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Verse Chorus Verse: Led Zeppelin – “Over The Hills And Far Away”

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What I love about songs like “The Song Remains The Same” and “Over The Hills And Far Away” and so many others in the Zeppelin oeuvre is the different "movements" to the songs and the way they're integrated (or not). I'm sure if I went on a musicological excavation I could find other bands who did this before them, and bands who followed may have done it better, but Zeppelin had a special way of exploring multiple musical ideas within a composition.

Take “Over The Hills,” for example. The song starts with an acoustic country-blues intro. It's interesting enough, but it doesn't stay there long. I don't know if it's because I've listened to it so many times over the years and now I know better, or if they actually constructed it this way, but there's a feeling of anticipation in that intro. I listen to it and I know they're just getting warmed up, that there is something else in store for us, and sure enough there is.

What's really great about “Over The Hills” is that they don't end the first idea so much as pile something on top of it and make it work. Listen carefully and you can still hear the acoustic strumming even as the big beat of John Bonham and the vintage, electric Jimmy Page guitar take over. A song doesn't have to be one thing. There's something to be said for finding one idea and carrying it to its logical conclusion, but creativity can be messy and not all messes are bad.

The Led Zeppelin backlash sometimes gets them dismissed as being big, dumb, obvious, and clumsy (among other things), and yeah, there was that side to them, but there is nuance and texture in many of their best songs for anyone who cares enough to be open to it. “Over The Hills And Far Away” is only one of many examples.

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    Multi-movement pieces aren’t done too often these days, it’s true. Ironically, they now happen more in rap music, with all of its guest artists, than in pop. So few people care about writing good melodies these days anyway. Zep’s melodies are an underrated aspect of their music.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    You’re right, Jon, their melodies are another underrated aspect of their music. I think you’ve just given me an idea for another day. Thanks!

  • Paul Roy

    This is why Zeppelin’s music never gets old. “Over the Hills” is one of my favorite Zeppelin songs and it is fun to play on guitar too.

  • Mohib

    Gods of rock- best band ever!

  • G

    Led Zeppelin is the best band ever Josh. Im sad I was born in the wrong decade.

  • JC Mosquito

    Zeppelin/Beatles/Rolling Stones – covers a LOT of ground in the history of pop/rock. It would be hard to pick just one of the three as the Greatest Band of All Time – each has a claim to the throne. I wonder what kind of collabortion any of the players might have had given enough time and opportunity – I can hear Over the Hills as perhaps one place they might all have found common ground.

  • zingzing

    not “yer blues?”

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