No. 2: Led Zeppelin, ‘Kashmir’ – Top 100 Classic Rock Songs
Led Zeppelin earn the penultimate spot on our Top 100 Classic Rock Songs list with ‘Kashmir,’ a stately, epic masterpiece that refuses to acknowledge that rock music should have any uncrossable boundaries.
The mighty British group is, quite frankly, the initial reason we limited each band on our list to just one song each; it would otherwise be exceedingly easy to envision two or three dozen Zeppelin tracks dominating the proceedings, alongside similar tallies from fellow titans such as the Beatles, Stones, etc.
So which fool deemed the Eastern music-influenced, string-enhanced ‘Kashmir’ worthy of inclusion over the band’s equally genre-redefining (if far more primal) early statement of purpose ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ or the common choice for these lists, ‘Stairway to Heaven?’
Well, send your complaints to Robert Plant, who on more than one occasion has singled out ‘Kashmir’ as “the definitive Led Zeppelin song.”
As he explains in the liner notes to the band’s 1993 ‘The Complete Studio Recordings’ box set, “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.”
The singer once explained to Rolling Stone exactly what made ‘Kashmir’ so special: “It’s the quest, the travels and explorations that Page and I went on to far climes well off the beaten track… That, really to me is the Zeppelin feel.”
His bandmates are quick to agree with Plant’s opinion, with guitarist Jimmy Page taking particular pride in way the song’s recurring descending riff blends with its central, driving “da-da-da, da-da-da” counterpart, telling Guitar Legends, “I wondered whether those two parts could go on top of each other, and it worked! At the time I was very proud of that, I must say.”
Watch Led Zeppelin Perform ‘Kashmir’