Writers: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
Producers: Jimmy Page
Recorded: Headley Grange, Hampshire, 1970
Released: November 5, 1970
|Players:||Robert Plant vocals
Jimmy Page guitar
John Paul Jones bass
John Bonham drums
|Album:||Led Zeppelin III (Atlantic, 1970)|
Opening the album Led Zeppelin III, “Immigrant Song” became an instant Led Zeppelin classic, immortalized by Robert Plant‘s banshee Viking wail and guitarist Jimmy Page‘s hammering riff.
Much of the album’s rehearsal and recording took place in the rustic Headley Grange mansion in Hampshire. The rural surroundings set a relaxed tone in which each member was able to contribute his own ideas and compositions, setting the tone for all future Zeppelin releases.
Plant recalls his lyrical inspiration for the song: “We went to Iceland and it made you think of Vikings and big ships … and (drummer) John Bonham‘s stomach … and bang, there it was … Immigrant Song !”
The same year the group’s third album was released, the Rolling Stones were in tax exile from the U.K. and the Beatles had broken up, leaving Led Zeppelin as Britain’s biggest export.
Despite the fact that the band adamantly refused to release singles, “Immigrant Song” spent 13 weeks on the Billboard singles chart, finally peaking at Number 16 in January, 1971. The album, released on October 5, 1970, reached Number One and spent a total of 19 weeks on the Billboard album chart, and also hit Number One on the U.K. chart with a run of 40 weeks. The RIAA certified Led Zeppelin III gold on October 8, 1970.
The abundance of acoustic material on the album was in sharp contrast to the driving rhythms of “Immigrant Song” and much of the band’s previous output, confusing critics and fans alike. It was a harbinger of the expansion of Zeppelin’s sound, made evident on all subsequent efforts.