Over the Hills and Far Away (Led Zeppelin song)

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"Over the Hills and Far Away"
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Houses of the Holy
B-side "Dancing Days"
Released 24 May 1973 (1973-05-24) (US)
Format Seven-inch 45 rpm record
Recorded 1972
Genre
Length 4:50
Label Atlantic (no. 2970)
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Rock and Roll" / "Four Sticks"
(1972)
"Over the Hills and Far Away" / "Dancing Days"
(1973)
"D'yer Mak'er" / "The Crunge"
(1973)
Audio sample
file info · help

"Over the Hills and Far Away" is the third track from English rock band Led Zeppelin's 1973 album Houses of the Holy. It was released as a single, with "Dancing Days" as the B-side, in the US.

Overview[edit]

Jimmy Page and Robert Plant originally constructed the song in 1970 at Bron-Yr-Aur, a small cottage in Wales where they stayed after completing a grueling North American concert tour.[3]

Page plays a six-string acoustic guitar introduction and repeats the theme with a 12-string acoustic guitar in unison. In an interview published in Guitar World magazine's November 1993 issue, Page commented on the construction of the song:

GW: There’s an acoustic guitar running throughout the song. Did you play a main acoustic and then overdub an electric?

Page: No, we played it through entirely as you know it, but I was playing electric.

GW: So you simply edited out of the beginning?

Page: Yeah, that’s right. “Presumably”. It sounds that way. It sounds like the acoustic is going straight through.

Plant's vocals enter on the next repetition. He tenderly offers himself to the "lady" who's "got the love [he] need[s]." The acoustic guitars build in a crescendo toward the abrupt infusion of Page's electric guitars along with drummer John Bonham's and bass guitarist John Paul Jones' rhythm accompaniment.

Through the pre-verse interludes and instrumental bridge, "Over the Hills and Far Away" stands out as an example of Jones and Bonham's tight interplay. Following the final verse, the rhythm section fades out, gradually replaced by the echo returns from Page's electric guitar and a few chords played by Jones on Clavinet.[4] In the final 8 bars, Page executes a linearly descending/ascending sequence and then concludes with the idiomatic V-I cadence on synth imitating a pedal steel guitar.

The song was released as Houses of the Holy's first US single, reaching #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, later becoming a staple of the classic rock radio format.

Set lists from Led Zeppelin concerts frequently contained "Over the Hills and Far Away", the song being one that the band introduced on stage well ahead of its studio release.[5] The live recording on How the West Was Won, a combined edit of the concerts on 25 and 27 June 1972, was the second public performance of the song. In his spoken introduction to the song before the 27 June 1972 performance in Long Beach, California, Robert Plant says "we did this song once before, the night before last at the Forum, and it was too much, really great." The band continued to play it on the rest of the 1972 concert tour of North America and retained it consistently through 1979, before omitting it from their final tour of Europe in 1980. In singing the song live in 1973 and later concerts, Plant often substituted the opening lyrics of the second verse ("Many have I loved, many times been bitten") with the opening lyrics of the third verse ("Many times I've lied, many times I've listened"). He also commonly followed the words "pocket-full of gold" with "Acapulco Gold" (a type of marijuana), as can be heard on the live album How the West Was Won. Also, at concerts guitarist Jimmy Page performed an extended guitar solo, which essentially consisted of the rhythm and lead guitar parts of the album version split into two separate pieces. This extended solo made the live renditions last seven minutes or more.

Archive footage of this track being performed live at Seattle in 1977 and at Knebworth in 1979 was used for an officially distributed video of the song, used to promote the 1990 Led Zeppelin Remasters release.[5] The video accompanied a CD single which was released following the successful "Travelling Riverside Blues" release.[6]

The song was first called "Many, Many Times", as shown on a picture of the original master on the Led Zeppelin website.[7]

Formats and tracklistings[edit]

1973 7" single (US/Australia/Finland/New Zealand/Philippines/Sweden: Atlantic 45-2970, Angola: Atlantic ATS 610, Brazil: Atco ATCS 10.062, Canada: Atlantic AT 2970, Greece: Atlantic 2091228, Holland: Atlantic ATL 10328, Italy: Atlantic K 10328, Japan: Warner Pioneer P-1237A, Mexico: Atlantic G-1210, Portugal: Atlantic ATL NS 28138, South Africa: Atlantic ATL 610, Spain: Atlantic HS 957, Yugoslavia: Atlantic ATL 26076)

  • A. "Over the Hills and Far Away" (Page, Plant) 4:47
  • B. "Dancing Days" (Page, Plant) 3:43

1973 7" radio edit (US: Atlantic 45-2970)

  • A. "Over the Hills and Far Away" [mono] (Page, Plant) 4:47
  • B. "Over the Hills and Far Away" [stereo] (Page, Plant) 4:47

1990 CD single (US: Atlantic PRCD 3717)

  • 1. "Over the Hills and Far Away" (Page, Plant) 4:47

Chart positions[edit]

Single[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak position
US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart[8] 51
US Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart[9] 28
US Record World 100 Top Pop Chart[10] 31
Canadian RPM Top 100 Chart[11] 63

Single (Digital download)[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak position
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs Chart[12] 63

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Houses of the Holy – Album Review". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ Downing, Brian. "Led Zeppelin: Over the Hills and Far Away – Song Review". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (2003). "Back to Nature". Q (Special Led Zeppelin ed.). p. 34. 
  4. ^ Tolinski, Brad; di Benedetto, Greg (January 1998). "Light and Shade: A Historic Look at the Entire Led Zeppelin Catalogue Through the Eyes of Guitarist/Producer/Mastermind Jimmy Page". Guitar World. 
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Dave (2003). Led Zeppelin: The 'Tight but Loose' Files: Celebration II (1st ed.). London: Omnibus Press. p. 62. ISBN 1-84449-056-4. 
  7. ^ "Led Zeppelin's official Website HOTH". Led Zeppelin. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 
  8. ^ "Hot 100 Singles - 28 July 1973". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-17. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 4 August 1973". Cash Box. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  10. ^ "Top 40 for 1973 - August 1973". Record World. Archived from the original on 2004-09-30. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  11. ^ "RPM Singles Chart - 4 August 1973". RPM. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  12. ^ "Hot 100 Digital Songs - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-19. [dead link]

External links[edit]