Kashmir (song)

'Kashmir' is a 1975 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Bonham, and recorded at Headley Grange, Hampshire, England in January 1974, and mixed at Olympic Studios, London in October 1974. It appeared as the sixth track on Led Zeppelin's sixth album Physical Graffiti, released on 24 February 1975. 'Kashmir' is regarded along with 'Stairway to Heaven' as one of Led Zeppelin's most iconic songs. The original working title for the track was 'Driving to Kashmir' and the music has a heavy symphonic, but majestic feel, with the lyrics adding a spiritual adventure to proceedings.

Overview

'Kashmir' originated in 1973 with guitarist Jimmy Page in his home studio working on a Middle-eastern style guitar riff using modal tunings, in the manner of 'Black Mountain Side'. While at Headley Grange in late 1973, Page and drummer John Bonham began recording a take, while waiting for keyboardist John Paul Jones to arrive at the manor. Page used a Dan Electro guitar. Singer Robert Plant then added lyrics, inspired from a recent trip to Southern Morocco in the Sahara Desert, where while driving on a long lonely road between Goulimine and Tantan, he experienced a deepening of spirituality in the wilderness. Upon playback of the demo, the band decided that strings should be added and a Pakistani orchestra was hastily assembled to play along with the recording to try out the concept, which was what the band felt it needed. When the band resumed at Headley Grange in January 1974, the orchestra was replaced by Jones, who arranged the song and added strings using a Mellotron Mk II, which then virtually took up the entire session scoring and balancing the violins, violas, cellos, and bass. The repetitive nature of the strings was deliberate as it is designed to imitate the long road trip taken by Plant and the hypnotic, trance-like nature of his journey. Phasing was also added to Bonham's drums.

'Kashmir' has been named as Page, Plant, and Jones favourite song. Plant referring it to 'the pride of Led Zeppelin'. The song has been covered by numerous artists. In 1998, rapper Puff Daddy with Page sampled the song as part of the single 'Come with Me', for the Godzilla soundtrack, which reached number two on the US Billboard chart. It has also appeared on the soundtracks to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Goldeneye.

Live performances

'Kashmir' made its public debut on 11 January 1975 in Rotterdam, and was performed at every concert up until Led Zeppelin's final show in Berlin, on 7 July 1980. On the 1977 North American tour, 'Kashmir' segued out of Page's 'White Summer' / 'Black Mountain Side' guitar solo. It was performed at the band's Atlantic Records performance in 1988. Page included the riff as part of 'Midnight Moonlight' when on the Outrider tour, and performed the entire song with David Coverdale in 1993. Page and Plant revived the song for the 1994 MTV Unledded special, and it was performed on their 1995 and 1996 tours.

Accolades

  • Classic Rock - 'The Top Fifty Classic Rock Songs of All Time' (1995) 20
  • Classic Rock - 'Ten of the Best Songs Ever!.. (Bubbling under)' (1999) 23
  • VH1 - 'The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time' (2000) 62
  • Rolling Stone - 'The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time' (2003) 140
  • Blender - 'Standout Tracks from the 500 CDs You Must Own' (2003) *
  • Q - '1010 Songs You Must Own!' (2004) *
  • Q - 'Ultimate Music Collection - Rock' (2005) *
  • Q - '100 Greatest Songs of All Time' (2006) 74
  • VH1 - 'VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs' (2009) 21
  • Triple J - 'Triple J's Hottest 100 of All Time' (2009) 98

(*) designates unordered lists.

Chart positions

Single (Airplay)

  • French Infodisc Chart (1975) 39

Single (Digital download)

  • UK Singles Chart (2007) 80
  • Swiss Singles Chart (2007) 64
  • US Billboard Hot Digital Songs Chart (2007) 42
  • US Billboard Hot Digital Tracks Chart (2007) 49
  • Canadian Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart (2007) 33

Note: The official UK Singles Chart incorporated legal downloads as of 17 April 2005.

Formats and track listings

1975 7" single (Thailand: Atlantic T 026)

  • A. 'Kashmir' (Bonham, Page, Plant) 8.28
  • B1. 'Boogie with Stu' (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant, Stewart, Mrs. Valens) 3.51
  • B2. 'Black Country Woman' (Page, Plant) 4.24

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – Mellotron Mk.II, bass guitar
  • John Bonham - drums, percussion

Production:

Peter Grant – executive producer

Keith Harwood - engineer, mixing

Ron Nevison - engineer

Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)

George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)

Bibliography

  • Lewis, Dave (2012) Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1 (OCLC 782996334).
  • Welch, Chris (2009) Led Zeppelin: The Stories Behind Every Led Zeppelin Song. London: Carlton Books. ISBN 978-1-84732-286-9 (OCLC 317254118).

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