Immigrant Song: Wikis


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"Immigrant Song"
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin III
B-side "Hey Hey What Can I Do"
Released 5 November 1970
Recorded May–August 1970
Genre Heavy metal
Length 2:25, 2:23 (single version)
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
Producer Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Whole Lotta Love" / "Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)"
"Immigrant Song" / "Hey Hey What Can I Do"
"Black Dog" / "Misty Mountain Hop"
Led Zeppelin III track listing
"Immigrant Song"
Audio sample
file info · help

"Immigrant Song" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was released as a single from their third album, Led Zeppelin III, in 1970.



The song is famous for its distinctive, wailing cry from vocalist Robert Plant at the beginning of the song, and is built around a repeating, staccato Jimmy Page/John Paul Jones/John Bonham riff in the key of F# Phrygian. There is a very faint count-off the beginning of the track with lots of hiss which appears on the album version, but is trimmed from the single version. The hiss is feedback from an echo unit.[1]

"Immigrant Song" was written during Led Zeppelin's tour of Iceland, Bath and Germany in mid-1970. The opening date of this tour took place in Reykjavik, Iceland, which inspired Plant to write the song. As he explained:

We weren't being pompous ... We did come from the land of the ice and snow. We were guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be cancelled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal. The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. "Immigrant Song" was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different.[2]

Just six days after Led Zeppelin's appearance in Reykjavik, the band performed the song for the first time on stage during the Bath Festival.[3]

The song is dedicated to the Icelander Leif Ericson, and is sung from the perspective of Vikings rowing west from Scandinavia in search of new lands. The lyrics make explicit reference to Viking conquests and the Old Norse religion (Fight the horde, sing and cry, Valhalla, I am coming!). In a 1970 radio interview, Plant jokingly recalled:

We went to Iceland, and it made you think of Vikings and big ships... and John Bonham's stomach... and bang, there it was - Immigrant Song![1]

"Immigrant Song" is one of Led Zeppelin's few single releases, having been released in November 1970 by their record label, Atlantic Records, against the band's wishes. It reached #16 on the Billboard charts.[1] Its B side, "Hey Hey What Can I Do", was otherwise unavailable before the release of the band's first boxed set in 1990. The single was also mistakenly released in Japan with "Out on the Tiles" as the B-side rather than "Hey Hey What Can I Do." That single is now a rare collectible.

One of the lines from the song became part of Led Zeppelin lore. The line, "The hammer of the gods/will drive our ships to new lands" prompted some people to start referring to Led Zeppelin's sound as the "Hammer of the Gods." The phrase was used as the title of Stephen Davis' famous biography of the band, Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga. The lyrics also did much to inspire the classic heavy metal myth, of mighty Viking-esque figures on an adventure, themes which have been adopted in the look and music of bands from Iron Maiden to Manowar.

"Immigrant Song" was used to open Led Zeppelin concerts from 1970 to 1972. On the second half of their 1972 concert tour of the United States, it was introduced by a short piece of music known as "LA Drone", designed to heighten the sense of anticipation and expectation amongst the concert audience. By 1973, "Immigrant Song" was occasionally being used as an encore, but was then removed from their live set.[1] Live versions of the song can be heard on the Led Zeppelin albums How The West Was Won (featuring a performance at Long Beach Arena in 1972) and the Led Zeppelin BBC Sessions (a version from the Paris Theatre in London in 1971). When played live, Page played a lengthy guitar solo, which was absent on the recorded Led Zeppelin III version.[1] "Immigrant Song" was played as part of the 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Jeff Beck by both Page and Beck.

Cultural influence

The song is commonly played by marching bands at high school and college football games. The song is also one of the few Led Zeppelin songs to have been licensed for a film. For the 2003 film School of Rock, actor Jack Black filmed himself on stage, along with thousands of screaming fans, begging Led Zeppelin to let them use "Immigrant Song".[4] The song also appears, in a slightly changed version due to licensing reasons, in Shrek the Third, when Snow White attacks the city gates, guarded by Huorns. She cries the characteristic war cry of Robert Plant, backed by the riff, as in the beginning of the original song.[5]

"Immigrant Song" also appeared in the 1999 documentary about the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre, One Day in September,[6] and the trailers for the BBC1 drama series Life on Mars. Starting from the 2007 season, the Minnesota Vikings play this song during their team introductions and before kickoffs. During the 2007/8 football season, Brentford FC played this song immediately before kick-off. Bruiser Brody aka Frank Goodish-professional wrestling legend entrance music was this song and the beginning of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. However, in Japan, he had a cover of this song as his theme song. It was without lyrics.

The Max Weinberg 7 played this song regularly during Late Night With Conan O'Brien. The song was placed over an animation of kittens in Viking costumes on

Comedian Denis Leary did a comedic cover of the song during his MTV Unplugged special in 1993. Vanilla Ice used "Immigrant Song" as the basis for "Power", a rap metal song performed in concerts in 1999.[7][8] An instrumental version of the song was used in the opening credits of a 1973 martial Arts film, Young Tiger, staring Fei Meng and a young Jackie Chan.

Formats and tracklistings

1970 7" single (US/Australia/New Zealand: Atlantic 45-2777, Austria/Germany: Atlantic ATL 70460, Belgium: Atlantic BE 650222, Canada: Atlantic AT 2777, France: Atlantic 650 226L, Holland: Atlantic ATL 2091043, Italy/Jamaica: Atlantic ATL 45-2777, Greece: Atlantic 2091 043, Japan: Warner Pioneer P-1007A, Portugal: Atlantic ATL N 28101, South Africa: Atlantic ATS 531, Spain: Atlantic H 671, Sweden: Atlantic ATL 70.460, Turkey: Atlantic 71505)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Hey Hey What Can I Do" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 3:55

1970 7" radio edit (US: Atlantic 45-2777 PL)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" [stereo] (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Immigrant Song" [mono] (Page, Plant) 2:25

1970 7" single (Colombia: WEA 167/168, Costa Rica: Atlantic 70.029, Mexico: Atlantic 1701-1919, Philippines: Atlantic 45-3741)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Tangerine" (Page) 3:10

1970 7" single (Japan: Nihon Gramophone DT-1180)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Out on the Tiles" (Bonham, Page, Plant) 4:07

1970 7" single (South Africa: Atlantic ATS 528)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Friends" (Page, Plant) 3:54

1970 7" single (Uruguay: Atlantic 2164013)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Gallows Pole" (trad. arr. Page, Plant) 4:56

1970 7" single (Venezuela: Atlantic 5-018)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Whole Lotta Love" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant, Dixon) 3:12

1970 7" EP (Mexico: Atlantic 2207-014)

  • A1. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • A2. "Tangerine" (Page) 3:10
  • B. "Out on the Tiles" (Bonham, Page, Plant) 4:07

1970 7" EP (Bolivia: Polydor 608030)

  • A1. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • A2. "Celebration Day" (Jones, Page, Plant) 3:29
  • B. "Since I've Been Loving You" (Jones, Page, Plant) 7:23

1971 7" single (Argentina/Chile/Peru: Atlantic 2091 149)

  • A. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • B. "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" (Jones, Page, Plant) 4:16

1992 CD single (US: Atlantic 2777-2)

  • 1. "Immigrant Song" (Page, Plant) 2:25
  • 2. "Hey Hey What Can I Do" (Bonham, Jones, Page, Plant) 3:55

Chart positions


Chart (1971) Peak position
Italian Singles Chart[9] 59
US Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart[10] 8
US Record World 100 Top Pops[11] 10
Canadian CHUM Chart[12] 2
Canadian RPM Top 100 Chart[13] 4
Japanese Singles Chart[14] 13
US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart[15] 16
Dutch Singles Chart[16] 9
South African Top 20 Singles Chart[17] 7
Australian Go-Set Top 60 Singles Chart[18] 16
German Singles Chart[19] 6
Swiss Singles Chart[20] 4
Austrian Singles Chart[21] 13
New Zealand Top 50 Singles Chart[22] 4
Spanish Singles Chart[23] 11

Single (Digital download)

Chart (2007) Peak position
UK Singles Chart[24] 109
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs Chart[25] 71
Canadian Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart[26] 54

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

Cover versions


  • Lewis, Dave (2004) The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
  • Welch, Chris (1998) Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song, ISBN 1-56025-818-7


  1. ^ a b c d e Dave Lewis (1994), The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin, Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9.
  2. ^ Chris Welch (1994) Led Zeppelin, London: Orion Books. ISBN 0-85797-930-3, p. 55.
  3. ^ Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (1997) Led Zeppelin: The Concert File, London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-5307-4, pp. 50-51.
  4. ^ School of Rock soundtrack
  5. ^ Shrek the Third soundtrack
  6. ^ One Day in September soundtrack
  7. ^ Fassnacht, Jon (April 2, 1999). "Yo V.I.P. ! Crowbar kicks it with Vanilla Ice". The Dialy Collegian. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  8. ^ Musgrove, Mike (June 23, 1999). "At the 9:30, Pain Vanilla". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  9. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 1970". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  10. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 9 January 1971". Cash Box. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  11. ^ "Top 40 for 1971 - January 1971". Record World. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  12. ^ "CHUM Singles Chart - 23 January 1971". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  13. ^ "RPM Singles Chart - 23 January 1971". RPM. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  14. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 25 January 1971". Oricon. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  15. ^ "Hot 100 Singles - 30 January 1971". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  16. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 6 February 1971". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  17. ^ "Top 20 Singles - 26 February 1971". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  18. ^ "Top 60 Singles - 6 March 1971". Go Set. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  19. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 5 April 1971". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 9 April 1971". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  21. ^ "Top 100 Singles - 15 May 1971". Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  22. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Singles - May 1971". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 1-877443-00-8. 
  23. ^ "Top 100 Singles - May 1971". PROMUSICAE. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  24. ^ "Top 75 Singles - 18 November 2007". Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  25. ^ "Hot Digital Songs - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 
  26. ^ "Hot Digital Singles - 1 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-01-17. 

External links

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