Misty Mountain Hop
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|"Misty Mountain Hop"|
|Single by Led Zeppelin|
|from the album Led Zeppelin IV|
8 November 19712 December 1971 (7" single release date)
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Recorded||December 1970–March 1971|
|Led Zeppelin singles chronology|
"Misty Mountain Hop" is a song from English rock band Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album, released in 1971. In the United States and Australia it was the B-side of the "Black Dog" single, but still received considerable FM radio airplay. It was recorded at Headley Grange, a mansion with a recording studio in Hampshire, England, where the band sometimes lived.
Musically the song is a medium tempo rocker which begins with bassist John Paul Jones playing the electric piano. It is notable for the presence of layered guitar and keyboard parts, making it solidly melodic, and is driven by one of drummer John Bonham's most powerful recorded performances in the studio. The song features a memorable riff, on which Page and Jones harmonize using keyboard and guitar. This repeating riff, heard on the bass guitar, is based on the notes A G E and sounds like a funk rock bassline. At 2:11, in the second half of the second verse, the band members briefly fall out of sync with one another. However, the musicians felt that the rest of the take was too good to discard it.
The most common interpretation of the song's title seems to be a reference to the Misty Mountains in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. The lyrics refer to the events of the 7 July 1968 "Legalise Pot Rally" in Hyde Park, London, in which police made arrests for marijuana possession. References to the work of Tolkien also exist in other Led Zeppelin songs, such as "The Battle of Evermore", "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp", and "Ramble On".
The group's recording of this song also appeared as the sole Led Zeppelin track in the 1997 Time-Life 6-CD boxed set, Gold And Platinum: The Ultimate Rock Collection, marking one of the rare times that a Led Zeppelin recording has been released in a commercially-issued various artists compilation.
"Misty Mountain Hop" debuted at the show in Copenhagen on the 1971 Led Zeppelin European Tour and was regularly played live at Led Zeppelin concerts from late 1972 through 1973, often linking directly into "Since I've Been Loving You" (as can be seen on the Led Zeppelin DVD). This portion of the DVD was also part of the band's legendary performance at Madison Square Garden in 1973 on the film The Song Remains the Same. It was also played at the band's two performances at Knebworth in 1979. For the second of the two performances, Jimmy used a 1977 Gibson RD Artist, due to a broken string on his main Les Paul. The surviving members of the band additionally performed the song at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham filling in on drums for his late father, and again with Jason at Robert Plant's daughter's 21st birthday party the following year. "Misty Mountain Hop" was also performed at Led Zeppelin's reunion show at the O2 Arena, London on 10 December 2007.
Robert Plant performed a version of the song on his solo tours. Jimmy Page performed the song on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999. Although not included on their original album Live at the Greek, a version of "Misty Mountain Hop" can be found as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the album released in 2000.
Formats and tracklistings
See "Black Dog" single.
- Robert Plant – vocals
- Jimmy Page – guitars
- John Paul Jones – bass guitar, electric piano
- John Bonham – drums
- 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
- Schuman, Michael A. (2009). Led Zeppelin: Legendary Rock Band. Enslow Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7660-3026-8. "The fourth album also has its share of hard rock tracks. Three that received a lot of radio airplay are “Black Dog,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” and the appropriately named “Rock and Roll.”"
- Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
- Williamson, Nigel (2007). The Rough Guide to Led Zeppelin. London: Rough Guides. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-8435-3841-7.
- Robert Plant himself, in Vox, May 1993, page 18, stated, "The self-indulgence, the silly over-the-top Tolkien-esque stuff... John made it everlasting.".