The four quarters of Led Zeppelin are, individually, perhaps four of the strongest corners of a singular band. The group, comprised of the rocking rhythm section of John Paul Jones and John Bonham were expertly accented by Robert Plant, a rock singer who would define a generation with his soulful wail. However, perhaps the crowning piece of the puzzle was Jimmy Page and his unfathomable guitar skills.
Simply put, though many have tried since, with Jimmy Page providing a blueprint for every rock guitarist that followed him, nobody could match Page’s iconic tone and style. He managed to skirt the edge of R&B while always hitting his jazz-inspired notes with a regularity which many thought impossible, even with his acoustic he was phenomenal. Listening to his isolated acoustic guitar track on the Led Zeppelin song ‘Ramble On’, it’s clear to see why he’s so hugely revered by his peers and onwards.
Taken from the iconic sophomore album Led Zeppelin II, the album the quartet released in 1969, the vision for ‘Ramble On’ was one of fantasy from Robert Plant. The singer, like many other artists his age, had become inspired by the work of fantasy fiction writer J.R.R. Tolkein and with the track makes reference to its impact on him.
The musician used moments throughout the lyrics to express his connection, lines like “the darkest depths of Mordor” and “Gollum and the evil one” are both doffs of the caps to the writer. It’s a section of lyrics that Plant later confessed to being embarrassed about. However, the song is lifted entirely by the performance of Jimmy Page.
One of Zeppelin’s more obviously joyous songs, the upbeat tone of the cut is perfectly complimented by guitarist Jimmy Page’s silky solo which saunters in around the one minute 47-second mark. It swirls and spirals like a magician’s spell and there is something entirely hypnotic about it. It’s a piece of music which not only sounds great and fulfils what a guitar must do in providing the melody of the track but adds its own narrative structure.
When you strip away Robert Plant’s brilliant vocal performance, Bonham’s classic heavy punching drums and John Paul Jones’ unstoppable rhythm, you get a full dose of Jimmy Page’s intrinsically brilliant acoustic guitar. Expertly gilding the Led Zeppelin sound with a folk-rock glint, the track has since become a key part of the band’s iconography.
Listen below to Jimmy Page’s iconic isolated guitar form Led Zeppelin’s song ‘Ramble On’.