Hansi Kürsch, the Blind Guardian vocalist and lyrics writer
Progressive rock acts like Rush, Mostly Autumn, Bo Hansson and indie rock band Gatsbys American Dream have composed several songs based on Tolkien’s characters and stories. Camel’s “Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider” is obviously about Gandalf. Rock band Led Zeppelin has numerous songs inspired by Tolkien’s works (certainly “The Battle of Evermore”, “Misty Mountain Hop”, and “Ramble On,” with debate about some parts of “Stairway to Heaven”). Tom Rapp set most of The Verse of the One Ring (“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky…”) to music as “Ring Thing” in Pearls Before Swine’s second album, Balaklava (1968). Bob Catley, lead singer of the British prog rock band Magnum, released a solo album titled Middle Earth, themed around The Lord of the Rings. The East Texas-based rock band Hobbit has produced multiple albums inspired by Tolkien’s work.
Many heavy metal acts have been influenced by Tolkien. Blind Guardian has written many songs relating to Middle-earth, including the full concept album Nightfall in Middle Earth that follows The Silmarillion. Almost all of Summoning’s songs and the entire discography of Battlelore are Tolkien-themed. Power metal bands like Epidemia, Nightwish (their song Elvenpath features audio clips from the prologue of Bakshi’s animated The Lord of the Rings and also their song Wishmaster which includes references to Elbereth, Lorien and the Grey Havens), and others, feature Tolkien-themed songs. “This Day We Fight!”, a song by thrash metal band Megadeth from the album Endgame, was based on the mythos of Tolkien. Also, the Italian progressive band Ainur have composed several album inspired by Silmarillion stories in early 2000s.
Some bands and certain musicians used Tolkien legendarium for their stage names. Progressive rock band Marillion derive their name from The Silmarillion, Gorgoroth take their name from an area of Mordor, Burzum take their name from the Black Speech of Mordor, Cirith Ungol take their name from the pass on the western path of Mordor, the dwelling of the spider Shelob and Amon Amarth take their name after an alternative name for Mount Doom. Lead singer of Dimmu Borgir, Shagrath, also takes his stage name from The Lord of the Rings, after an orc captain.
Sally Oldfield’s first solo album, Water Bearer (1978) was inspired by Tolkien’s works, particularly “Songs of the Quendi”.
The Hobbitons was the name of a Dutch folk group who released a CD in 1996, containing 16 tracks of poems by J. R. R. Tolkien, from The Hobbit, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and The Lord of the Rings. Production was with permission of the Tolkien Estate, with the provision that it would not be sold commercially. The CD is sold out.
Irish singer Enya contributed song “May it Be” for The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) movie soundtrack. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. She also released a song entitled “Lothlórien”, on her 1991 album “Shepherd Moons”.
In 2001, bluegrass and anti-folk artist Chris Thile released an instrumental album titled Not All Who Wander Are Lost, referencing Gandalf’s words to Bilbo and Bilbo’s poem about Aragorn. On the album is a song titled, Riddles In The Dark, which is the title of one of the chapters of The Hobbit. The album was released with Sugar Hill Records.
The Celtic foursome Broceliande has released The Starlit Jewel, setting to music selected songs by Tolkien.
Other folk rock and new age musicians inspired by Tolkien include Za Frûmi (singing in Orkish), Nickel Creek, David Arkenstone and Lyriel, among others. The Spanish Neoclassical Dark Wave band Narsilion derived its name from Tolkien’s song “Narsilion” about the creation of Sun and Moon and also their albums are thematically inspired by Tolkien’s legendarium.