Classic Rock‘s Today’s Memory
John Bonham’s birthday
Originally shared by ****
A happy birthday to :
John Henry Bonham (1948 –1980) was an English musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer of Led Zeppelin. Bonham was esteemed for his speed, power, fast right foot, distinctive sound, and „feel” for the groove. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock music. Rolling Stone readers named him the „best drummer of all time” in 2011.
The Legend lives on…
Led Zeppelin – Kashmir
From the album : Physical Graffiti (1975)
„Kashmir” is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin from their sixth album Physical Graffiti, released in 1975. It was written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (with contributions from John Bonham) over a period of three years with lyrics dating to 1973. The song became a concert staple, being performed by the band at almost every concert since its release. Page and Plant released a longer live version, recorded with an Egyptian/Moroccan orchestra, on No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded (1994) and continued to perform the tune with an orchestra on their 1995 tour.
The song runs for 8:28, a length that radio stations usually consider too long to play. However, upon its release, radio stations had no problem playing „Kashmir”, especially after seeing „Stairway to Heaven”, which was almost as long, do so well. (Original LP releases of Physical Graffiti incorrectly list the song’s length as 9:41.)
The song’s signature chord progression, which first appeared on Page’s home-studio work tapes, was an extension of a guitar-cycle that Page had been working on for years. This was the same cycle that produced „Black Mountain Side”, „White Summer”, and the unreleased track, „Swan-song”. Because bass player and keyboardist John Paul Jones had been late for the recording sessions, Page used the time to work on the riff with drummer John Bonham. The two demoed it late in 1973. Plant later added the middle section, and in early 1974, Jones added the string parts.
Page adopted an alternative guitar tuning: the strings are tuned to ‘Open Dsus4’ or DADGAD. Bonham’s drums featured a phasing effect courtesy of an Eventide Instant Phaser PS-101 supplied by engineer Ron Nevison. Plant stated that Bonham’s drumming is the key to the song: „It was what he didn’t do that made it work”. Sections of the song utilize a polymeter effect, with the drums and lyrics in quadruple meter while the melodic instruments play a triple meter rhythmic pattern.
The song includes many distinctive musical patterns of classical Moroccan, Indian and Middle Eastern music. Page explained, „I had a sitar for some time and I was interested in modal tunings and Arabic stuff. It started off with a riff and then employed Eastern lines underneath.”
Orchestral brass and strings with electric guitar and mellotron strings appear in the song. This is one of the few Led Zeppelin songs to use outside musicians. Session players were brought in for the string and horn sections. According to Jones, „the secret of successful keyboard string parts is to play only the parts that a real string section would play. That is, one line for the First Violins, one line for Second Violins, one for Violas, one for Cellos, one for Basses. Some divided parts two or more notes to a line are allowed, but keep them to a minimum. Think melodically”.
The lyrics were written by Plant in 1973 immediately after Led Zeppelin’s 1973 US Tour, in an area he called „the waste lands” of Southern Morocco, while driving from Goulimine to Tantan in the Sahara Desert. This was despite the fact that the song is named after Kashmir, a region in the northwestern part of the Himalayas. As Plant explained to rock journalist Cameron Crowe:
The whole inspiration came from the fact that the road went on and on and on. It was a single-track road which neatly cut through the desert. Two miles to the East and West were ridges of sandrock. It basically looked like you were driving down a channel, this dilapidated road, and there was seemingly no end to it. ‘Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dreams…’ It’s one of my favourites…that, ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Light’ and two or three others really were the finest moments. But ‘Kashmir’ in particular. It was so positive, lyrically.
Plant also commented on the challenges he faced in writing lyrics for such a complex piece of music:
It was an amazing piece of music to write to, and an incredible challenge for me … Because of the time signature, the whole deal of the song is… not grandiose, but powerful: it required some kind of epithet, or abstract lyrical setting about the whole idea of life being an adventure and being a series of illuminated moments. But everything is not what you see. It was quite a task, ’cause I couldn’t sing it. It was like the song was bigger than me. It’s true: I was petrified, it’s true. It was painful; I was virtually in tears.
In an interview he gave to William S. Burroughs in 1975, Page mentioned that at the time the song was composed, none of the band members had ever been to Kashmir.
All four members of Led Zeppelin have agreed that „Kashmir” is one of their best musical achievements. John Paul Jones suggested that it showcases all of the elements that made up the Led Zeppelin sound. Plant has stated that „Kashmir” is the „definitive Led Zeppelin song”,and that it „was one of my favourite Led Zeppelin tracks because it possessed all the latent energy and power that wasn’t heavy metal. It was something else. It was the pride of Led Zeppelin.” During a television interview in January 2008, he also named „Kashmir” as his first choice of all Led Zeppelin songs that he would perform, commenting „I’m most proud of that one”. Page has indicated he thinks that the song is one of the band’s best compositions.
Led Zeppelin expert Dave Lewis describes „Kashmir” as follows:
Unquestionably the most startling and impressive track on Physical Graffiti, and arguably the most progressive and original track that Led Zeppelin ever recorded. ‘Kashmir’ went a long way towards establishing their credibility with otherwise skeptical rock critics. Many would regard this track as the finest example of the sheer majesty of Zeppelin’s special chemistry.