Misty Mountain Hop
|Misty Mountain Hop
|Led Zeppelin IV
|2 December 1971
|December 1970 - January 1971 at
Headley Grange, Hampshire with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio.
Mixed at Olympic Studios, London.
|Hard rock, rock
|4 minutes 39 seconds
|Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones
'Misty Mountain Hop' is a song from English rock band Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album, released in 1971. In the United States of America and Australia it was the B-side of the 'Black Dog' single, but still received considerable FM radio airplay. It was recorded at Headley Grange, a mansion with a mobile recording studio in Hampshire, England, where the band temporarily lived.
Musically the song is a medium tempo rocker which begins with bassist John Paul Jones playing a Hohner Electra-Piano. It is notable for the presence of layered guitar and keyboard parts, making it solidly melodic, and is driven by one of drummer John Bonham's most powerful recorded performances in the studio. The song features a memorable riff, on which Page and Jones harmonize using keyboard and guitar. This repeating riff, heard on the bass guitar, is based on the notes A G E and sounds like a funk rock bassline. At 2 minutes 11 seconds, in the second half of the second verse, the band erroneously falls out of sync with one another. However, the musicians felt that the rest of the take was too good to discard it.
The group's recording of this song also appeared as the sole Led Zeppelin track in the 1997 Time-Life six-CD boxed set, Gold And Platinum: The Ultimate Rock Collection, marking one of the rare times that a Led Zeppelin recording has been released in a commercially-issued various artists compilation.
The most common interpretation of the song's lyrics is that they point to an encounter with the police after smoking cannabis in the park, and leaving to go to the Misty Mountains ('where the spirits fly'), which seems to be an obscure reference to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Plant explained:
|It's about a bunch of hippies getting busted, about the problems you can come across when you have a simple walk in the park on a nice sunny afternoon. In England it's understandable, because wherever you go to enjoy yourself, 'Big Brother' is not far behind.
'Misty Mountain Hop' was regularly played live at Led Zeppelin concerts from late 1972 through 1973, often linking directly into 'Since I've Been Loving You' (as can be seen on the Led Zeppelin DVD). It was also played at the band's two performances at Knebworth in 1979. For second of these performances, Jimmy used a 1977 Gibson RD. The surviving members of the band additionally performed the song at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988 with Jason Bonham filling in on drums for his late father, and again with Jason at Robert Plant's daughter's 21st birthday party the following year. 'Misty Mountain Hop' was also performed at Led Zeppelin's reunion show at the O2 Arena, London on 10 December, 2007.
Robert Plant performed a version of the song on his solo tours. Jimmy Page performed the song on his tour with the Black Crowes in 1999. Although not included on their original album Live at the Greek, a version of 'Misty Mountain Hop' can be found as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the album released in 2000.
Formats and track listings
See 'Black Dog' single.