where the lyrics could describe the Battle of
Pelennor ("The drums will shake the castle wall, The ring wraiths ride
in black"). Plant is a huge Tolkien fan, and referred to his books in
"Ramble On" and "Misty Mountain Hop." (thanks, Ollie C - Hampshire,
|A lot of this fits the battle of the Pelennor fields: "At last the
sun is shining, The clouds of blue roll by" - as Sauron's army and
influence advanced the sky darkened and when he lost this battle it
became light again. But a lot doesn't fit to that particular
battle/book, including the part about the angels of Avalon, as Avalon
was not from Tolkien's world but the legends of Merlin and King Arthur.
The song is not completely about that battle but there are references to
Lord Of The Rings things like Ringwraiths and most of the song
can be interpreted to be about it if you choose. (thanks, Caleb -
Christchurch, New Zealand)