Planet Rock listeners have voted ‘Kashmir’ as the greatest Led Zeppelin song of all time ahead of ‘Stairway To Heaven’.
As part of our month-long Zep-tember celebrations marking 50 years since Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and John Bonham officially became Led Zeppelin, we asked our listeners to vote for their favourite Led Zep anthem from the band’s legendary back catalogue.
As unveiled by Mark Jeeves on air tonight, 1,488 Led Zeppelin fans had their say in the poll with 1975 ‘Physical Graffiti’ epic ‘Kashmir’ coming out on top with a whopping 18% of the total vote. An impressive feat considering 68 Led Zeppelin songs featured in the poll.
Reflecting on the enduring appeal of ‘Kashmir’, Blues Power host Bernard Doherty said: “Timeless, formidable, startling and brimming with majesty, ‘Kashmir’ is one of the few Led Zeppelin tracks to use outside musicians (session players were brought in for the string and horn sections) and they all gel magnificently together. I cannot do without listening to it every single day – John Bonham’s outstanding drumming is the key.”
Similarly lavishing ‘Kashmir’ with the kind of praise he usually reserves for Rush, Darren Redick said: “The lyrics in this song are totally otherworldly! I mean, who talks like “Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails Across the sea of years”!?And the pomp of the music. Hell yes!”
Incredibly ‘Kashmir’ received almost twice as many votes as ‘Stairway To Heaven’ in second spot, which ultimately received 9.8% of the final tally. ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ (5.6%), ‘When The Levee Breaks’ (5.5%) and ‘Achilles Last Stand’ (5%) complete the Top 5.
The rest of the Top 10 features ‘Immigrant Song’ (4.9%), ‘Whole Lotta Love’ (4%), ‘Rock and Roll’ (3.8%), ‘In My Time of Dying’ (3.7%) and ‘Ramble On’ (2.6%).
Not one song from the band’s timeless 1969 debut ‘Led Zeppelin I’ made the Top 10, with ‘Houses of the Holy’ and ‘In Through The Out Door’ also not represented.
Led Zeppelin themselves have also agreed that ‘Kashmir was one of their defining musical achievements with Plant listing it as among his Top 3 favourite Led Zeppelin songs (alongside ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Light’) and Jimmy Page citing it as one of his greatest riffs.
Page commented: “The intensity of ‘Kashmir’ was such that when we had it completed, we knew there was something really hypnotic to it, we couldn’t even describe such a quality.
“At the beginning, there was only Bonzo and me in Headley Grange (recording studio). He played the rhythm on drums, and I found the riff as well as the overdubs which were thereafter duplicated by an orchestra, to bring more life to the track. It sounded so frightening at first.”
The Top 10 as voted for by Planet Rock listeners is as follows:
2. Stairway To Heaven
3. Since I’ve Been Loving You
4. When The Levee Breaks
5. Achilles Last Stand
6. Immigrant Song
7. Whole Lotta Love
8. Rock and Roll
9. In My Time of Dying
10. Ramble On