There are few groups who have a canon as packed full of powder as Led Zeppelin. Not only did the group have one of the most dangerous live outfits at the time, including Jimmy Page on guitar, John Paul Jones on rhythm, the imperious John Bonham on drums and, of course, Robert Plant their lead singer, but they also knew how to write a song.
The band have a back catalogue of material that long ago cemented their place as rock royalty. To pick a favourite song by them would be a difficult task for anyone, let alone the band’s undeniably iconic lead singer, Robert Plant. However, the warbling band leader did exactly this in an interview a few years ago, when he revealed the one track by his former band that occupies the most sacred place in his heart.
Over the course of eight studio albums, Led Zeppelin created an abundance of tracks that could all be possible contenders to be Plant’s favourite. Still, there was one in particular which is the most special to him, which he has talked about in great length on multiple occasions. That track is the otherworldly and always adored ‘Kashmir’.
The song originally appeared on their 1975 record Physical Graffiti and was written by Plant alongside his bandmates Bonham and Page. Speaking to Rolling Stone once upon a time, Plant made the admission: “It’s one of my favourites… that, ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Light’ and two or three others really were the finest moments,” reflected the singer.
There may have been fine moments, but nothing was quite like the easter-influenced number: “‘Kashmir’ in particular. It was so positive, lyrically. It’s the quest, the travels and explorations that Page and I went on to far climes well off the beaten track… That, really to me, is the Zeppelin feel.”
The track was originally titled ‘Driving to Kashmir’, and in a 2010 interview with MOJO, the former Led Zep frontman spoke about the origin of the classic track: “‘Kashmir’ came from a trip Jimmy and me made down the Moroccan Atlantic coast, from Agadir down to Sidi Ifni. We were just the same as the other hippies, really.”
The band loved playing ‘Kashmir’ so much live that since they first debuted it in 1975, they didn’t play a single show until they split up in 1980 where the song didn’t feature in the setlist. There are many reasons why Plant has such an affinity with the track, but he thinks Bonham’s drumming performance that let the track breathe elevated ‘Kashmir’ to another level, professing: “It was what he didn’t do that made it work.”
As recently as 2018, in a feature-length piece with Dan Rather he spoke in further detail about the intricacies of the track that make it so perfect to him: “It was a great achievement to take such a monstrously dramatic musical piece and find a lyric that was ambiguous enough, and a delivery that was not over-pumped,” said Plant.
“It was almost the antithesis of the music, this lyric and this vocal delivery that was just about enough to get in there.”
Robert Plant’s favourite Led Zeppelin Song of all time
Take eight and a half minutes out of your day to enjoy this juggernaut of a track in all of its glory, below.