Meaning and Facts behind “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin isn’t known for being a comical act. So as such, many fans and analysts ended up reading too deeply into this song (“Immigrant Song”), which in reality has a light-hearted origin story.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song at

For instance, during this research we were met with explanations such as the lyrics speaking to when the Vikings bumrushed Britain way back in the days. Furthermore, with Robert Plant himself being sort of a history buff, this piece was in part inspired by the era in which world travel was conducted primarily by sea. And it is also apparent, to those of us who are actually familiar with the word “Valhalla”, that Norse mythology played a role in this composition also.

Well, the Vikings are largely associated with Iceland, one of the countries that they dominated. And with that in mind, it just so happens that the true inspiration behind this piece emerged from an experience Led Zeppelin had in said country. 

So in the chorus for example, when the vocalist claims that “we come from the land of the ice and snow”, no, he is not taking on the role of a Viking. Rather what he is speaking to, more literally, is the concept of Led Zeppelin themselves returning home from Iceland. 

And overall, even though they did meet some challenges while there, visiting the country proved to be a pleasurable experience for the homeys. They so much enjoyed the experience to the point that Led Zeppelin (a band that was infamously reluctant towards) dropping singles, released “Immigrant Song” as one anyway.


So with all of that said, it would perhaps be wise that we don’t try to delve too deeply into the lyrics at hand, since they are highly poetic in nature. But generally speaking this song does possess an actual historical slant. However, in that regard, it does not read as if Robert and co. are singing about a particular locality like Iceland or the United Kingdom but rather a concept like the history of war in general, especially that which resulted from the efforts of seafaring conquerors.

Lyrics to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song"

When was “Immigrant Song” released?

Led Zeppelin was a rock band from London that was truly only extant for about 12 years, most notably throughout the 1970s. However, they still managed to achieve a legendary status, even holding the distinction of being one of the utmost best-selling musical acts ever. 

That said, this track (“Immigrant Song”) came out on 5 November 1970 as part of their third album. This project is aptly entitled “Led Zeppelin III”.

The song also served as the only actual single issued from “Led Zeppelin III”, with its B-side being a track called “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do”. That is except for in Japan, where the single was packaged with “Out on the Tiles” instead.

Song’s Credits

When this track was released, Led Zeppelin consisted of the following respected musicians:

  • John Bonham (1948-1980)
  • John Paul Jones
  • Jimmy Page
  • Robert Plant

However, it is only Page and Plant who wrote “Immigrant Song” (with Robert also holding down the vocals). Furthermore, the entirety of “Led Zeppelin III” was produced by Jimmy Page

Immigrant Song

Some More Facts!

“Immigrant Song” is considered a Led Zeppelin classic. For instance, it has also been featured on a couple of their compilation albums later down the line. Also, Rolling Stone placed it in the top 10 of their “40 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs of All Time” ranking. By the way, the top-5 section of that list consists of the following classics:

“Immigrant Song” appeared at number 7 on the list.

Additionally, it has appeared in a handful of films. Perhaps most notably in that regard is 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Another notable one is Jack Black going out of his way to utilize it on 2003’s School of Rock

This song was eventually certified gold in the UK and Italy. Furthermore, upon initial release, it charted in over a dozen countries. One of these countries was the United States. Here, it broke the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. 

It should also be pointed out that the motif of “Immigrant Song” went on to inspire some future heavy metal acts. 

Decades later, Led Zeppelin reissued this track to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Led Zeppelin III”.

Concerning Led Zeppelin’s aforementioned reluctance to release singles, apparently, despite being British themselves, said taboo was most pronounced in relation to the United Kingdom. So that would explain why “Immigrant Song” did not get around to charting in their homeland until 2007. It should be stated that 2007 was around the time the Official Charts Company started counting digital downloads also.

On the initial pressing of this single, Led Zeppelin used the opportunity to pay homage to the late and controversial occultist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). However it has been pointed out that only Jimmy Page was fond of Crowley’s teachings.

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