Literary Lyrics: Ramble On by Led Zeppelin

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I've recently been thinking of some features I want to incorporate into my blog to add some variety to the regular menu of book reviews. One of the ideas I have most wanted to try is to add some music to the blog, since it is my greatest passion (after books and Indian food). So I'd like to introduce... Literary Lyrics! I'm hoping to post this feature about once a month. I have seen similar incarnations of this feature on other blogs - some bloggers like to choose soundtracks for books they are reading and some like to highlight beautifully written lyrics. I want to do a little of both of these, depending on whatever strikes my fancy. There are also a few fantastically written songs that mention literary works, and I'd like to highlight one of those for my first Literary Lyrics.

I instantly thought of using the song "Ramble On," co-written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, because it reminds me of not one but two of the books I have read recently, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. The connection to Revolution is only superficial - the protagonist, Andi, is a guitarist and references Led Zeppelin several times in the story. The Fellowship of the Ring is present in both the first and last verse of the song. The first verse shows similarities to Galadriel's Lament in the verse Farewell to Lorien:

Galadriel's Lament
I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew:
Of wind I sant, a wind there came and in the branches blew.
Beyond the Sun, beyond the Moon, the foam was on the Sea,
And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.
Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,
In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.
There long the golden leaves have grown upon the branching years,
While beyond the Sundering Seas now fall the Elven-tears.
O Lorien! The Winter comes, the bare and leafless Day;
The leaves are falling in the stream, the River flows away.
O Lorien! Too long I have dwelt upon this Hither Shore
And in a fading crown have twined the golden elanor.
But if of ships I now should sing, what ship would come to me,
What ship would bear me ever back across so wide a Sea?

1st verse of "Ramble On":
Leaves are fallin' all around, time I was on my way
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay
but now it's time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way
for now I smell the rain, and with it, pain
and it's headed my way
Aw, sometimes I grow so tired
but I know I've got one thing I got to do

Also, in the final verse, the lyrics directly reference Gollum and Mordor, and indirectly reference what Wikipedia thinks is Arwen:

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, mm-I met a girl so fair
but Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her
her, her, yeah, and ain't nothin' I can do, no

If you want to read the rest of the lyrics, they are here. You'll probably see Led Zeppelin in this feature again!


  1. I had no idea about Led Zeppelin referring to LOTR, but is's beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Very cool new feature! I like it!

  3. Awesome idea. I talk about music nonstop on my book blog, but never thought about highlight the lyrics to make it more literary. Cool.

  4. Great post! I've always loved this song. It's great fun to find the stories within the music.


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