Over the Hills and Far Away (Led Zeppelin song)

'Over the Hills and Far Away' is a 1973 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, and recorded at Stargroves, Berkshire, England in April 1972, and mixed at Electric Lady Studios, New York in June 1972. It appeared as the third track on Led Zeppelin's fifth album Houses of the Holy, released on 28 March 1973. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' was also issued as a promotional single in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Yugoslavia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and Angola. Like 'Whole Lotta Love', it was released against the band's wishes. It reached number 51 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, and number 63 in Canada. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' is a dynamic folk rock song, originally known by its working title 'Many Many Times'.

Overview

'Over the Hills and Far Away' was originally conceived at the isolated cottage of Bron-Yr-Aur in Wales, in 1970. The song features tight interplay between bassist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham, and has the hallmark 'light and shade' principle behind it, with a dynamic light acoustic feel contrasted with heavier rock passages. Guitarist Jimmy Page used a six-string acoustic, a 12-string acoustic and pedal steel guitar throughout the song. Towards the heavier ending for the song, he uses his Gibson Les Paul Standard. Singer Robert Plant's lyrics narrate his vision of folkish discovery through hippy wandering. As with 'Misty Mountain Hop', there are Tolkienesque references in the song.

The song was one of the few in which a promotional video was made in 1990, to promote their recent box set releases. Video footage was culled from the 1977 and 1979 concerts and added to the song.

Live performances

'Over the Hills and Far Away' debuted on the 1972 North American tour, and was performed on every tour up to the final 1980 Over Europe tour. Jimmy Page performed this song on his 1988 Outrider tour and it was revived by Page and Plant on their 1995 and 1996 world tours.

Chart positions

Single

  • US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart (1973) 51
  • US Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart (1973) 28
  • US Record World 100 Top Pop Chart (1973) 31
  • Canadian RPM Top 100 Chart (1973) 63

Single (Digital download)

  • US Billboard Hot Digital Songs Chart (2007) 63

Formats and track listings

1973 7" single (US/Australia/Finland/New Zealand/Phillipines/Sweden: Atlantic 45-2970, Angola: Atlantic ATS 610, Brazil: Atco ATCS 10.062, Canada: Atlantic AT 2970, Greece: Atlantic 2091228, Italy: Atlantic K 10328, Japan: Warner Pioneer P-1237A, Mexico: Atlantic G-1210, the Netherlands: Atlantic ATL 10328, Portugal: Atlantic ATL NS 28138, South Africa: Atlantic ATL 610, Spain: Atlantic HS 957, Yugoslavia: Atlantic ATL 26076)

  • A. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (Page, Plant) 4.47
  • B. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43

1973 7" radio edit (US: Atlantic 45-2970)

  • A. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' [mono] (Page, Plant) 4.47
  • B. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' [stereo] (Page, Plant) 4.47

1973 7" promo (US: Atlantic 45-2970 PL)

  • A. 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (Page, Plant) 4.47
  • B. 'Dancing Days' (Page, Plant) 3.43

1990 CD single (US: Atlantic PRCD 3717)

  • 'Over the Hills and Far Away' (Page, Plant) 4.47

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – bass guitar, harpsichord, Mellotron
  • John Bonham - drums, percussion

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Eddie Kramer – engineer, mixing
  • 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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