The Woman Robert Plant Had in Mind on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Ten Years Gone’

by Jeremy Spirogis
The Woman Robert Plant Had in Mind on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Ten Years Gone’

If you had been in search of lyrics of the “confessional” selection, Led Zeppelin didn’t have a lot to supply. On the band’s self-titled debut album, listeners primarily acquired recycled blues themes and some warnings to nameless girls who’ve completed the singer improper.

With “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Lemon Song,” and “Heartbreaker,” Led Zeppelin II didn’t stray removed from that formulation. However, Robert Plant did step again from the citadel partitions for a second to sing a love track devoted to his spouse, Maureen (“Thank You”).

On Led Zeppelin III and subsequent data, it turned clear that Plant and Zep would keep of their consolation zone of mythology, blues girls, and different obscure topics. (Plant sang about strolling together with his canine on “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp.”)

But that’s to not say Zep by no means acquired private. On Physical Graffiti, one of many album’s nice tracks discovered Plant singing convincingly a few misplaced love on “Ten Years Gone.” And Plant mentioned the actual story got here fairly near that.

Plant had to decide on between a girl and his budding rock profession

Band of Joy: Guitarist Kevyn Gammond, lead singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham, organist Chris Brown, and bassist Paul Lockey, January 1968 | Ron Howard/Redferns

If you comply with the lyrics of “Ten Years Gone,” a easy story emerges. The singer remembers a love from way back. Since then, he (the eagle) has left the nest (i.e., moved on), although he stops to consider his love, regardless of how a lot he’s modified.

From there, the lyrics take a passionate flip. Instead of musing over two individuals who parted methods, Plant wails about actually needing any person “bad.” It was the very best love he ever had, however now he solely has the recollections.

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In a 1975 Rolling Stone interview, Plant informed the story behind “Ten Years Gone.” At the time (the mid-’60s), he was making an attempt to work his approach into the business. But the love of his life gave him an ultimatum. “It’s me or your fans,” Plant recalled her saying. Plant, in fact, selected to maintain going.

“She’s quite content these days, I imagine,” Plant continued. “She’s got a washing machine that works by itself and a little sports car … We wouldn’t have anything to say anymore. Ten years gone, I’m afraid.”

Jimmy Page initially wrote ‘Ten Years Gone’ as an instrumental

John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and Jimmy Page carry out reside onstage. | Ian Dickson/Redferns

If you’re blown away by the association and total tonal palette of “Ten Years Gone,” you may thank the standard suspect, Jimmy Page. As with “The Song Remains the Same,” Page initially conceived of “Ten Years Gone” as an instrumental.

According to the authors of Led Zeppelin: All the Songs, Page has 5 or 6 guitars enjoying collectively at numerous factors of the track. (Page referred to this setup fondly as “an army of guitars.”) Otherwise, he couldn’t have achieved the form of depth he acquired on the monitor.

Page wished the track melancholy, so he didn’t assume phrases wanted to play a component. However, after listening to the lyrics Plant wrote for the monitor, he thought his singer nailed it.

Without lyrics, we would have gotten a worthy successor to “Beck’s Bolero” some eight years later. But with Plant following Page’s lead, followers acquired one other Led Zeppelin masterpiece late within the band’s run.

Also see: Why Led Zeppelin Had ‘the 6th Rolling Stone’ Play Piano on ‘Rock and Roll’

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