The top song on the list of the Top 50 Led Zeppelin Songs is the sort of legendary epic that defies quick analysis in mortal terms, so forgive us if we resort to Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ for words big enough to describe ‘Kashmir.’ By this we mean that the climatic centerpiece of 1975’s ‘Physical Graffiti’ is the great white whale of classic rock: aspired to by all, but conquered by no one, or else you wouldn’t be able to count on one hand the artists who were daring (or reckless) enough to try and cover it.

Jimmy Page sure didn’t make that easy, by tuning his guitar to an exotic DADGAD to reflect the song’s inspiration in Middle Eastern, North African and Indian music; arranging certain sections so that instruments and words followed different meters (only made more complex by the phasing effect applied to John Bonham’s drums); and then overdubbing swathes of string and horn parts performed by classical musicians, and orchestrated, as usual, by bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones.

And once Robert Plant provided those evocative lyrics, inspired by his travels across Southern Morocco, deep into the Sahara desert, where the road appeared to have no end, ‘Kashmir’s’ seductive, oriental flavor was complete (even though the area known as Kashmir lies much further to the east, in the Himalayas). Though the song actually did come to an end after eight-and-a-half glorious minutes, many were those who wished it'd go on forever.

Needless to say, the majestic end results have continued to captivate Led Zeppelin fans and attract countless new ones to the band ever since, so it’s no wonder that the surviving members, too, consider ‘Kashmir’ one of their greatest achievements.

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