Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

The Battle of Evermore

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Genre  Folk Celtic folk
Label  Atlantic
Length  5:38
Released  8 November 1971 (1971-11-08)
Recorded  Headley Grange, Headley, England, 1971
Writer(s)  Jimmy Page Robert Plant

"The Battle of Evermore" is a folk duet sung by Robert Plant and Sandy Denny, featured on Led Zeppelin's untitled 1971 album. The song's instrumentation features acoustic guitar and mandolin playing.

Contents

Writing and production

The song was written by Jimmy Page at Headley Grange while he was experimenting on the mandolin owned by John Paul Jones. Page explained in 1977 that '"Battle of Evermore" was made up on the spot by Robert [Plant] and myself. I just picked up John Paul Jones's mandolin, never having played a mandolin before, and just wrote up the chords and the whole thing in one sitting.'

The song, like some others by the group, makes references to The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Plant felt he needed another voice to tell the story, and for the recording of the song, folk singer Sandy Denny was invited to duet with Plant. Denny was a former member of British folk group Fairport Convention, with whom Led Zeppelin had shared a bill in 1970 at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. Plant played the role of the narrator and Denny represented the town crier. Page elaborated that "[The song] sounded like an old English instrumental first off. Then it became a vocal and Robert did his bit. Finally we figured we'd bring Sandy by and do a question-and-answer-type thing."

To thank her for her involvement, Denny was given the symbol on the album sleeve of three pyramids (the four members of Led Zeppelin each chose their own symbols for the album). This is the only song Led Zeppelin ever recorded with a guest vocalist. In an interview he gave in 1995 to Uncut magazine, Plant stated that '[F]or me to sing with Sandy Denny was great. We were always good friends with that period of Fairport Convention. Richard Thompson is a superlative guitarist. Sandy and I were friends, and it was the most obvious thing to ask her to sing on "The Battle of Evermore". If it suffered from naivete and tweeness—I was only 23—it makes up for it in the cohesion of the voices and the playing.'

Live performances

"The Battle of Evermore" was played live at Led Zeppelin concerts during the band's 1977 North American Tour. For these live performances, Jones sang Denny's vocals and played acoustic guitar whilst Page played mandolin. Sometimes John Bonham sang Denny's vocals along with Jones.

Page and Plant also recorded a version of the song in 1994, released on their album No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded. Singer Najma Akhtar sang Denny's vocal part.

Fairport Convention performed "The Battle of Evermore" with guest vocalists Plant and Kristina Donahue at Fairport's Cropredy Convention on 9 August 2008. Plant and Alison Krauss regularly performed "The Battle of Evermore" on their tour of US and Europe in spring and summer 2008 in promotion of their 2007 collaboration album Raising Sand.

Other versions

An instrumental version of the song is featured on the companion audio CD on the remastered deluxe 2CD version of Led Zeppelin IV, titled The Battle Of Evermore (Mandolin/Guitar Mix From Headley Grange), recorded on 29 January 1971, at the Rolling Stones Mobile at Headley Grange with engineer Andy Johns. It is much shorter than the original, with a running time of 4:13 rather than 5:51.

Accolades

(*) designates unordered lists.

Studio version

  • Robert Plant, Sandy Denny – vocals
  • Jimmy Page – mandolin
  • John Paul Jones – acoustic guitar
  • John Bonham – percussion
  • Live performances

  • Robert Plant – lead vocals
  • Jimmy Page – mandolin, backing vocals
  • John Paul Jones – acoustic guitar, co-lead vocals
  • John Bonham – tambourine with a mallet, co-lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Page and Plant version

  • Robert Plant – vocals
  • Jimmy Page – mandolin, acoustic guitar
  • Najma Akhtar – vocals
  • Porl Thompson – acoustic guitar
  • Michael Lee – percussion
  • Nigel Eaton – hurdy-gurdy
  • Jim Sutherland – bodhrán
  • References

    The Battle of Evermore Wikipedia


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