Ten Years Gone

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"Ten Years Gone"
Song by Led Zeppelin
from the album Physical Graffiti
Released 24 February 1975 (1975-02-24)
Recorded 1974
Studio
Genre Hard rock
Length 6:55
Label Swan Song
Songwriter(s) Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Producer(s) Jimmy Page

"Ten Years Gone" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti. Record producer Rick Rubin has described the song as, "A deep, reflective piece with hypnotic, interweaving riffs. Light and dark, shadow and glare. It sounds like nature coming through the speakers."[1]

Recording and production[edit]

Originally intending this to be an instrumental piece, Jimmy Page used some 14 guitar tracks to overdub the harmony section.[2] 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 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.[3]

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.[4]

Original title[edit]

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.[2] However, bootlegs of the track show no discernible resemblance to any part of "Ten Years Gone".[citation needed]

Live performances[edit]

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 before introducing a custom triple-necked instrument created by Andy Manson, that included six-string and twelve-string guitars, a mandolin, and bass pedals.[2] Jimmy Page used his brown-painted 1953 Fender Telecaster (which a rock journalist once dubbed "Botswana Brown") outfitted with a B-Bender. 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 only once, during their 1996 Japanese tour (on 15 February in Osaka).

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.[5]

A version of "Ten Years Gone" performed by Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes can be found on the album Live at the Greek.[6]

Reception[edit]

In a contemporary review of Physical Graffiti, Jim Miller of Rolling Stone described "Ten Years Gone" as having a progression reminiscent of the Beatles' "Dear Prudence" that "resolves in a beautifully waddling refrain."[7] Miller also believed Plant sounded like Rod Stewart on the track, with Page "scooping broad and fuzzy chords" behind him.[7]

In a retrospective review of Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition), Jon Hadusek of Consequence of Sound called "Ten Years Gone" one of Page/Plant's "most sincere compositions".[8] In another retrospective review of Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition), Brice Ezell of PopMatters gave "Ten Years Gone" an extremely positive review, stating the track was one of Physical Graffiti's highlights along with having some of Page's "most enrapturing guitar work, particularly in the way he layers multiple riffs on top of each other."[9] Ezell continued, calling the song's main riff "lovely and echoey" and "over the course of six and a half minutes [the song] ebbs and flows, trading off sky-gazing moments of reflection with bursts of euphoria."[9]

Personnel[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes single[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak position
US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart[10] 33

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. ^ The Playlist Special: Fifty Artists Pick Their Personal Top 10s. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  3. ^ Interview with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, January 1975
  4. ^ Liner notes for the Led Zeppelin boxed set.
  5. ^ National Public Radio, Guitar Legend Jimmy Page, June 2, 2003.
  6. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Live at the Greek". AllMusic. 
  7. ^ a b Miller, Jim (27 March 1975). "Physical Graffiti". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  8. ^ Hadusek, Jon (19 February 2015). "Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (Reissue)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Ezell, Brice (27 February 2015). "Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition)". PopMatters. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  10. ^ "Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks - 2 September 2000". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 9, 2015. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 

External links[edit]