Monday, February 24, 1975

Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” released on Physical Graffiti album

First posted 1/27/2019; updated 2/10/2021.

Kashmir

Led Zeppelin

Writer(s): John Bonham, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant (see lyrics here)


Released: February 24, 1975 as cut on Physical Graffit album


First Charted: November 24, 2007


Peak: 42 US, 80 UK, 33 CN (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK, 0.2 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 232.3 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“The Eastern music-influenced, string-enhanced” UCR “Kashmir” is a “stately, epic masterpiece that refuses to acknowledge that rock music should have any uncrossable boundaries.” UCR Robert Plant came up with the lyrics for “Led Zeppelin’s most ambitious experiment” RS500 while driving through the Sahara desert to the National Festival of folklore in Morocco. SF He was nowhere near Kashmir, a lush mountain region North of Pakistan, but imagined what it might be like to go straight on through from Africa all the way to the Southern Asian locale. RS500

Page and drummer John Bonham developed a riff “on an Arabic-sounding set of chords that would perfectly match Plant’s desert vision.” RS500 Plant has said Bonham’s drumming was the key to the track: “It was what he didn’t do that made it work.” SF

Meanwhile, Page has cited this song as the one with the band’s greatest riff. SF He takes pride in how the “recurring descending riff blends with its central, driving ‘da-da-da, da-da-da’ counterpart.” UCR He told Guitar Legends, “I wondered whether those two parts could go on top of each other, and it worked!...At the time I was very proud of that, I must say.” UCR

“John Paul Jones’ string arrangement provided the crowning touch, ratcheting up the song’s mystic grandeur to stadium-rock proportion.” RS500 Page told Rolling Stone “I knew that this wasn’t just something guitar-based. All of the guitar parts would be on there. But the orchestra needed to sit there, reflecting those other parts, doing what the guitars were but with the colors of a symphony.” SF It was one of the few Led Zeppelin songs to use outside musicians. SF

More than once, Plant has called “Kashmir” “the definitive Led Zeppelin song.” UCR He told Rolling Stone “It’s the quest, the travels and explorations that Page and I went on to far climes well off the beaten track…That, really to me, is the Zeppelin feel.” UCR In 2018, he told Dan Rather “It was a great achievement to take such a monstrously dramatic musical piece and find a lyric that was ambiguous enough, and a deliver that was not over-pumped.” SF


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Led Zeppelin released Physical Graffiti

Physical Graffiti

Led Zeppelin


Released: February 24, 1975


Peak: 16 US, 11 UK, 15 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.3 UK, 18.4 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: hard classic rock


Tracks, Disc 1:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Custard Pie [4:13] (10 CL)
  2. The Rover [5:36] (10 CL)
  3. In My Time of Dying (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) [11:04] (11 CL)
  4. Houses of the Holy [4:01] (4 CL)
  5. Trampled Under Foot (Jones, Page, Plant) [5:35] (4/2/75, 38 US, 2 CL, 41 CN, 60 AU)
  6. Kashmir (Bonham, Page, Plant) [8:37] (11/12/07, 1 CL, 80 UK, 33 CN)

Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. In the Light (Jones, Page, Plant) [8:44] (21 CL)
  2. Bron-Yr-Aur (Page) [2:06]
  3. Down by the Seaside [5:14] (10 CL)
  4. Ten Years Gone [6:31] (8 CL)
  5. Night Flight (Jones, Page, Plant) [3:36] (15 CL)
  6. The Wanton Song [4:06] (13 CL)
  7. Boogie with Stu (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant, Ian Stewart, Mrs. Valens) [3:51] (9 CL)
  8. Black Country Woman [4:24]
  9. Sick Again [4:43]

Songs by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 82:59


The Players:

  • Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica)
  • Jimmy Page (guitar)
  • John Paul Jones (bass, keyboards, mandolin, acoustic guitar)
  • John Bonham (drums, percussion)

Rating:

4.328 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Led Zeppelin returned from a nearly two-year hiatus in 1975 with Physical Graffiti, a sprawling, ambitious double album” AMG which is also “daring…and enthusiastically eccentric.” GW It is “an artistic gamble, full of detours and moments of supreme triumph and quirky experimentation.” GW as they try out “funk, country, R&B and even Celtic folk hymns.” RV “Lnd like all successful double albums, it captures the unique personality of each band member” GW “rarely showcased elsewhere.” AMG “That nary of trace of caution can be found on the record is a testament to the band’s unwavering belief in its craft.” GW

The result of such reach is that, “to many, its synthesis of funk and Eastern music into the Hammer of the Gods Zeppelin thunder is a joy to behold, the sound of a band realizing there are no limits to its powers. To others, the album is dense and frustrating, stuffed with filler.” GW “Yes, some of this could be labeled as filler, but like any great double album, its appeal lies in its great sprawl.” AMG

The Old…
Part of the inconsistency – or diversity – of the album, depending on the listener’s perspective, can be attributed to the history behind the tracks. Nearly half the material was recorded during earlier sessions. Bron-Yr-Aur dates back to sessions for Led Zeppelin III in July 1970. It is “an instrumental solo acoustic number on which Page “has never sounded sweeter;” NO

Night Flight, Boogie with Stu, and Down by the Seaside, which “is the closest they’ve come to country,” AMG were recorded between December 1970 and February 1971 during sessions for Led Zeppelin IV. “Boogie with Stu” “was named for Ian Stewart, who had also played on IV’s “Rock and Roll.” GW

Houses of the Holy was originally recorded for Led Zeppelin’s fifth album of the same name but left off. It “is as effervescent as pre-Beatles pop.” AMG Those same May 1972 sessions produced “the monstrous epic The Rover,” AMG and Black Country Woman “Black Country Woman” and “Boogie with Stu” are “utterly charming acoustic rock & roll.” AMG

…And the New
The remaining eight tracks were new songs recorded in January and February 1974 at Headley Grange. Even on the new material, there is a concentrated effort at diverse songs. The band treated them “as forays into individual styles, only occasionally synthesizing sounds, notably on the tense…Kashmir,” AMG the album’s “signature track” GW and “one of Zeppelin’s greatest songs.” RV It is an “Eastern-influenced melange of a full orchestra,” RV that is “John Paul Jones’ ‘Arabian string symphony.” GW It featured his “thumping bass,” RV “Robert Plant’s wail, Page’s infectious guitar licks,” RV and “John Bonham’s hard-hitting drums.” RV

Plant wrote the “surrealistic lyrics…while driving through the Sahara Desert in Morocco, far from Kashmir, which is located between Central and South Asia.” GW It is “a spellbinding monolith” GW which, “in many ways…distills the essence of Led Zeppelin: dramatic, epic, bewitching and fiery till the end.” GW

“With John Paul Jones’ galloping keyboard, Trampled Underfoot ranks as their funkiest metallic grind, while…and. Even the heavier blues – the 11-minute In My Time of Dying,” AMG “some of the heaviest Delta-style blues Zeppelin ever laid down,” GW “the tightly wound Custard Pie…are subtly shaded, even if they’re thunderously loud.” AMG

“Most of these heavy rockers are isolated on the first album, with the second half of Physical Graffiti sounding a little like a scrap heap of experiments, jams, acoustic workouts, and neo-covers. This may not be as consistent as the first platter, but its quirks are entirely welcome, not just because they encompass the mean, decadent Sick Again, but the heartbreaking Ten Years GoneAMG on which “Plant shows a rare sensitive side.” RV The song “is built on a multi-layered foundation of Page’s guitars. Plants sings of the passing of time and lost love, delivering one of his most emotion-filled performances. RV

“Even at its worst, Physical Graffiti towers above its hard rock peers of the mid-‘70s.” AMG “Nothing before or after matched [its] sheer power and brilliance.” NO This “landmark album” NO “remains an essential part of any collection.” NO


Notes: A 2015 deluxe edition added a bonus disc with rough or alternate mixes of “Brandy & Coke,” “Sick Again,” “In My Time of Dying,” “Houses of the Holy,” In the Light,” “Boogie with Stu,” and “Kashmir.”

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First posted 3/21/2008; last updated 8/18/2021.