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"high hopes hailla ball"?


subhemia
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so...this has been debated elsewhere, endlessly. what i wanna know is - has anyone ever asked mr. plant this question on a call-in radio show or interview that we know of? surely, surely there is an actual answer to this question. zeppelin lyrics are not as vague and silly as most people seem to think - and i find it impossible to believe that no one who was actually in zeppelin could possibly remember what the actual lyric was intended to be.

of course i have a favorite - " - or it's hell i'm headed for" - someone else mentioned plant being late for the birth of his daughter. but that's not conclusive.

so come on folks. i want to actually know. i sing this song to MY daugher, and i'm getting really tired of fudging that line every time.

ps and don't anybody give me any crap about what it says on the album cover. everybody knows that's not what he sings.

Edited by subhemia
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so...this has been debated elsewhere, endlessly. what i wanna know is - has anyone ever asked mr. plant this question on a call-in radio show or interview that we know of? surely, surely there is an actual answer to this question. zeppelin lyrics are not as vague and silly as most people seem to think - and i find it impossible to believe that no one who was actually in zeppelin could possibly remember what the actual lyric was intended to be.

of course i have a favorite - " - or it's hell i'm headed for" - someone else mentioned plant being late for the birth of his daughter. but that's not conclusive.

so come on folks. i want to actually know. i sing this song to MY daugher, and i'm getting really tired of fudging that line every time.

ps and don't anybody give me any crap about what it says on the album cover. everybody knows that's not what he sings.

It's the hailla high hopes ball. Its just a confusion in the order of the words. No bigger mystery than that.

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It's the hailla high hopes ball. Its just a confusion in the order of the words. No bigger mystery than that.

ah, you are sadly mistaken. if you listen very very closely to even the studio version, you will see that not a single one of those words are actually uttered. and to compound the confusion, all available live versions appear to be slightly different, although still none of them are "high hopes hailla ball".

it does appear that the word "hellhound" is in there, but what the two syllables following are remains a mystery. i was actually hoping someone might have heard mr. plant himself answer this question directly - i find it impossible to imagine that, after all the call-in radio q&a's he's done, no one has ever asked him this one thing. unfortunately there is, as far as i know, no "bibliography" to consult for such information.

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ah, you are sadly mistaken. if you listen very very closely to even the studio version, you will see that not a single one of those words are actually uttered. and to compound the confusion, all available live versions appear to be slightly different, although still none of them are "high hopes hailla ball".

it does appear that the word "hellhound" is in there, but what the two syllables following are remains a mystery. i was actually hoping someone might have heard mr. plant himself answer this question directly - i find it impossible to imagine that, after all the call-in radio q&a's he's done, no one has ever asked him this one thing. unfortunately there is, as far as i know, no "bibliography" to consult for such information.

I'm not sadly mistaken. I asked Robert Plant.

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Which begs the question, what is the "hailla high hopes ball?"

Possible partial explanation here:

"... in a page on Old Norse it says that the word 'holy' is related to the word 'health', and moreover to the Old Norse word 'heilla', which means 'to invoke spirits'."

http://inamidst.com/notes/hailla

LOL, all my life I've tried to fit "for the girl I wrote this for" in there even though it's a poor lyric. I was desperatetly trying to relate it to having a date with someone, which at least means something in English. :)

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Thanks Knebby! :D

Did you ask him where the 'hailla' comes from? Is it actually supposed to be Old Norse (if so then I believe it's not spelled right)? Old Norse is practically just Icelandic. And the word 'heill' or 'heilla' can mean either a charm or happiness.

We had a discussion about this not very long ago, and I never could get that supposed reference to Robert Johnson's 'hellhound' to make any sense in the context of the song's lyrics.

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Thanks Knebby! :D

Did you ask him where the 'hailla' comes from? Is it actually supposed to be Old Norse (if so then I believe it's not spelled right)? Old Norse is practically just Icelandic. And the word 'heill' or 'heilla' can mean either a charm or happiness.

We had a discussion about this not very long ago, and I never could get that supposed reference to Robert Johnson's 'hellhound' to make any sense in the context of the song's lyrics.

Nah Otto, on this ocassion I didn't get the chance for an in-depth answer, but I will try to remember to try for that in the future - I find it very interesting too! :)

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Plant will never admit the "lift" from Robert Johnson. You all know that Robert's fascination with Chicago and Delta Blues was a big part of early Zeppelin lyrics. Especially, Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson. I've never met RP and Id never question Knebby's integrity, but the lyric does contain the word "Hellhound" (according to my ears and a million listens). Just my lame oinion...nothing more.

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Well, when Knebby posted that it convinced me right away - and it always sounded to me like he said 'ball' at the end of that line. Just nice to know Robert actually says this. Here's the earlier thread we had about this topic: Old Thread

Basically, the problem I always had with the insertion of a 'hellhound' reference was not only that it seemed hard to figure out a sentence that made any sense in the context, but mainly this: Robert Plant KNEW his blues quite well, and certainly was very familiar with Robert Johnson's work. But that also means he wouldn't ever quote THAT one lightly. It's the darkest, most melancholic, most lyrical blues you'll ever find - and Johnson's delivery is haunting by itself. A very special moment, definitely, and an intensely personal statement. Here again are the actual lyrics:

HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL

I got to keep movin'

I've got to keep movin'

blues falling down like hail

blues falling down like hail

Umm mmm mmm mmm

blues falling down like hail

blues falling down like hail

And the days keeps on worryin' me

there a hellhound on my trail

hellhound on my trail

hellhound on my trail

If today was Christmas eve

If today was Christmas eve

and tomorrow was Christmas day

If today was Christmas eve

and tomorrow was Christmas day

- aow, wouldn't we have a time, baby?

All I would need my little sweet rider just

to pass the time away, huh huh

to pass the time away

You sprinkled hot foot powder, mmm

mmm, around my door

all around my door

You sprinkled hot foot powder

all around your daddy's door, hmm hmm hmm

It keep me with ramblin' mind, rider

every old place I go

every old place I go

I can tell the wind is risin'

the leaves tremblin' on the tree

tremblin' on the tree

hmmm hmmm hmm

All I need's my little sweet woman

and to keep my company, hey hey hey hey

my company.

I just don't (and actually never could) see how a reference to THIS could ever make sense within the context of 'The Ocean' - which is a very happy song, 'the ocean' being a metaphor for LZ's audiences, etc. I can't see anything in the rest of the song's lyrics that could possibly make sense of such a quote.

By the way, JP1977 - no reason at all for Robert to deny 'the lift', if there indeed was one. It's no crime to make a simple reference. B)

Edited by Otto Masson
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Not here to argue. RP's lyrics have mostly been about sounding great, not necessarily "making sense". The first two albums were full of Willie Dixon lyrics and it took years for acknowledgment. Probably partially due to Robert's contractual agreements that stifled his songwriting credits.

Robert Johnson lyrics were VERY COMMON right around the time that "The Ocean" was written. Much of PG was written about the same time. Robert was and still seems to be steering clear of any "satanist" type (using this term VERY LOOSELY) of connections because of the scrutiny Jimmy was under around '76 and after.

I yield to Knebby, she would know better than I, just a fan.....

....so you don't hear the word 'hellhound"?

....just wondering.... :D

Well, when Knebby posted that it convinced me right away - and it always sounded to me like he said 'ball' at the end of that line. Just nice to know Robert actually says this. Here's the earlier thread we had about this topic: Old Thread

Basically, the problem I always had with the insertion of a 'hellhound' reference was not only that it seemed hard to figure out a sentence that made any sense in the context, but mainly this: Robert Plant KNEW his blues quite well, and certainly was very familiar with Robert Johnson's work. But that also means he wouldn't ever quote THAT one lightly. It's the darkest, most melancholic, most lyrical blues you'll ever find - and Johnson's delivery is haunting by itself. A very special moment, definitely, and an intensely personal statement. Here again are the actual lyrics:

HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL

I got to keep movin'

I've got to keep movin'

blues falling down like hail

blues falling down like hail

Umm mmm mmm mmm

blues falling down like hail

blues falling down like hail

And the days keeps on worryin' me

there a hellhound on my trail

hellhound on my trail

hellhound on my trail

If today was Christmas eve

If today was Christmas eve

and tomorrow was Christmas day

If today was Christmas eve

and tomorrow was Christmas day

- aow, wouldn't we have a time, baby?

All I would need my little sweet rider just

to pass the time away, huh huh

to pass the time away

You sprinkled hot foot powder, mmm

mmm, around my door

all around my door

You sprinkled hot foot powder

all around your daddy's door, hmm hmm hmm

It keep me with ramblin' mind, rider

every old place I go

every old place I go

I can tell the wind is risin'

the leaves tremblin' on the tree

tremblin' on the tree

hmmm hmmm hmm

All I need's my little sweet woman

and to keep my company, hey hey hey hey

my company.

I just don't (and actually never could) see how a reference to THIS could ever make sense within the context of 'The Ocean' - which is a very happy song, 'the ocean' being a metaphor for LZ's audiences, etc. I can't see anything in the rest of the song's lyrics that could possibly make sense of such a quote.

By the way, JP1977 - no reason at all for Robert to deny 'the lift', if there indeed was one. It's no crime to make a simple reference. B)

Edited by JimmyPage1977
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I yield to Knebby, she would know better than I, just a fan.....

....so you don't hear the word 'hellhound"?

....just wondering.... :D

I'm a fan too!

I don't hear the word "Hellhound" - same as I don't hear " Of Satan and man" in "Houses of the Holy" - I think sometimes you hear what you expect to hear.

But we all know Robert is a tease and can be obtuse. He may well have things he's hiding. B)

Edited by Knebby
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Not arguing with you either, JP1977 - not at all. Just a discussion, that's all. I don't really think I ever heard him sing 'hellhound' - but I did think it sounded quite like that earlier, yep. The reason I find it convincing that he's actually singing 'hailla high hopes ball' is because it's not a stretch from the official lyrics, and think about it, if you hit those notes while singing 'hailla' it'll sound quite a bit similar to 'hellhound', won't it? Just not as pronounced. :)

Edited by Otto Masson
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Nah Otto, on this ocassion I didn't get the chance for an in-depth answer, but I will try to remember to try for that in the future - I find it very interesting too! :)

Can you ask Robert if he liked my No Quarter video clip?

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=WpjLM5bfWpY

I serioulsy think he'd like it, and if he doesn't, Jimmy would have to...

Here are some reviews: B)

"This video is among the most obscure, strange, beautiful and haunting, I've ever seen."

"an uncanny masterpiece"

Now I've gotten through that lovely bit of self-promotion, I'd like to add that I'm working on another top-secret Led Zep video clip that should be equally arresting...providing I can find enough of the particular footage that I need.

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I'm not sadly mistaken. I asked Robert Plant.

then mr. plant is having you on. not one of the words "hailla", "high", or "hopes" is uttered, either in studio or in live versions. listen closely. mess with the EQ so the vocal sticks out. if robert plant told you that, either he doesn't remember himself or he's tired of the question.

i would not have asked this question in the first place were the answer that simple.

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then mr. plant is having you on. not one of the words "hailla", "high", or "hopes" is uttered, either in studio or in live versions. listen closely. mess with the EQ so the vocal sticks out. if robert plant told you that, either he doesn't remember himself or he's tired of the question.

i would not have asked this question in the first place were the answer that simple.

What a pompous answer. You keep on telling me to listen to this song as if I never have. I've been listening to it for over 30 years and am perfectly happy with what I hear.

You seem to have a little trouble accepting that there are view other than your own - even Robert Plant's.

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i apologize if i'm being pompous. i have been listening to the song since it was first released on vinyl as well. it has always been one of my favorites. the problem with songs one listens to that much is (as i have discovered with numerous songs) the lyrics i got in my head in the beginning become so entrenched i have trouble hearing them any other way, whether my ears were correct the first time or not. this is true of most people and many songs. no offense intended, but it appears to be true of yourself as well.

it only came to my attention recently (it was pointed out to me by wikipedia and a number of other sources) that there is a discrepancy between the lyric sheet and the record on that one line of lyric. upon painfully careful listening, i reached the conclusion that none of the words on the lyric sheet for that one line actually appear on the studio - or any known - recording of the song. that is not a "view", as you so delicately put it, it is a fact that is inarguable. plant does NOT sing "high hopes hailla" or "hailla high hopes" or "hopes hailla high" or any other variant of that phrase. not one of those words could possibly be what he is saying. you could be plant, page, jesus or god, and i'm not gonna suddenly decide, just because you said so, that the evidence of research and my own ears is at fault.

what IS arguable is just what he DOES say there. i have a feeling, upon comparing various versions, that he actually always said the same thing there - but plant's enunciation is so peculiar that it's nearly impossible to tell what it is. i have reached the conclusion that the word "hellhound" is almost certainly the first two syllables (and it doesn't seem like such a stretch to me to fit a hellhound reference into this song, especially for zeppelin - it would be only one of numerous instances where the sublime and the infernal appear almost interchangeable in their lyrics), but i'll be damned (ha ha) if i can figure out the rest of the line. all i can tell you for certain is what it is NOT.

at any rate, and in conclusion (how's that for pompous?), i am giving up and will have to settle for making up my own version of the line, which i think the members of zep would be perfectly ok with. as i said, i sing it to my daughter; also i intend to perform it in my band. it would sure be nice if there was any actually helpful information about that line of lyric, but i guess if i can't get a "final answer" that actually makes sense here, of all places, then i'd best give up.

ciao.

What a pompous answer. You keep on telling me to listen to this song as if I never have. I've been listening to it for over 30 years and am perfectly happy with what I hear.

You seem to have a little trouble accepting that there are view other than your own - even Robert Plant's.

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Which begs the question, what is the "hailla high hopes ball?"

Possible partial explanation here:

"... in a page on Old Norse it says that the word 'holy' is related to the word 'health', and moreover to the Old Norse word 'heilla', which means 'to invoke spirits'."

I think in the discussion we had with Otto last year, that this is where we arrived. It's been corroborated that it was misprinted on the album sleeve, so we can let that go. As for live referneces, just look at IMTOD. Sometimes it's Oh my Jesus, sometimes Oh Georgina, and over time many other permutations. Afterall, referncing a boot from 1975, I highly doubt Plant would be telling Jesus to go "lick your pussy yeah", but he nonetheless tossed that in. I believe that would have been for Georgina (or a girl in the front row he spied). Regardless, Robert was always fluid, and who knows what was going through his mind on any given day. In the end, I'm more inclined to go with Norse mythology, particularly during that time. Robert Johnson notwithstanding, IMO, it just doesn't fit the spirit of the song. Why call out hellhounds when celebrating the "ocean" of fans in the houses of the holy? I'll go with celebration and the invoking of good spirits. The Ocean is not a blues.

Edited by Evster2012
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I think in the discussion we had with Otto last year, that this is where we arrived. It's been corroborated that it was misprinted on the album sleeve, so we can let that go. As for live referneces, just look at IMTOD. Sometimes it's Oh my Jesus, sometimes Oh Georgina, and over time many other permutations. Afterall, referncing a boot from 1975, I highly doubt Plant would be telling Jesus to go "lick your pussy yeah", but he nonetheless tossed that in. I believe that would have been for Georgina (or a girl in the front row he spied). Regardless, Robert was always fluid, and who knows what was going through his mind on any given day. In the end, I'm more inclined to go with Norse mythology, particularly during that time. Robert Johnson notwithstanding, IMO, it just doesn't fit the spirit of the song. Why call out hellhounds when celebrating the "ocean" of fans in the houses of the holy? I'll go with celebration and the invoking of good spirits. The Ocean is not a blues.

Lovely post. I see no reason to invoke hellhounds in that song, either, it's totally out of context. Maybe not as far out of context as telling Jesus to lick his pussy, but... :blink::D

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The Ocean is not a blues.

actually, it is a blues. a weird one, but a blues nonetheless. there is not a chord in it that strays far from standard blues format.

the opening riff is in A....the verses are in D...and the ending bit brings in an E chord. the standard format has been stretched out a bit, but it is still the underlying structure of the song.

not that that means anything in terms of lyrical content, of course. there are "happy" blues too.

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