The Battle of Evermore


Background Information

The tune for this was written by guitarist Jimmy Page at Headley Grange while he was experimenting on the mandolin owned by bassist John Paul Jones. As Page explained in 1977:

" 'The Battle of Evermore' was made up on the spot by Robert 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."

Vocalist Robert Plant had recently been reading about Scottish folklore and this inspired him to compose the lyrics to this song. 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 Sandy Denny was invited to duet with Plant. Plant played the role of the narrator and Denny represented the town crier. Page elaborated:

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. [Trouser Press, October 1977].

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 designed 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:

"For 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".

Fairport Convention performed "The Battle of Evermore" with guest vocalists Robert Plant and Kristina Donahue at Fairport's Cropredy Convention on 9 August 2008. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss regularly covered "The Battle Of Evermore" on their tour of USA and Europe in Spring and Summer 2008.


Lyrics

The Queen of Light took her bow
And then she turned to go
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom
And walked the night alone

Oh, dance in the dark of night
Sing to the morning light
The Dark Lord rides in force tonight
And time will tell us all
Oh, throw down your plow and hoe
Rest not to lock your homes
Side by side we wait the might
Of the darkest of them all, oh

I hear the horses' thunder

Down in the valley below
I'm waiting for the angels of Avalon
Waiting for the eastern glow

The apples of the valley hold
The seeds of happiness
The ground is rich from tender care
Repay, do not forget, no, no


Oh, dance in the dark of night
Sing to the morning light
The apples turn to brown and black
The tyrant's face is red
Oh the war is common cry
Pick up your swords and fly
The sky is filled with good and bad
That mortals never know, oh

Oh, well, the night is long
The beads of time pass slow
Tired eyes on the sunrise
Waiting for the eastern glow

The pain of war cannot exceed
The woe of aftermath
The drums will shake the castle wall
The ring wraiths ride in black, ride on

Sing as you raise your bow
Shoot straighter than before
No comfort has the fire at night
That lights the face so cold
Oh dance in the dark of night
Sing to the mornin' light
The magic runes are writ in gold
To bring the balance back, bring it back

At last the sun is shining
The clouds of blue roll by
With flames from the dragon of darkness
The sunlight blinds his eyes

Bring it back, bring it back (4x)
Oh now oh now oh now oh
Oh now oh now oh now
Bring it back, bring it back (2x)
Oh now oh now oh now oh
Oh now oh now oh now
Bring it, bring it (6x)


Type:
Album
Artists:
Led Zeppelin
Lyrics:
Music:
Released:
08 November 1971 (UK)
Recorded:
  • Basing Street Studios, London
Length:
5:32
Label:
Atlantic
Producer:
Musicians: