Led Zeplin Q #3

In the Led Zeplin song “Ramble On”, I could swear that the lyrics have everything to do with the J R Tolkein book “The Hobbit”.

Has this been confirmed?

The lyrics speak of “the darkest depths of Morder” and “meeting a girl so fair” and “gollum…crept up an slipped away with her”

What’s the dealio?

Contestant #3

Though the song “Ramble On” itself has little to do with J.R.R. Tolkien, it is true that the last verse mentions Mordor and Gollum. Robert Plant was a big Tolkien fan, and both Plant and Jimmy Page shared Tolkien’s love of ancient English mythology and folklore. So, references to themes, places and characters from the Lord of the Rings series creep up regularly in Zeppelin lyrics (“The Battle of Evermore” comes to mind) and song titles (“Misty Mountain Hop”). In general, however, the lyrics aren’t much for a Tolkien fan to get excited about. Take away the reference to Gollum and Mordor, and “Ramble On” is really just a typical song about a rover who’ll never settle down or commit to one woman. That’s about as profound as Plant’s lyrics tend to get! (Truth is, though, no matter how silly his lyrics are, I LOVE the way he howls them!)

Wow, I always thought he said CHOLERA crept up and slipped away with her, but then the only Tolkien I’ve ever read was “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” Maybe I should check out his other works …

I guess I always read more into it than astorian. I thought the whole song was about the Hobbit (what was his name? Mugsy Bogges? Binky Barnes? It’s been a long time since I’ve read Tolkein.). I thought “the girl so fair” was the ring of invisibility ('twas in the darkest depths of Mordor he met her), and the song was about the Hobbit about to leave his friends to go off and look for the ring again (ten years later?). Does this make sense? I’m not too familiar with the Lord of the Rings books, so I don’t know how well this fits the story.

Bilbo Baggins

His name was Dildo in the delightful parody “Bored Of The Rings” published (I think) by Harvard Lampoon. Thanks for the LedZep info.
Always wondered if that was just my stoned imagination…ah, the 70’s…so Dazed and Confused…

Frito and Dildo.

There are Tolkein references (specifically “Lord of the Rings”) in a number of Zeppelin tunes, including “Ramble On”, Misty Mountain Hop", “Stairway to Heaven”, “Battle of Evermore”, and “No Quarter” (by far my favorite Zep song).

Also, check out the inside cover on Led Zeppelin IV; Gandalf, anyone? “Battle of Evermore” is also almost a direct retelling of one of the climactic battles in “Return of the King” (chapter: “The Battle of the Pelennor Fields”). Many songs mention Rings or Ringwraiths.

Another interesting bit about “Ramble On”…

Half the song is a nod to Tolkein, but the other half is a nod to blues legend Robert Johnson (“Ramblin’ on my Mind”). Plant quotes Johnson in many songs (“Squeeze my lemon 'til the juice runs down my leg”) and even covered Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues”.

The song ‘Kashmir’ also appears to be Tolkien based. Several of Tolkien’s poems and stories are about someone who finds a mysterious boat that, when boarded, takes them to the lost land of the elves. Kashmir seems to tell a very similar story.