Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti

Kashmir by Led Zeppelin

Written by guitarist Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, ‘Kashmir’ is one of Led Zeppelin’s most well known and best loved tracks. It’s from their sixth studio album, the sprawling double Physical Graffiti.
As well as the Eastern scales than Page was exploring, what makes it interesting from a musical standpoint is the clashing time signatures. Most of the instruments – the guitar, the orchestra, and John Paul Jones’ bass and Mellotron – are playing in 6/8. But John Bonham’s drums smash on in 4/4. It’s an unusual trick, and it gives the epic, sweeping track propulsion.
The reason I’ve been listening to ‘Kashmir’ recently it its length. At eight and a half minutes it’s the perfect length to give my daughters time to complete their morning toilette, put their shoes and jackets on and get ready for their day. If they’re a little tardy, my favourite trick is to turn up ‘Kashmir’ loudly and use it inspirational music for their morning preparations.

Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed
Talk in song from tongues of lilting grace
Sounds caress my ear
And not a word I heard could I relate
The story was quite clear
Oh, baby, I been blind
Oh, yeah, mama, there ain’t no denyin’
Oh, ooh yes, I been blind
Mama, mama, ain’t no denyin’, no denyin’
All I see turns to brown
As the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand
As I scan this wasted land
Try to find, try to find the way I feel
Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace
Like sorts inside a dream
Leave the path that led me to that place
Yellow desert stream
Like Shangri-la beneath the summer moon
I will return again
As the dust that floats finds you
We’re moving through Kashmir
Oh, father of the four winds fill my sails
Cross the sea of years
With no provision but an open face
Along the straits of fear
Oh, when I want, when I’m on my way, yeah
And my feet wear my fickle way to stay
Ooh, yeah yeah, oh, yeah yeah,
But I’m down oh, yeah yeah, oh, yeah
Yeah, but I’m down, so down
Ooh, my baby, oh, my baby
Let me take you there
Come on, oh let me take you there
Let me take you there

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  1. I know that many fans like this tune and even Zep say it may be their best. But, all due respect to your kids and everything, its appeal is almost totally lost on me. Give me “Stairway” or “Dazed and Confused” any time.

  2. I don’t think it’s Zep’s best tune, yet I still like it. That being said, it definitely was an acquired taste. I find it a bit weird and bombastic, but at the same time it’s got an interesting groove.
    While I haven’t tried it as a parenting tool, somehow I doubt it would work on my son!😀

      • Other than “Stairway,” which would be my undisputed no. 1 (I would say it’s the rock song with best build I know), I don’t think I have a strict ranking order. Instead, in no particular order my remaining nine most favorite Zep songs include the following:
        – Good Times Bad Times
        – Whole Lotta Love
        – Thank You
        – Tangerine
        – Hey Hey What Can I Do
        – Black Dog
        – The Battle Of Evermore
        – Over The Hills And Far Away
        – All My Love

  3. Funny how a post about a song turned into a whole thing on parenting. FWIW, I’m a huge Zep fan and I otherwise love this album, pretty much the last one of theirs I spent any real time with. I used to drive around and listen to it back in the day

    • Yeah, I’ve always found the last two a step down. Presence has some great, tight ensemble playing, but the songs aren’t as interesting, and In Through The Out Door is pretty left field. That run of first six albums is all time though.

      • I think they introduced some new (or unreleased) stuff on the latest remaster of Coda. I await Page’s inevitable re-re-master where he’ll add in stuff he found in a box under his bed.

  4. I hadn’t thought about the different, simultaneous time signatures before – likely my favourite LZ track already, just got even better.
    And I may have to try that in the morning!

  5. The first Led Zeppelin track I heard and, after being a bit unsure if they were really my thing, the track that convinced me of their brilliance.

      • I first delved in about 20 years ago, but I only really started digging their stuff over the last 5 years or so. Quite brilliant getting into something when you miss some sort of connection first time around.

  6. In looking at your top ten list, while I like them all (even Kashmir to some extent), the only top ten one there for me is “Stairway.” I tend to come at Zep from the blues side of things. ‘Levee’ fits that, less so the others. Inspired in part by your (and a few other bloggers’) posts, I’ll be doing a six-pack of Zep next. Crunch city.

      • For me – and I’ll mention this a bit in my post – it somewhat depends on the band. Some bands hit their stride a few albums in, some hit the ground running. So the first album I ever heard by Zep was Zep 1 and that was about 8 months after it came out. (I am ancient.) And that album was so good, so powerful that I saw it as a blueprint for the Zep sound. So at some level I’m measuring all their later stuff against it, fairly or no.

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