Led Zeppelin – Ramble On

What I like about Zeppelin is change. Every album took a step in another direction. It wasn’t just the bombardment of hard guitars like the first album. They stepped into folk, reggae, rockabilly, soul, blues, country, and rock and roll. The fans and critics complained at times especially over Led Zeppelin III.

I’ve always liked this song. John Paul Jones’s bass stands out in this song. His bass in some Zeppelin songs is back in the mix a bit. The lyrics were inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien and similar themes appeared on subsequent Led Zeppelin albums. In this song they did what they did best…light and dark…soft and hard. The dynamics they worked on would later culminate into Stairway to Heaven.

This song was on Led Zeppelin II that they recorded all over in different studios on their first tour. They recorded this song in New York.

The album Led Zeppelin II peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, and #1 in the UK.

From Songfacts

Some of Robert Plant’s lyrics in this song were inspired by the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of The Rings. The references are to the adventures of the Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, as he goes to “the darkest depths of Mordor” and encounters “Gollum and the evil one.” Plant later admitted in an audio documentary that he was embarrassed by the Tolkien references, as they don’t make all that much sense – a fair maiden wouldn’t be found in Mordor, and Gollum would want nothing to do with her anyway, since his only concern is the precious ring.

This is one of Led Zeppelin’s most enduring songs, but they never performed it live from start to finish while the band was active. It was in their set when Zeppelin reunited for a one-off concert at the O2 Arena in London on December 10, 2007. John Bonham’s son Jason filled in on drums at that show.

What John Bonham played as percussion to supplement his drums on this song is not clear. It sounds like bongos, but has been reported to be a plastic garbage pail or a guitar case.

The concept of the troubadour “rambling on” – going from place to place and constantly moving forward – is one Robert Plant embraced. In his post-Zeppelin career, he went from one project to the next, refusing to fall back on nostalgia. It was Plant who kiboshed the proposed Led Zep reunion tour in 2007.

The group Train covered this on their 2001 Midnight Moon album. Their lead singer, Pat Monahan, was once in a band that did entire sets of Zeppelin songs. Producer Brendan O’Brien heard Train’s version and agreed to produce their second album.

This was sampled by the Insane Clown Posse for the song “50 Bucks” on their rare album Psychopathics From Outer Space and was also the single that accompanied The Pendulum #7, a 12-comic series of the group done by Chaos! Comics.

Along with “Going To California,” this is one of two Led Zeppelin songs used in the 2019 indie film The Friend. The band agreed to license the songs at a much lower rate than usual after hearing pleas from the filmmakers. The movie tells the true story of Nicole Teague, a woman with terminal cancer. The songs were part of her story and played an important role in the narrative.

Ramble On

Leaves are falling all around
It’s time I was on my way
Thanks to you I’m much obliged
For such a pleasant stay
But now it’s time for me to go
The autumn moon lights my way
For now I smell the rain
And with it pain
And it’s headed my way

Ah, sometimes I grow so tired
But I know I’ve got one thing I got to do

Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on
Gotta find the queen of all my dreams

Got no time for spreadin’ roots
The time has come to be gone
And thoough our health we drank a thousand times
It’s time to ramble on

Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now
To sing my song
I’m going ’round the world, I got to find my girl
On my way
I’ve been this way ten years to the day
I gotta ramble on
I gotta find the queen of all my dreams

I ain’t tellin’ no lie
Mine’s a tale that can’t be told
My freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old
When magic filled the air
‘T was in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair
But Gollum, and the evil one
Crept up and slipped away with her
Her, her, yeah
Ain’t nothing I can do, no

I guess I keep on rambling
I’m gonna, yeah, yeah, yeah
Sing my song (I gotta find my baby)
I gotta ramble on, sing my song
Gotta work my way around the world baby, baby
Ramble on, yeah
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, my baby
Doo, doo, doo, doo
Doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo doodoo

I gotta keep searching for my baby
(Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby)
I gotta keep-a-searchin’ for my baby
(My, my, my, my, my, my, my baby)
Yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
I can’t find my bluebird
I listen to my bluebird sing
I can’t find my bluebird
I keep rambling, baby
I keep rambling, baby


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

35 thoughts on “Led Zeppelin – Ramble On”

      1. I don’t have near as much Gypsy in me now as I used to either. I think it comes more from being married than age though. There are plenty of times where I really miss the Gypsy. 🙂


    1. It’s the one you can actually hear. I think Page mixed them more on guitar and drums…which is fine but he is a great bass player.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Yes, the evil Gollum came with the ring and stole Plant’s love slave. I always had to smile about the lyrics, but I like the song. A skillful mix of folk and rock – carried by John Paul Jones bass work.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good sounding song, though I never really paid much attention to the lyrics on it. Gotta admit, I have zero interest in ‘Lord of the Rings’ – tried to read it once and got about 20 pages in before tossing in the towel and going ‘this is meaningless drivel.” I know a lot of people love it and more power to ’em…
    JPJ is a great talent… he sometimes gets overlooked in that band.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes he does get overlooked. I’ve only watched the animations. In the seventies The Hobbit was really big…but no I’ve never read it.
      A lot of rock stars liked it. Duane Allman did also

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never knew he used the word…I just paid attention to John Paul Jones and Bonham in this one.
        Some artists I listen to lyrics more… Bob Dylan, The Who, Neil Young…Zeppelin I just go with it.


  3. Interesting anecdote about the song licensing for that film. I’ve wondered what goes on behind the scenes with various projects and song licensing. As to the lyrics of this one, I was unaware he was singing “Gollum,” and I won’t admit what I sort of mumbled as lyrics for the first twenty or so years I listened to Zep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no clue about the Gollum reference either. You are not alone. It’s funny about some songs…our garage band did Brown Sugar and all I did was mouth the sounds I thought I heard…I then looked at the lyrics…I could never do it right again.


  4. This song has it all. Poetry “leaves are falling on the ground, time I was on my way…” it has the sultry beginning with this grooviest bass you’ve ever heard, that slowly builds to a frenzy, it incorporates bits and pieces from Tolkien’s world, (which includes The Hobbit, The Trilogy, and The Silmarillion.) It’s got Plant’s voice of an angel, and Page’s threading guitar, all backed up by Bonham’s pounding, crashing waves of sound. You won’t find a better song. Anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I take it you are a fan? lol.
      I just wish all of the Led Zeppelin immitators would have taken notice that there is more to what they did than play a guitar loud.
      John Paul Jones bass…is really good in this and you can hear it…one of their best mixed songs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know I heard Tyler actually say…they were more influenced by The Beatles than the Stones (I wish I could find it)…which I never did believe. I think he was tired of being compared to them….but yes they did come up with some good stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cream by a few years. Now Zeppelin was influenced by the Beatles…the change part. Jimmy knew that was the reason The Beatles had staying power. They never stayed in one place….and that is what Zeppelin smartly did.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Don’t you think both bands were greatly influenced by the blues men in the US? Seems like both of them had a lot of covers of those old blues songs. The Beatles not so much, they created new music, music never heard before. That’s why it’s so wonderful. I agree with you on keeping things changing and fresh. Aerosmith fizzled after awhile because they ran out of ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yea Aerosmith…after they made Permanent Vacation…they kept on making it over and over.
        Oh yes Zeppelin was influence by the old blues artists….Cream totally was influenced by Robert Johnson.

        Where is gets hard is…was Aerosmith influenced by the Blues Artists or were they mostly influenced by The Stones and Zeppelin that were influenced by the Blues Artists…so yea it’s a chain I guess.
        The Beatles were influenced more by soul than blues I guess…I think that would be a fair statement. Smokey and Stax…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Tyler also added that they would go to a record store and grab Beatles singles to learn them.
        I would say the Stones were a heavy influence and Zeppelin…not so much The Beatles.

        Liked by 1 person

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