Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

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"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is a folk song written by Anne Bredon (then known as Anne Johannsen) in the late 1950s. It was recorded by Joan Baez (credited and becoming widely popular as "traditional") and released on her 1962 album Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1; and by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, who included it on their 1969 debut album Led Zeppelin.

Other interpretations of the Bredon song include versions by The Plebs (1964 Decca Records UK/MGM Records USA, credited "Traditional, arranged Dennis"),[1][2] The Association in 1965 (also doing a live version in 1970), and British pop singer Mark Wynter in 1965 (credited "Janet Smith").[3][4] Quicksilver Messenger Service recorded a variation of the song in 1967, which was covered by Welsh band Man on their album Maximum Darkness, recorded live at the Roundhouse on 26 May 1975.

Joan Baez version[edit]

Whilst a student at UC-Berkeley in around 1960, Anne Bredon appeared on a live folk-music radio show The Midnight Special on radio station KPFA, on which she sang "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You".[5] A fellow folk singer who guested on The Midnight Special, Janet Smith, took up the song and developed it further, playing it live at hootenanny folk-song events at Oberlin College, one performance of which was attended by Joan Baez.[5] Baez requested Smith to send her a recording of her songs, including "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You", which Baez subsequently began performing herself. It became the opening track on Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1.[5] Initially, the song had no writers' credit, but after Smith contacted Bredon, who confirmed her authorship, later pressings of ...In Concert gave the writing credit to Bredon.[6]

Led Zeppelin version[edit]

"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"
Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin
Released 12 January 1969
Recorded October 1968
Genre Blues rock, folk rock, hard rock[7]
Length 6:42
Label Atlantic
Writer Anne Bredon, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin track listing
"Good Times Bad Times"
(1)
"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"
(2)
"You Shook Me"
(3)
Audio sample
file info · help

The band covered Baez's version: both guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant were fans of Baez. Baez's album had originally indicated no writing credit, and Led Zeppelin credited the song as "Trad. arr. Page". In the 1980s Bredon was made aware of Led Zeppelin's version of the song and since 1990 the Led Zeppelin version has been credited to Anne Bredon/Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: Bredon received a substantial back-payment of royalties.[6][8] Led Zeppelin's version is in A minor.

Page played the song to Plant at their first meeting together, at Page's riverside home at Pangbourne in late July 1968.[8] It is sometimes stated[by whom?] that the arrangement evolved when Plant played Page the guitar part that eventually appeared on the album but, in an interview he gave with Guitar World magazine in 1998, Page denied this, noting that he had worked out the arrangement long before he met Plant, had told him he would like it on the album, and that Plant at that time did not play the guitar.[9]

Page may have recorded another version of the song with Steve Winwood in 1968, which was never released.[10] The band played this song at Led Zeppelin concerts on its 1969 concert tours, then Page and Plant brought it back in a 9-minute version for their 1998 reunion. A live, filmed performance of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", from Led Zeppelin's gig on Danmarks Radio at Gladsaxe, Denmark, on March 17, 1969, is featured on the Led Zeppelin DVD (2003).

At the 1:41 mark of Led Zeppelin's version of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", it is possible to hear Plant singing, "I can hear it calling me" just before he sings the same line in full volume: bleed from Plant's scratch vocal appears on the drum tracks, which were recorded with the full band.

Record producer Rick Rubin has remarked, "It ["Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"] is a song with a classical nature that also really rocks. It really takes you on a trip."[11]

As a result of touring in the US and watching various Led Zeppelin cover bands and other artists perform this song, Robert Plant performed the song with his band Strange Sensations and as a solo artist. He also covered the song on his tour with The Sensational Spaceshifters.

Formats and tracklistings[edit]

1969 7" promo 45 edition (US: Atlantic EP 1019)

  • A. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (Bredon, Page, Plant) 6:41
  • B. "Dazed and Confused" (Page) 6:26

1969 7" single edition (Greece: Atlantic 2019 003)

  • A. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" (Bredon, Page, Plant) 6:41
  • B. "How Many More Times" (Page) 8:28

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions with credits Bredon/Page/Plant[edit]

Samples[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Label information
  2. ^ Copyright information
  3. ^ Label information
  4. ^ Catalog information
  5. ^ a b c Janet Smith, "The 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' Story," in The Gate at the End of the World: A Collection of Songs by Anne Bredon (Bella Roma Music, 1991), pp. vii-x.
  6. ^ a b "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" at The Originals Project
  7. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-05-12. 
  8. ^ a b Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
  9. ^ Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, "Light and Shade", Guitar World, January 1998.
  10. ^ Steve Winwood Fans' Site: Collaborations & Sessions: Unreleased Material
  11. ^ The Playlist Special: Fifty Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10s. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 January 2011.

Sources[edit]

  • Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
  • Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 1-56025-818-7

External links[edit]