The Battle of Evermore

'The Battle of Evermore' is a 1971 song by English rock band Led Zeppelin. The song was composed by Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant, and recorded at Headley Grange, Hampshire, England in January 1971, and mixed at Olympic Studios, London in February 1971. It appeared as the third track on Led Zeppelin's fourth album Led Zeppelin IV, released on 8 November 1971. 'The Battle of Evermore' is a folk song with a mandolin as centrepiece and lyrics which displays singer Robert Plants' interest in ancient history and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. The track also features Fairport Convention singer Sandy Denny, to add a second voice to answer Plant's, and the only Led Zeppelin song to feature a guest vocalist.

Overview

'The Battle of Evermore' emerged during a late night rehearsal and recording process at Headley Grange, when guitarist Jimmy Page picked up bassist John Paul Jones' mandolin and improvised a tune. Singer Plant, who had just read a book on the Scottish wars, added lyrics. The song references the Battle of Pelennor Fields in J. R. R. Tolkien's novel Lord of the Rings. Plant felt the need for a second vocalist to act as a town crier while his role was as narrator. Denny, a friend of the band, was invited and the pairing proved successful enough that Denny was given her own 'godhead' symbol (three connecting pyramids) on the album credits.

The song appeared on the 1992 film Singles, with the track performed by the Lovemongers, which featured Anne and Nancy Wilson of Heart.

Live performances

'The Battle of Evermore' was performed on the 1977 North American tour with Jones singing Denny's part and playing a triple-neck guitar, during their acoustic set. A version of the song was performed by Page and Plant for the 1994 MTV Unledded special, with Nadjma Akhtar on second vocals, and taken on tour for 1995 and 1996. It was also performed by Plant with Fairport Convention at the 2008 Cropredy Festival, and by Plant and singer Alison Krauss on their 2008 tours.

Accolades

  • Blender - The 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now! (2003) *
  • Q - 150 Greatest Rock Lists Ever (2004) 4 (10)
  • Q - 1010 Songs You Must Own! (2004) *

(*) designates unordered lists.

Credits

Musicians:

  • Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • John Paul Jones – mandolin, acoustic bass
  • John Bonham - tambourine, percussion
  • Sandy Denny - vocals

Production:

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Andy Johns - engineer
  • George Chkiantz - 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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