Led Zeppelin, the iconic rock band, boasts an extensive catalogue filled with timeless rock & roll classics. However, within this impressive repertoire, there are always a few compositions that hold a special place in the hearts of the band members themselves. One such example is the renowned “Immigrant Song,” which remains a favorite among the public, even though its primary songwriter, Robert Plant, considers it the most peculiar and whimsical piece within the band’s musical inventory.
In the early 1970s, Led Zeppelin embarked on a remarkable journey, releasing a series of highly acclaimed albums that captivated both critics and audiences alike. Among these albums was the remarkable “Led Zeppelin III.” This record kickstarted its musical voyage with a forceful and fervent track known as “Immigrant Song.”
The genesis of this song can be traced back to a flight taken by the band members after a visit to Iceland. While they didn’t traverse the seas on ancient sailing vessels like true Vikings, the idea of a Viking invasion proved to be a wellspring of inspiration for Led Zeppelin.
Plant reminisced about this creative process during an interview with Bob Spitz for “Led Zeppelin: The Biography,” remarking, “It evoked imagery of Vikings and grand ships, as well as John Bonham’s unmistakable prowess… And just like that, ‘Immigrant Song’ materialized.”
Reflecting on the song’s accessibility, Plant mentioned during a 2023 interview with Vulture, “It’s a shame that ‘Immigrant Song’ isn’t particularly easy for kids to play. Nonetheless, it resonates with everyone, regardless of age. It’s a magnificent piece. Not just slightly absurd, but completely outrageous. Consider the fact that we composed it while mid-flight, coming back from Iceland—a truly inspiring concert and adventure that defies adequate description.”
Plant further elucidated his affection for the track, revealing, “For me, ‘Immigrant Song’ possesses an allure that transports me back to the Dark Ages. As I sit here in this humble building, constructed in the 15th century, I am engulfed by the weight of history. It’s not a grand edifice, merely a structure that has survived countless trials and tribulations. It predates the Civil War, predates Cromwell’s reign, and harkens back to a time when people sought shelter in secrecy. It’s a journey through time—back, back, back, beyond what we can fathom. Embracing that Viking spirit is pure exhilaration.”
Plant acknowledged the widespread appeal of the song, noting its popularity among children and its inclusion in notable movies such as “Shrek the Third” and “School of Rock.” He emphasized the significance of exposing younger generations to the music, stating, “Sharing it with children holds great importance. Let it soar, let it resonate, and keep passing it on. Immerse yourself in its essence because there are no boundaries, no limitations.”