Ten Years Gone
|"Ten Years Gone"|
|Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Physical Graffiti|
|Released||24 February 1975|
|Physical Graffiti track listing|
Recording and production
Originally intended to be an instrumental piece, Jimmy Page used some 14 guitar tracks to overdub the harmony section. Robert Plant later added lyrics, which are dedicated to an old girlfriend who, ten years earlier, had made him choose either her or his music. Plant explained this in an interview he gave in 1975:
Let me tell you a little story behind the song "Ten Years Gone" on our new album. I was working my ass off before joining Zeppelin. A lady I really dearly loved said, "Right. It's me or your fans." Not that I had fans, but I said, "I can't stop, I've got to keep going." She's quite content these days, I imagine. She's got a washing machine that works by itself and a little sports car. We wouldn't have anything to say anymore. I could probably relate to her, but she couldn't relate to me. I'd be smiling too much. Ten years gone, I'm afraid. Anyway, there's a gamble for you.
In another interview, Plant credited Page with the song's intricate construction:
Jimmy is the man who is the music. He goes away to his house and works on it a lot and then brings it to the band in its skeletal state. Slowly everybody brings their personality into it. This new flower sort of grows out of it. "Ten Years Gone" was painstakingly pieced together from sections he'd written.
Some have speculated that this song was a variation of the never-released Led Zeppelin track "Swan Song", the name they chose for their own record label. However, bootlegs of the track Swan Song show no discernible resemblance to any part of Ten Years Gone.
Live versions of this song were performed on Led Zeppelin's 1977 concert tour of the United States. John Paul Jones originally played the melody on an acoustic guitar but then introduced an unusual triple-necked guitar that included a six-string, twelve string, mandolin, and bass pedals. Jimmy Page used his brown-painted 1953 Fender Telecaster, also known as 'Botswana Brown', featuring a Parsons and White B-string bender, where it originally had a maple neck with pearl dot inlays but in 1979 he salvaged the rosewood neck with clay dot inlays from his 1959 Fender Dragon Telecaster and he used it from then and on. The band again played the song on the first date of the concerts at Knebworth on 4 August 1979 which was also their last time playing it in concert. They cut it from their set on their second and final Knebworth appearance on 11 August, due to problems with the sound system.
Page and Plant performed this song once on their Japanese tour at Osaka on February 15, 1996. Page also performed this song on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999. In an interview he later gave to National Public Radio, Page commented on this collaboration with the Black Crowes:
We did "Ten Years Gone" and all of a sudden I heard all of the guitar parts that I had never heard apart from on record. We could never do all those guitar parts with just the one guitar with Led Zeppelin. It was fantastic.
A version of "Ten Years Gone" performed by Page and The Black Crowes can be found on the album Live at the Greek. Record producer Rick Rubin has remarked on the song's structure, "A deep, reflective piece with hypnotic, interweaving riffs. Light and dark, shadow and glare. It sounds like nature coming through the speakers."
Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes Single
|Chart (2000)||Peak position|
|US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart||33|
- Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
- Interview with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, January 1975
- Liner notes for the Led Zeppelin boxed set.
- National Public Radio, Guitar Legend Jimmy Page, June 2, 2003.
- The Playlist Special: Fifty Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10s. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
- "Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks - 2 September 2000". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-19.[dead link]