Ramble On

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"Ramble On"
Led Zeppelin - Ramble On.png
Turkish single label
Song by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin II
Released 22 October 1969 (1969-10-22)
Recorded 1969
Studio Juggy Sound, New York City
Length 4:35
Label Atlantic
Producer(s) Jimmy Page
Audio sample

"Ramble On" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1969 album Led Zeppelin II. It was co-written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, and was recorded in 1969 at Juggy Sound Studio, New York, during the band's second concert tour of North America. In 2010, the song was ranked #440 on list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4]


The song's lyrics were influenced by The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.[5] The opening line ("Leaves are falling all around") could be a paraphrase of the opening line of Tolkien's poem "Namárië".

Tolkien references appear later in the song's lyrics, including Mordor and Gollum.

Mine's a tale that can't be told
My freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old
When magic filled the air
'Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her


The guitar's jangly introduction employs a classic Jimmy Page technique: using regular open chords superimposed higher on the fretboard.

There has been much doubt around Bonham's percussions in the background throughout the song, having regard to the particular resonance that it captures. There are no versions consistent in this respect: often mistaken for bongos, some said of a small plastic bin for waste played with the hands from the side of the bottom, others about the sticks on his drum kit vinyl seat pad, or even the soles of the shoes he wore during the recording session and so rhythmically beaten with his drum sticks; the book John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums reports instead of a hard case for guitar on which Bonham improvised percussion background with bare hands.[6]

The song also serves as an illustration of the tight interplay between bassist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham.

Jones' light, melodic bass phrases give way to an ascending motif which follows Bonham's soft percussions.

When asked in an interview how he achieved that smooth, sustaining violin-like tone on the solo, Page said:

"I used the neck pickup on my Les Paul and backed off on the treble knob on the guitar, and ran it through the sustainer Roger Mayer made for me years before. When I was recording it, I was thinking in terms of making a sound sort of like a string arrangement.[7]

Live performances[edit]

Until 2007, "Ramble On" was never performed live in its entirety at Led Zeppelin concerts.[5] However, part of the song was performed by the band in the middle of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" at a concert at Toronto on 2 November 1969, as can be heard on the Led Zeppelin bootleg Listen to My Bluebird. In addition, part of the song was sung by Robert Plant during "Communication Breakdown" at the show on 21 March 1970, at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. It was played in its entirety for the first time at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert on 10 December 2007, at the O2 Arena in London; Page ended the song with a brief section of "What Is and What Should Never Be"'s bridge.[8]

In June 2008, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones joined the Foo Fighters on stage at Wembley Stadium and performed "Ramble On"; Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins supplied the vocals and drums, respectively.[9] Page and Jones also performed "Rock and Roll" with the band, this time with Grohl playing drums and Hawkins singing.


In a retrospective review of Led Zeppelin II (Deluxe Edition), Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound praised the remastering of "Ramble On", believing the track now sounds "mellow and well-balanced".[10] Madden further stated the track "gets a boost from John Paul Jones' garter snake bass playing."[10] When reviewing the added bonus tracks of the Deluxe Edition, Madden called the rough mix of "Ramble On" as the best of all the bonus tracks, calling Page's acoustic strums "particularly driving".[10]

Chart positions[edit]

Single (digital download)[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak position
Canadian Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart[11] 66


Cover versions[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


  1. ^ Kevin Courtright (1 September 2009). Back to Schoolin'. Xulon Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-61579-045-6. 
  2. ^ Martin Popoff (15 August 2014). The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal's Debauched Decade. Voyageur Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-7603-4546-7. 
  3. ^ "Led Zeppelin Biography". The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 14 August 2016. Led Zeppelin II found them further tightening up and modernizing their blues-rock approach on such tracks as "Whole Lotta Love," "Heartbreaker" and "Ramble On." 
  4. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time - May 2010". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Lewis, Dave (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
  6. ^ Ramble On sound question - Forum on Drummer World.com
  7. ^ "Led Vault: Jimmy Page Talks First Three Led Zeppelin Albums, Gibson and Harmony Guitars and More". 
  8. ^ Shane Handler (11 December 2007). "Good Times, Bad Times - Led Zeppelin Reunion Show". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  9. ^ JodhiD (7 June 2008). "Ramble On - Foo Fighters, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones" – via YouTube. 
  10. ^ a b c Madden, Michael (4 June 2014). "Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II [Reissue]". CoS. Retrieved 13 August 2017. 
  11. ^ "Hot Digital Singles - 1 December 2007". billboard.com. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2009. 

External links[edit]