Kashmir (song)
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Kashmir Song

Song by Led Zeppelin
from the album Physical Graffiti
Released24 February 1975 (1975-02-24)
LabelSwan Song
Jimmy Page
Audio sample

"Kashmir" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. Included on their sixth album Physical Graffiti (1975), it was written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (with contributions from John Bonham) over a period of three years with lyrics dating to 1973.

The song became a concert staple, performed by the band at almost every concert after its release. It has been described as one of Led Zeppelin's two most overtly progressive epics.[2]

Composition and lyrics

The riff for the song uses a non-standard guitar tuning, influenced by Page's interest in modal tunings and Arabic and Eastern music. The song combines different rhythmic meters: the guitar riff is in triple meter, while the vocal is in quadruple meter.[3] Plant felt that the drumming was an important component of the song and that Bonham did not overplay his part.[4]

Page recorded a demo version with drummer Bonham late in 1973, when John Paul Jones was late for the recording sessions. Plant later added lyrics and a middle section; in early 1974, Jones added orchestration.[4][5] Page and Plant had previously travelled to Bombay in 1972; they worked there with various Indian musicians, gaining production ideas during the re-recordings of "Four Sticks" and "Friends".[] Session players were brought in for the string and horn sections for "Kashmir"[5] and Jones added a Mellotron.[6]

The lyrics were written by Plant in 1973 immediately after Led Zeppelin's 1973 US tour.[5] Although named after Kashmir, a disputed region currently under Indian and Pakistani occupation, none of the group members had visited the area.[7] Instead, Plant was inspired during a drive through a desolate desert area of southern Morocco.[4][5]

Live performances

"Kashmir" was played live at almost every Led Zeppelin concert since its debut in 1975.[8] A version from Knebworth in 1979 appears on the Led Zeppelin DVD (2003).[9] The surviving members performed the song at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988.[10]

Page and Plant recorded a longer, live version, with an Egyptian/Moroccan orchestra for No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded (1994)[11] and performed the song with an orchestra on their 1995 tour.

It was performed at Led Zeppelin's reunion show at The O2, London on 10 December 2007.[12] That rendition - released on Celebration Day in 2012[13] - was nominated in 2014 for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance at the 56th Grammys.[14]"'Kashmir' actually isn't that difficult", Page remarked during rehearsals for the show. "But it helps to have a drummer [Bonham] who understands the part and a bass player who can play bass with his feet. Sometimes it sounds like John's [Jones] got three feet. It's intense."[15]


All four members of Led Zeppelin have agreed that "Kashmir" is one of their best musical achievements.[6] John Paul Jones suggested that it showcases all of the elements that made up the Led Zeppelin sound.[4] Led Zeppelin archivist Dave Lewis comments:

Unquestionably the most startling and impressive track on Physical Graffiti, and arguably the most progressive and original track that Led Zeppelin ever recorded. 'Kashmir' went a long way towards establishing their credibility with otherwise skeptical rock critics. Many would regard this track as the finest example of the sheer majesty of Zeppelin's special chemistry.[5]

In a retrospective review of Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition), Brice Ezell of PopMatters described "Kashmir" as Physical Graffitis "quintessential track".[16] Ezell called "Kashmir"'s "doomy ostinato riff and rapturous post-chorus brass/mellotron section" as "inimitable moments in the legacy of classic rock".[16]


The song is listed highly in a number of professional music rankings:

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Classic Rock US "The Top Fifty Classic Rock Songs of All Time"[17] 1995 20
Classic Rock UK "Ten of the Best Songs Ever!!.. (Bubbling under)"[18] 1999 23
VH1 US "The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time"[19] 2000 62
Rolling Stone US "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"[20] 2003 141
Blender US "Standout Tracks from the 500 CDs You Must Own"[21] 2003 *
Q UK "1010 Songs You Must Own!"[22] 2004 *
Q UK "Ultimate Music Collection - Rock"[23] 2005 *
Q UK "100 Greatest Songs of All Time"[24] 2006 74
VH1 US "VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs"[1] 2009 21
Triple J Australia "Hottest 100 of All Time"[25] 2009 98

(*) designates unordered lists

Chart positions

Single (digital download)

Chart (2007) Peak position
UK Singles Chart 80
Swiss Singles Chart[26] 64
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs Chart[27] 42
US Billboard Hot Digital Tracks Chart[28] 49
Canadian Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart[29] 33

Note: The official UK Singles Chart incorporated legal downloads as of 17 April 2005.


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[30] Gold 15,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Silver 200,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Copyright issue

The 1988 Schoolly D song "Signifying Rapper", which samples "Kashmir", was the target of lawsuits following its use in the 1992 film Bad Lieutenant.[32] In 1994, Page and Plant successfully sued Home Box Office to have the song removed from televised showings of the film[33] and Live Home Video and distributor Aries Film Releasing were ordered to destroy any unsold copies of Bad Lieutenant as part of a copyright infringement ruling.[34]

Cover versions and sampling



  1. ^ a b "VH1 Greatest Hard Rock Songs - January 2009". VH1. Archived from the original on 27 August 2010. Retrieved 2009.
  2. ^ a b Macan 1997, p. 154.
  3. ^ Robinson, Karl D. "STI Lesson 44 - Compositional Techniques". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Crowe 1993, p. 17.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lewis 2010, eBook.
  6. ^ a b Yorke 1993, p. 178.
  7. ^ William S. Burroughs, Rock Magic: Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin, and a Search for the Elusive Stairway to Heaven, Crawdaddy!, June 1975.
  8. ^ "Led Zeppelin Shows". Led Zeppelin.com (official website). Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "Led Zeppelin [DVD Box Set] - Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary". Led Zeppelin.com (official website). Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "Page & Plant: No Quarter - Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "Led Zeppelin The O2 Arena - December 10, 2007". Led Zeppelin.com (official website). Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ "Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day - Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018.
  14. ^ "2014 Nominees" (PDF). The Recording Academy. Retrieved 2018.
  15. ^ Sandall, Robert (January 2008). "The Q interview". Q. No. 258. p. 42.
  16. ^ a b Ezell, Brice (27 February 2015). "Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition)". PopMatters. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "The Top Fifty Classic Rock Songs of All Time - 1995". Jacobs Media. Retrieved 2009.
  18. ^ "Ten of the Best Songs Ever!.. (Bubbling under) - September 1999". Classic Rock. Retrieved 2009.
  19. ^ "The 100 Greatest Rock Songs of All Time - July 2000". VH1. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  20. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time - November 2003". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009.
  21. ^ "Standout Tracks from the 500 CDs You Must Own - 2003". Blender. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 2009.
  22. ^ "1010 Songs You Must Own! Q50 - #2: Air Guitar - September 2004". Q. Retrieved 2009.
  23. ^ "Ultimate Music Collection: Rock - April 2005". Q. Retrieved 2009.
  24. ^ "100 Greatest Songs of All Time - October 2006". Q. Retrieved 2009.
  25. ^ "Hottest 100 - Of All Time". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 25 November 2007". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2009.
  27. ^ "Hot 100 Digital Songs - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Archived from the original on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 2009.
  28. ^ "Hot 100 Digital Tracks - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 2009.[dead link]
  29. ^ "Hot Digital Singles - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Archived from the original on 8 September 2013. Retrieved 2009.
  30. ^ "Italian single certifications - Led Zeppelin - Kashmir" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Kashmir" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  31. ^ "British single certifications - Led Zeppelin - Kashmir". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 2017.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Kashmir in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  32. ^ Tobias, Scott (27 November 2002). "Interview: Abel Ferrara". The A.V. Club. Onion. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009.
  33. ^ Jeffrey, Don. "Plant, Page Oust Song From Film" Billboard 5 March 1994: 12
  34. ^ Sandler, Adam (14 December 1994). Live Must Destroy 'Bad' Vids Sez Judge. Variety


External links

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