The Story Behind Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On”

via @Stephen McElvain | Youtube

One of Led Zeppelin’s most enduring and distinctive songs, but they never managed to perform it live during the years they were active and complete. The only time they performed it live was the one-time reunion concert at the O2 Arena London on December 10, 2007, were Jason Bonham’s filled her father’s position on the drums for the show. 

One of the most interesting thing about Ramble On is the guitar solo of Jimmy Page, he used a sustain built just for him by the well-known effects maker, Roger Mayer. The technique Jimmy Page uses for the solo was to make it sound like strings — something like his signature use of a violin bow he often attempted doing live. 

“I used the neck pickup on my Les Paul and backed off on the treble knob on the guitar, and ran it through the sustainer Roger Mayer made for me years before,” he explained in an interview. “When I was recording it, I was thinking in terms of making a sound sort of like a string arrangement.”

The song lyrics, on the other hand, were written by Robert Plant inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of The Rings. Lyrics are based on the adventures of the Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, as he goes to “the darkest depths of Mordor” and encounters “Gollum and the evil one,” which Plant later admitted in an audio documentary.