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JRR Tolkien in the songs of Led Zeppelin


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Some of the lyrics in "Ramble On", "The Battle of Evermore" and the title "Misty Mountain Hop" are some of the references to Tolkein that Robert Plant used in his writing. I think there are a couple more but I am sure someone else will let you know........

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This is the typical, but anyway... in the first book (the fellowship of the ring) Bilbo Baggins says:

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

well, part of this is in Stairway to heaven, at least the part of the glitter is gold.

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I think the way Zeppelin used Tolkien was pretty good. They were able to make allusions without losing a wider audience. A lot of metal bands today will record whole concept albums about the Silmarillion which to be honest seems a bit cheesy. "Ramble On" is not a song just about Frodo or Bilbo, it's a "wandering" song, and it uses allusions to strengthen that theme instead of JUST being a song about hobbits.

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I think the way Zeppelin used Tolkien was pretty good. They were able to make allusions without losing a wider audience. A lot of metal bands today will record whole concept albums about the Silmarillion which to be honest seems a bit cheesy. "Ramble On" is not a song just about Frodo or Bilbo, it's a "wandering" song, and it uses allusions to strengthen that theme instead of JUST being a song about hobbits.

I agree with you. While the song makes allusion to Tolkien:

T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.

But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her .... yeah.

Has another meaning, as you say, it's a "wandering" song.

(if I understood correctly).

Edited by Page&Harrison<3
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Plant is pretty embarassed by the Tolkien references nowadays. Did you notice how he sang "Gollum" under his breath when he during Ramble On at the 02 show (and the rehearsal, though less so)? I'm pretty sure if you didn't already know that was the lyric, you would not hear it.

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Plant is pretty embarassed by the Tolkien references nowadays. Did you notice how he sang "Gollum" under his breath when he during Ramble On at the 02 show (and the rehearsal, though less so)? I'm pretty sure if you didn't already know that was the lyric, you would not hear it.

There's no evidence of that.

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No evidence that he is embarassed by the Tolkien references? Fair enough - though I would argue there is strong circumstantial evidence:

For example, Plant recently said (emphasis added): "I struggle with some of the lyrics from particular periods of time. The musicality and construction of (Stairway) is peerless. Maybe I didn't quite feel the same about the lyrics a little bit later on in life, further on down the road..." Such comments (and there are others) combined with what seems to me to be a clear effort to obscure the Tolkien references when he sings them, I supposed I should say I think he is embarassed by them...

Note: this does not mean I think he should be embarassed by the references - after all, I've read LOTR at least 20 times, plus the complete History of Middle Earth (12 Volumes), Silmarillion, Books of Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales, Letters of JRR Tolkien, and assorted critiques and biographies (Sibley, etc). And he can downplay that stuff all he wants now, but I love the references.

Edited by GDzep
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