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Led Zeppelin's Lyrical Content Highly Under Rated


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Achilles Last Stand was certainly a masterpiece, I get goosebumps just listening to both the musical and lyrical aspects. One thing I have to ask is..why is everyone talking more about Plant, no one has mentioned Page who wrote just as much. There were only two songs he had no part in but it normally says page/plant, or page/plant/jones, page/plant/jones/bonham.

I presume bacuse this thread is about lyrical content and Plant is the vocalist.

Achilles is a totally awesome guitar tune...fabulous and extremely difficult to reproduce. Even with the musical score right in front and the whole tune laid out it is one of the hardest tunes to learn.

It's hard to imagine back in the day, a 3-4 hour live concert and JP just ripping through all those high powered songs, one after the other and then doing Achilles...mind boggling.

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Just so you know the Immigrant Song is about Vikings. No Quarter is about some people trying to end a war but have to go through the battle sites and some dangerous areas on their way to somehow stop a war. I guess that could be a slight LOTR reference because that's basically what Frodo and Sam went through but it's not as direct as some of the others I mentioned.

This just goes to show how much insight they had. The meanings can be specific and also universal at the same time. As most battle stories are...The Bhagavad Gita is also as such a battle.

A battle within ones own heart.

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This is one area where Led Zeppelin is not bashed too much, but I have read a few posts about this, and crtitics used to do their fare share of shoot-downs in regards to the lyrical content of LZ. I recall Rolling Stone's review of Physical Graffiti saying you wouldn't find much in the way of lyrical content in that album. So it occured to me, especially in that instance, that songs like "Kashmir", "Ten Years Gone", and "The Rover" (Just to name a few) were just over the heads of critics and bashers alike. Listen to the first verse of Kashmir...

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream

I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been

To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen

They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed

This is the kind of stuff that I say is too advanced for people who bash it. Yet bands like Pink Floyd (not bashing them, just using an example) are praised for lyrics like "We don't need no education.". Its an unfair double standard.

I sometimes even hear people bash Stairway To Heaven. Its been like the holy grail of Zep trivia to figure out exactly what it means. I've heard members talk about how happy they are that so many people interpret it in their own way, that is not the same as meaning...fill the meaning of the song with anything. A song of that caliber is easily shot down because many people are not qualified to interpret stuff that deep, they rather dismiss it as "filler content that ryhmes" and then try to shoot down people who defend the quality of the content as "looking for something that isn't there". Well people who think like that are not worthy of LZ's music. Neither are the high school rejects who rock the "Zeppelin 77 tour" T-Shirts yet couldn't name all four members or any songs beyond Stairway.

I just wish that critics and fans alike would gain a better and more accurate appreciation for the music.

I just wish that critics and fans alike would gain a better and more accurate appreciation for the music.

That will be difficult, until someone comes out with the "Led Zeppelin" dictionary!

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I'm not positive but I'm fairly sure Waters wrote just about all the lyrics post Syd.

Check out post-Barrett Floyd:

Division Bell

Momentary Laps of Reason

Some great lyrics on both those albums. Amazing. And David's solo work is incredible. He has some amazing lyrics.

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I happen to love the psychedelic zaniness of Barrett's lyrics, but I'll hop on back to subject ! ;)

I think comparing Robert to Bob Dylan is a futile exercise at best - comparing apples to oranges. One does not necessarily need to be *better* than the other. Both are very gifted "lyricists".

I have always been amazed at the imagery Robert's lyrics conjure up, and how beautifully congrous the lyrics are to the music IMHO. They do not need to be understood in any literal sense, but appreciated for the imagery, however you may interpret it.

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No offense to Bob Dylan, but Plant IS a better song writer. Not to unrate what Dylan has done, he's never touched anything of the caliber of Stairway.

Oh Come On !!! you've obviously not looked at Dylan's lyrics closely, I love stairway but Dylan wrote many songs with better lyrics, an example is "With God on Our Side" or even "Chimes of Freedom" those 2 songs really delve into the heart of humanity & make you stand back & think & to say stairway is better lyrically is a joke, something plant would probably acknowledge himself as I know he respects Dylan greatly.

I wasn't slagging plant off neither was I saying plant is a bad lyric writer at all he's just not one of the best, but he doesn't need to be there are so many other elements to Zep which made them Great.

I don't want to make this a competition of who's better than who, I love many artists from many genres, I don't have tunnel vision when it comes to music.


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I found this page on Zeppelin/ JRR Tolkien. It lists the references in the songs. If you don't want to go there check out the lyrics for The Battle of Evermore;


The Queen of Light took her bow

And then she turned to go,

The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom

And walked the night alone.

Oh, dance in the dark of night,

Sing to the morn-ing light.

The dark Lord rides in force tonight

And time will tell us all.

Oh, throw down your plow and hoe,

Rest not to lock your homes.

Side by side we wait the might

Of the darkest of them all.

I hear the horses' thunder

Down in the valley below,

I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon,

Waiting for the eastern glow.

The apples of the valley hold

The seeds of happiness,

The ground is rich from tender care,

Repay, do not forget, no, no.

Oh, dance in the dark of night,

Sing to the morning light.

The apples turn to brown and black,

The tyrant's face is red.

Oh the war is common cry,

Pick up you swords and fly.

The sky is filled with good and bad

That mortals never know.

Oh, well, the night is long

The beads of time pass slow,

Tired eyes on the sunrise,

Waiting for the eastern glow.

The pain of war cannot exceed

The woe of aftermath,

The drums will shake the castle wall,

The ringwraiths ride in black,

Ride on.

Sing as you raise your bow,

Shoot straighter than before.

No comfort has the fire at night

That lights the face so cold.

Oh dance in the dark of night,

Sing to the mornin' light.

The magic runes are writ in gold

To bring the balance back.

Bring it back.

At last the sun is shining,

The clouds of blue roll by,

With flames from the dragon of darkness

The sunlight blinds his eyes.

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Plant's writing is something that developed throughout his Zeppelin career, and continued to grow through his solo career. Regarding his Zep lyrics there were definitely moments of brillience. Some of the earlier Zep songs such as Communication Breakdown, You Shook Me, Whole Lotta Love, that may not lyrically compare to lets Say, Rain Song, Achilles, Stairway, but Zep really wasn't trying to send any special message there. Robert's lyrics generally got a lot deeper as Zep began to branch out from simply interpreting the blues. Lyrically, Zeppelin will never be side by side with Bob Dylan, but they were most definitely above average, and I think very underrated. They have a nice variety of lyrics that make you think, wonder, energize, groove, and relax. B)

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No offense to Bob Dylan, but Plant IS a better song writer. Not to unrate what Dylan has done, he's never touched anything of the caliber of Stairway.

Comparing Plant to Bob Dylan is like comparing apples to oranges.

With that being said, as much as I love Robert Plant's lyrics, Bob Dylan he is NOT.

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  • 1 month later...

Many songs of Led Zeppelin (or should I say almost everyone or really everyone of them) have great lyrics. Specially:

The Battle Of Evermore,


Stairway To Heaven,

Immigrant Song,

Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.

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c'mon peolpe be objective, Plant has some great moment lyrically in Zeppelin, and he has some corny one's too. I hate comparisons, but to say Plant was a more gifted lyricist than Bob Dylan? c'mon now. Dylan is not a legend because of his vocal abilities, that's for sure

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You can't write better shit than that. The sexual references go way overboard. I know he was influenced after hearing a Robert Johnson song but this is way overboard from Terraplane Blues. This song has some of the best sex references of any Zepp song.

A couple of other songs that I would like to mention are Thank You(which is the perfect wedding song IMO), The Ocean, Dancing Days, and Tea For One.

For some other great Robert Johnson lyrics, listen to "Phonograph Blues." One of my favorite RJ songs.

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No offense to Bob Dylan, but Plant IS a better song writer. Not to unrate what Dylan has done, he's never touched anything of the caliber of Stairway

This is the first post I've read on this board that has left me utterly speechless.

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