"Misty Mountain Hop
" is a song from English rock band Led Zeppelin
's untitled fourth album
, released in 1971
. In the United States
it was the B-side of the "Black Dog"
single, but still received considerable FM radio
airplay. It was recorded at Headley Grange
, a mansion with a recording studio in Hampshire
, England, where the band sometimes lived.
Musically the song is a medium tempo rocker which begins with bassist John Paul Jones
playing the electric piano. It is notable for the presence of layered guitar and keyboard parts, making it solidly melodic, and is driven by one of drummer John Bonham
's most powerful recorded performances in the studio
. The song features a memorable riff
, on which Page and Jones harmonize using keyboard and guitar. This repeating riff, heard on the bass guitar, is based on the notes A G E and sounds like a funk rock bassline
. At 2:11, in the second half of the second verse, the band erroneously falls out of sync with one another. However, the musicians felt that the rest of the take was too good to discard it.
The most common interpretation of the song's lyrics is that they point to an encounter with the police after smoking marijuana in the park, and leaving to go to the Misty Mountains ("where the spirits fly"), which seems to be a reference to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. References to the work of Tolkien also exist in other Led Zeppelin songs, such as "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp", "Stairway to Heaven", and "Ramble On".
The group's recording of this song also appeared as the sole Led Zeppelin track in the 1997 Time-Life 6-CD boxed set, "Gold And Platinum: The Ultimate Rock Collection", marking one of the rare times that a Led Zeppelin recording has been released in a commercially-issued various artists compilation released in America.
"Misty Mountain Hop" was regularly played live at Led Zeppelin concerts
from late 1972
, often linking directly into "Since I've Been Loving You
" (as can be seen on the Led Zeppelin DVD
). It was also played at the band's performances at Knebworth in 1979
. For this performance, Jimmy Page used a 1977 Gibson RD. The surviving members of the band additionally performed the song at the Atlantic Records
40th anniversary concert in 1988
with Jason Bonham
filling in on drums for his late father, and again with Jason at Robert Plant's daughter's 21st birthday party the following year. "Misty Mountain Hop" was also performed at Led Zeppelin's reunion show
at the O2 Arena
on December 10
Robert Plant performed a version of the song on his solo tours.
Jimmy Page performed the song on his tour with The Black Crowes in 1999. Although not included on their original album Live at the Greek, a version of "Misty Mountain Hop" can be found as a bonus track on the Japanese version of the album released in 2000.
The 4 Non Blondes recorded a version of "Misty Mountain Hop" for the 1995 Led Zeppelin tribute album Encomium.
Led Zeppelin parody cover band Dread Zeppelin recorded a version of this song on their album 5,000,000.
Former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath member Glenn Hughes released a cover of the song on the Australian version of his 2006 album Music For The Divine. It also featured Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell.
New Wave group Devo used a slightly modified version of the guitar riff for the song "Uncontrollable Urge".
- Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, by Chris Welch, ISBN 1-56025-818-7
- The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, by Dave Lewis, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9