The Battle of Evermore

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"The Battle of Evermore"
Song by Led Zeppelin from the album Led Zeppelin IV
Released 8 November 1971 (1971-11-08)
Recorded December 1970 – March 1971
Genre Folk[1][2][3]
Length 5:52
Label Atlantic
Writer
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin IV track listing
"Rock and Roll"
(2)
"The Battle of Evermore"
(3)
"Stairway to Heaven"
(4)

"The Battle of Evermore" is a folk duet sung by Robert Plant and Sandy Denny, featured on Led Zeppelin's untitled 1971 album. The song's instrumentation features acoustic guitar and mandolin playing.

Writing and production[edit]

The song was written by Jimmy Page at Headley Grange while he was experimenting on the mandolin owned by John Paul Jones.[4][5] As Page explained in 1977:

Musical references[edit]

The song, like some others by the group, makes references to The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Plant felt he needed another voice to tell the story, and for the recording of the song, folk singer Sandy Denny was invited to duet with Plant. Denny was a former member of British folk group Fairport Convention, with whom Led Zeppelin had shared a bill in 1970 at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. Plant played the role of the narrator and Denny represented the town crier. Page elaborated:

To thank her for her involvement, Denny was given the symbol on the album sleeve of three pyramids (the four members of Led Zeppelin each chose their own symbols for the album). This is the only song Led Zeppelin ever recorded with a guest vocalist. In an interview he gave in 1995 to Uncut magazine, Plant stated:

Live performances[edit]

"The Battle of Evermore" was played live at Led Zeppelin concerts during the band's 1977 North American Tour. For these live performances, Jones sang Denny's vocals and played acoustic guitar whilst Page played mandolin. Sometimes John Bonham sang Denny's vocals along with Jones.

Page and Plant also recorded a version of the song in 1994, released on their album No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded. Singer Najma Akhtar sang Denny's vocal part.

Fairport Convention performed "The Battle of Evermore" with guest vocalists Plant and Kristina Donahue at Fairport's Cropredy Convention on 9 August 2008. Plant and Alison Krauss regularly performed "The Battle of Evermore" on their tour of US and Europe in spring and summer 2008.[8]

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant perform "The Battle of Evermore" at Denver's Red Rocks, 21 June 2008

Other versions[edit]

A different version of this song is featured on the companion audio CD on the remastered deluxe 2CD version of Led Zeppelin IV. Known as "The Battle Of Evermore (Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange)", it is an instrumental version recorded on 29 January 1971, at the Rolling Stones Mobile at Headley Grange with engineer Andy Johns. This version runs 4:13, while the original version runs 5:51.

Accolades[edit]

Year Publication Country Accolade Rank
2003 Blender United States "The 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now!"[9] *
2004 Q United Kingdom "150 Greatest Rock Lists Ever" (10 Songs Based On Novels)[10] 4
"1010 Songs You Must Own!"[11] *

(*) designates unordered lists.

Personnel[edit]

Studio version[edit]

with:

Live performances[edit]

  • Robert Plant – lead vocals
  • Jimmy Page – mandolin, backing vocals
  • John Paul Jones – acoustic guitar, co-lead vocals
  • John Bonham – tambourine with a mallet, co-lead vocals, backing vocals

Page and Plant version[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carruthers, Bob (2011). Led Zeppelin – Uncensored on the Record. Coda Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-9085-3846-8. High points included the twisty complexity of 'Black Dog', the folk whimsy of 'The Battle Of Evermore' and the career best of 'Stairway To Heaven' 
  2. ^ Clarke, Donald (1998). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Penguin Books. p. 737. ISBN 978-0-1405-1370-7. folk direction pursued with The Battle Of Evermore' (Plant's duet with Sandy Denny) 
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9. 
  5. ^ Rosen, Steven (July 1977). 1977 Jimmy Page Interview (Audio/Text) at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 May 2007). Guitar Player. Modern Guitars. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  6. ^ a b Schulps, Dave (October 1977). "Interview with Jimmy Page". Trouser Press (Iem.ac.ru). Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Good Times...Bad Times". Uncut: 57. May 2005. ISSN 1368-0722. 
  8. ^ "Robert Plant and Alison Krauss at the Birmingham NIA". Birmingham Post. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Standout Tracks from the 500 CDs You Must Own – 2003". Blender (Acclaimed Music). Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  10. ^ "150 Greatest Rock Lists Ever – Book of Rock – July 2004". Q. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009. 
  11. ^ "1010 Songs You Must Own! – Q50 – #3: Duets – September 2004". Q. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.