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Bron-Yr-Aur (Welsh for "golden hill", "breast of the gold" or "hill of the gold"; Welsh pronunciation: [brɔn.ər.aɪr]), sometimes misspelled as Bron-Y-Aur, is a privately owned 18th-century cottage, on the outskirts of Machynlleth, Wales, and best known for its association with the English rock band Led Zeppelin.
The cottage was used during the 1950s by the family of future-Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant as a holiday home. In 1970, Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page spent time there after a long and gruelling concert tour of North America. Though the cottage had no running water or electricity, they used it as a retreat to write and record some of their third album, Led Zeppelin III. People at the cottage during this time were Plant's wife Maureen and 18-month-old daughter Carmen, Page's girlfriend Charlotte Martin, and Led Zeppelin roadies Clive Coulson and Sandy MacGregor.
Page has explained that:
Robert (Plant) and I went to Bron-Yr-Aur in 1970. We'd been working solidly right up to that point. Even recordings were done on the road. We had this time off and Robert suggested the cottage. I certainly hadn't been to that area of Wales. So we took our guitars down there and played a few bits and pieces. This wonderful countryside, panoramic views and having the guitars ... it was just an automatic thing to be playing. And we started writing.
According to the guitarist, the time spent at Bron-Yr-Aur in 1970
...was the first time I really came to know Robert [Plant]. Actually living together at Bron-Yr-Aur, as opposed to occupying nearby hotel rooms. The songs took us into areas that changed the band, and it established a standard of travelling for inspiration... which is the best thing a musician can do.
Led Zeppelin songs which can be traced to Plant and Page's time at Bron-Yr-Aur in 1970 include "Over the Hills and Far Away" and "The Crunge" (both from Houses of the Holy), "The Rover", "Bron-Yr-Aur" and "Down by the Seaside" (from Physical Graffiti), "Poor Tom" (from Coda) and three they actually used on Led Zeppelin III: "Friends", "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" and "That's the Way". There were also two songs recorded, called "Another Way To Wales" and "I Wanna Be Her Man", which never found their way onto an official Led Zeppelin album. A primitive recording of the latter of these can however be heard on bootleg label Antrabata's studio outtakes sessions.
When on-stage for Page and Plant's Unledded reunion in 1994, Plant announced to the audience that Page's daughter, Scarlet Page, was conceived "about half an hour" after "That's the Way" was written at Bron-Yr-Aur.
Led Zeppelin used the name of the house in the title of their songs: "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" (the name of the house being accidentally misspelled on the album cover), and "Bron-Yr-Aur". "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" is a country music inflected hoedown on Led Zeppelin III, in which Robert Plant waxes lyrical about walking in the woods with Strider, his blue eyed merle dog. Contrastingly, "Bron-Yr-Aur" is a gentle, acoustic instrumental by Page on the six-string guitar, which appeared on the later album Physical Graffiti and in the film The Song Remains the Same.
"Bron-Y-Aur" is also the name of the secret instrumental track at the end of Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, the third album from Coheed and Cambria. The track has a similar sound to the Led Zeppelin song of the same title.
- Phil Sutcliffe, "Back to Nature", Q Magazine Special Led Zeppelin edition, 2003, p. 34.
- Nigel Williamson, "Good Times...Bad Times", Uncut, May 2005, p. 54.
- "I first met Jimmy on Tolworth Broadway, holding a bag of exotic fish...", Uncut, January 2009, p. 43.
- Liner notes by Cameron Crowe for The Complete Studio Recordings
- Led Zeppelin Live - Outtakes Rehearsels Soundchecks