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porgie66

All My Love - story behind the song?

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Posted (edited)

I just did a drum cover for my YouTube channel on All My Love.  I listened to it a lot the last few days to nail down the drum part and it got me thinking about the depth of the song, lyrically. I know that it's supposed to be about Robert's feelings in the aftermath of his son Karac's death, but has Robert ever really talked about the song? I find it to be one of his most poignant and best written lyrics. The line "proud Aryan, one word my will to sustain" was always interesting to me, but mainly because I was ignorant to what an Aryan was. I thought it referred to him being a blond European but I later learned that the Aryans were a nomadic Indian people who settled in what is now Northern India, Pakistan and Iran. I read Robert's mother is actually of Roma ( Gypsy)  descent, not sure if she is Eastern Roma or European. So I wondered if that's what he is referring to in that line. 

If anyone has more specific info on this song and some of the metaphors in the lyrics I'd love to hear your thoughts/interpretation. I also have read that Jimmy in particular didn't care for the song and there was some contention about recording and playing it. I think many fans have wrongly maligned it as "soft rock", but I really think it's a standout song , on several counts. Robert's vocal is excellent all around. The guitar parts are really beautifully nuanced , with great layering and Bonzo's playing was outstanding ( he always was anyway). He plays the drum part with a deep, heavy feeling that perfectly compliments the longing and sadness of the lyric. It's a prime example of how Bonzo was so much more than just a timekeeper, he really was a consummate musician, who could create such a soulful feeling with his drumming. Lastly, the extended version with the guitar solo and Bonzo's epic fills is so much better than the fade out of the actual album version. It's pure gold for those last couple minutes. 

Edited by porgie66

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I love this song with my only criticism being I wish the keyboards had gone more for a psychedelic and heavier vibe (IMHO). I agree Bonzo drumming is remarkable subtle and lyrical. Roberts voice is amazing and I do like the minimal feel of Jimmy's guitar. An underrated track.  

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6 hours ago, porgie66 said:

the extended version with the guitar solo and Bonzo's epic fills is so much better than the fade out of the actual album version. It's pure gold for those last couple minutes. 

This!

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14 hours ago, porgie66 said:

I know that it's supposed to be about Robert's feelings in the aftermath of his son Karac's death, but has Robert ever really talked about the song? I find it to be one of his most poignant and best written lyrics. The line "proud Aryan, one word my will to sustain" was always interesting to me, but mainly because I was ignorant to what an Aryan was. I thought it referred to him being a blond European but I later learned that the Aryans were a nomadic Indian people who settled in what is now Northern India, Pakistan and Iran. I read Robert's mother is actually of Roma ( Gypsy)  descent, not sure if she is Eastern Roma or European. So I wondered if that's what he is referring to in that line. 

It's a deeply personal song about Robert coming to terms with his child's untimely death. The concept is that divine beings weave the reality of human life like a tapestry of threads, and that even when a thread seems to go nowhere there may yet be a deeper meaning to the story of human life. One can see how any life, even one made cruelly short by fate, is still significant and present because it is part of the tapestry and has as such has some meaning in it. 

Ariane is the French form of the Greek name Ariadne, who saves Theseus by giving him a ball of thread so he could go into the labyrinth, slay the Minotaur and find his way back out. Ariane's thread leads through the maze and out of it. Plant sees himself lost in the maze (or tapestry) because he can't see where the thread of his sons life has lead, cut off as it seems to be before its time, but if only he could have a word from the proud Ariane that his son's thread is really part of the tapestry, he would have the faith to accept that while he has no answer to his grief, that an answer is there somewhere, and that his son's life was more than a feather in the wind. Ariane's thread is also a term in logic that refers to a certain way of figuring out puzzles by thinking through every possibility.

If you review the lyrics carefully you will see that weaving and threads are an integral part of the imagery. 
 

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4 minutes ago, SteveAJones said:

It's a deeply personal song about Robert coming to terms with his child's untimely death. The concept is that divine beings weave the reality of human life like a tapestry of threads, and that even when a thread seems to go nowhere there may yet be a deeper meaning to the story of human life. One can see how any life, even one made cruelly short by fate, is still significant and present because it is part of the tapestry and has as such has some meaning in it. 

Ariane is the French form of the Greek name Ariadne, who saves Theseus by giving him a ball of thread so he could go into the labyrinth, slay the Minotaur and find his way back out. Ariane's thread leads through the maze and out of it. Plant sees himself lost in the maze (or tapestry) because he can't see where the thread of his sons life has lead, cut off as it seems to be before its time, but if only he could have a word from the proud Ariane that his son's thread is really part of the tapestry, he would have the faith to accept that while he has no answer to his grief, that an answer is there somewhere, and that his son's life was more than a feather in the wind. Ariane's thread is also a term in logic that refers to a certain way of figuring out puzzles by thinking through every possibility.

If you review the lyrics carefully you will see that weaving and threads are an integral part of the imagery. 
 

Great post Steve, thanks

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That was great info Steve about Ariane and makes a lot of sense!

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On 7/20/2018 at 5:05 PM, SteveAJones said:

It's a deeply personal song about Robert coming to terms with his child's untimely death. The concept is that divine beings weave the reality of human life like a tapestry of threads, and that even when a thread seems to go nowhere there may yet be a deeper meaning to the story of human life. One can see how any life, even one made cruelly short by fate, is still significant and present because it is part of the tapestry and has as such has some meaning in it. 

Ariane is the French form of the Greek name Ariadne, who saves Theseus by giving him a ball of thread so he could go into the labyrinth, slay the Minotaur and find his way back out. Ariane's thread leads through the maze and out of it. Plant sees himself lost in the maze (or tapestry) because he can't see where the thread of his sons life has lead, cut off as it seems to be before its time, but if only he could have a word from the proud Ariane that his son's thread is really part of the tapestry, he would have the faith to accept that while he has no answer to his grief, that an answer is there somewhere, and that his son's life was more than a feather in the wind. Ariane's thread is also a term in logic that refers to a certain way of figuring out puzzles by thinking through every possibility.

If you review the lyrics carefully you will see that weaving and threads are an integral part of the imagery. 
 

Thanks for this, I really appreciate the insight. I didn't make the association with Ariadne though I am familiar with Theseus' story. I really thought the proud Aryan (Arianne) may have been a reference to Maureen Plant who was of Indian descent, and the will to sustain was a reference to them as a couple being able to weather the loss and heal, or just himself to be able to reweave the cloth (go on with life anew after the loss).  This theme of the thread running through all things - the tapestry of life- is similar to the Norns in Norse mythology, who weave the destiny of the Gods and men as well. The metaphors amd symbolism in the lyric make for a beautiful ode to trying to cope with the grief of his loss. I really think this was his most substantive lyric , more so than Stairway or That's The Way which are often cited as his best. 

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3 hours ago, porgie66 said:

Thanks for this, I really appreciate the insight. I didn't make the association with Ariadne though I am familiar with Theseus' story. I really thought the proud Aryan (Arianne) may have been a reference to Maureen Plant who was of Indian descent, and the will to sustain was a reference to them as a couple being able to weather the loss and heal, or just himself to be able to reweave the cloth (go on with life anew after the loss).  This theme of the thread running through all things - the tapestry of life- is similar to the Norns in Norse mythology, who weave the destiny of the Gods and men as well. The metaphors amd symbolism in the lyric make for a beautiful ode to trying to cope with the grief of his loss. I really think this was his most substantive lyric , more so than Stairway or That's The Way which are often cited as his best. 

As with many Plant lyrics, other interpretations and that one in particular (Aryan) arguably fits to a degree or on some level, however when one really thinks about it...not so much. I need to dig out my vintage ITTOD songbook and confirm how the lyric was published. I don't think it's published as Aryan but don't quote me on that. 

All Of My Love is his most substantive lyric, certainly more so than Stairway to Heaven, though it does contain a nod from the bard Plant to the bard Tolkien to the bard Shakespeare:

"...all that glitters is gold..." -- Robert Plant (1971)

"...all that is gold does not glitter..." -- J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)

"...all that glisters is not gold..." -- William Shakespeare (1596-1599)

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Posted (edited)

Indeed, Steve, given the earlier 'thread' line and Robert's love of mythology, I always thought the reference was to Ariadne.
If it was 'aryan', wouldn't Robert, being English, pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with 'airy', rather than 'harry'?
Although, I guess he could've deliberately twisted the pronunciation to obscure the lyric and make it more ambiguous.
It'll be interesting to have it confirmed one way or the other from the ITTOD songbook.  


    

Edited by Brigante

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20 hours ago, Brigante said:


If it was 'aryan', wouldn't Robert, being English, pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with 'airy', rather than 'harry'?
Although, I guess he could've deliberately twisted the pronunciation to obscure the lyric and make it more ambiguous.


    

I think singing “proud Aryan” pronounced like that might have brought about a few comments regarding the Nazis!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, babysquid said:

I think singing “proud Aryan” pronounced like that might have brought about a few comments regarding the Nazis!

Indeed, which is another reason it's inconceivable to me that it could be 'Aryan', no matter what the pronunciation.
With his interest in mythology and the ancient world, Robert could certainly have been aware of the origin of 'Aryan' as it relates to the Indo-Europeans,
so I suppose there could be a vague reference to Maureen there.
But to most people who grew up in the second half of the 20th century, like Robert, 'Aryan' has only one notorious connotation - and Maureen's not a blue-eyed Nordic blonde, after all. 
It honestly never crossed my mind that Robert might have sung 'Aryan', until people began suggesting it in posts on here a few years ago.
I can't see it - whereas the Ariadne association seems clear.  
Still, always happy to be proved wrong and it will be good to find out for sure.
Thinking about it, though, if it does prove to be 'Arianne', isn't the reference still likely to be to Maureen - who, just as Ariadne led Theseus out of Minos's labyrinth,
perhaps led Robert out of the maze of despair after Karac's death?
Makes sense - but doesn't mean it's right!
Interesting, this.
 

Edited by Brigante

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2 hours ago, Brigante said:

Thinking about it, though, if it does prove to be 'Arianne', isn't the reference still likely to be to Maureen - who, just as Ariadne led Theseus out of Minos's labyrinth, perhaps led Robert out of the maze of despair after Karac's death?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but they were divorced within five years of it being written, so I would say no. 

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1 hour ago, SteveAJones said:

they were divorced within five years of it being written, so I would say no. 

Good point!

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1 hour ago, SteveAJones said:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but they were divorced within five years of it being written, so I would say no. 

Not necessarily. The loss of a child can be absolutely devastating on even the strongest of marriages. Even the most enlightened of us can fall victim to blame and resentment under such circumstance. She very well could have been Robert's savior, but then later became resentful. Anything is possible.

My theory is that Maureen did in fact help Robert through this, especially as Robert pretty much stated at the time that Zep was all but over and he was through with the music biz. I figure the problems started when Robert decided to go back to Zep and especially tour again. Maureen was likely thinking enough is enough.

Just a theory

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2 hours ago, IpMan said:

Not necessarily. The loss of a child can be absolutely devastating on even the strongest of marriages. Even the most enlightened of us can fall victim to blame and resentment under such circumstance. She very well could have been Robert's savior, but then later became resentful. Anything is possible.

My theory is that Maureen did in fact help Robert through this, especially as Robert pretty much stated at the time that Zep was all but over and he was through with the music biz. I figure the problems started when Robert decided to go back to Zep and especially tour again. Maureen was likely thinking enough is enough.

Just a theory

Seriously though, although he did return to touring he was adamant that it be for no more than a month at a time. Consequently, Over Europe '80 and the ill-fated US tour were each one month.

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4 hours ago, SteveAJones said:

Seriously though, although he did return to touring he was adamant that it be for no more than a month at a time. Consequently, Over Europe '80 and the ill-fated US tour were each one month.

Yes, however you are forgetting studio time as well, an upcoming American tour which never happened, and then Robert jumping into a solo career within months of the end of Zeppelin.

I don't know if you have ever been married Jonsey but typically, when a woman has had enough, she has HAD ENOUGH. Which means if she wanted Robert to live the more sedate life, she would likely demand NO touring, NO leaving the country without her etc.

Women will only put up with so much before they call it a day. I don't care how rich or how good looking you are, most women will indeed leave yo ass at some point.

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I don't think the fact that they split within 5 years of the song means anything at all... He could have felt that way at the time but a LOT can happen in 5 years (or 1 year). I always thought the lyric was "Arianne" - I hadn't realized the comparison to Greek mythology but it makes sense. I had a friend in high school named Arianne so that was always the connection for me. We all called it "her" song, LOL

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Posted (edited)
On ‎7‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 10:39 PM, IpMan said:

Women will only put up with so much before they call it a day. I don't care how rich or how good looking you are, most women will indeed leave yo ass at some point.

Especially if he'd started nobbing her sister again, I guess...
Seriously, though, on reflection, yes, I agree - a bond that was strong in 1977/78 could well have been strained and broken by 1981/82. 
 
 

Edited by Brigante

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Posted (edited)

"The tides have caused the flame to dim..."  Has always struck me as being about the loss of their marriage. I'm surprised to finally know the timeline...

Edited by chef free

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For my money, Plant's lyrics on Presence and ITTOD are the best he has written. He is really saying a lot on these two albums. Especially ITTOD. All My Love, I'm Gonna Crawl, In The Evening and in particular Carouselambra, which Plant himself said ".....I rue it so much now, because the lyrics on ‘Carouselambra’ were actually about that environment and that situation. The whole story of Led Zeppelin in its latter years is in that song…and I can't hear the words."

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3 hours ago, morningson said:

For my money, Plant's lyrics on Presence and ITTOD are the best he has written. He is really saying a lot on these two albums. Especially ITTOD. All My Love, I'm Gonna Crawl, In The Evening and in particular Carouselambra, which Plant himself said ".....I rue it so much now, because the lyrics on ‘Carouselambra’ were actually about that environment and that situation. The whole story of Led Zeppelin in its latter years is in that song…and I can't hear the words."

I've long wondered whether Page knew exactly what the lyrics were about, hence why Plant's voice is so far down in the mix.

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^ Man, the lyrics to Carouselambra are so ambiguous that the vocals could have been pushed up much higher in the mix and it wouldn't have made a difference in deciphering what these lyrics are about, or not about. I seriously can't imagine Page purposely burying the vocals in order to prevent the listener from hearing what is probably Plant's most vague and ambiguous lyrics ever.

Yes, Plant says "the whole story of LZ in its latter years is in that song", and if thats the case, he certainly disguised it to the point that only he himself could really know what these lyrics were about. The reason I think Plants vocals were placed directly in the mix as opposed to above it is because it is undoubtably the weakest vocal track on the album in relation to the other songs. They're very mysterious, but not really put together that well (much like the song itself) IMHO. I've always viewed Carouselambra as a bold experiment musically. The lyrics for me are always an afterthought when it comes to Zeppelin. 

The delivery, attitude and vibe are the only things that 'really' matter. Too much thinking can be a bad thing :)

 

 

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