Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” Lyrics Meaning
Westerners in particular seem to possess this mental condition which for the sake of simplicity of this analysis we will refer to as naturalistic fallacy. In other words, they tend to dream of some far off land where the people are “gentle”, their words ‘graceful’, so on and so forth. And such is how Robert Plant envisions “Kashmir” in this song.
To note, Kashmir is in fact a real-life location, though one that Led Zeppelin had not actually been to when they wrote this song. Instead what they were rather more directly inspired by was a drive through Morocco.
This trek took place through a desolate area, such that it apparently prompted the vocalist, as implied by the fourth and fifth verses, to fantasize that he was on his way to some type of hidden paradise, a “Shangri-La” as he puts it.
It should also be pointed out that Led Zeppelin had been to India, the extremely large country where Kashmir is actually located, prior but never to said locality itself. But as implied earlier, the titular location, as presented, isn’t meant to be an actual place per se. Rather, the lyrics represent the vocalist’s personal vision of paradise on earth, so to speak.
The Birth of “Kashmir”
According to Robert Plant, “Kashmir” was born during a trip he and fellow bandmate Jimmy Page made to the coast of Morocco. During their Moroccan trip, the pair visited multiple major cities in this Northern African country, including the famous city of Agadir. During the trip, they encountered a lot of “hippies”. And according to him, what struck him about these hippies was that they were no different from he and Jimmy.
When did Led Zeppelin release “Kashmir”?
English rock collective Led Zeppelin recorded “Kashmir” for their sixth studio project, “Physical Graffiti”. The song, which appears as the sixth track on the album’s tracklist, was issued on the same date with the album. And said issuance date is February 24 of 1975.
It received massive airplay in various nations. And despite it not being a single, the song achieved impressive peak positions on a number of charts around the world. This includes landing on the UK singles chart, peaking at #80.
The song’s huge performance in the United Kingdom earned it a Silver certification from the BPI. It also received Gold in Italy.
“Kashmir” has received high ratings from several professional music bodies and magazines. An example of this is its inclusion on Classic Rock’s “The Top Fifty Classic Rock Songs of All Time” of 1995. The song was ranked at #20 on the said list.
This song appeared on Rolling Stone’s compilation of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” for the years 2010 and 2021, ranking at #141 and #148, respectively.
Also to note, in addition to their 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven“, this track is regarded as one of the band’s most critically and commercially successful songs.
“Kashmir” was authored by three members of the group. And they are:
- Robert Plant
- John Bonham
- Jimmy Page (who was also responsible for the track’s production)
Notable Covers of “Kashmir”
Late US rock singer Kevin Gilbert covered “Kashmir” in 1995. Aside from Gilbert’s version, several other recording artists have performed their versions of the song. The following acts are just a handful of famous artists to have come out with covers of this classic:
- Jeff Buckley (in 2001)
- Paul Di’Anno (in 2006)
- Gregorian (in 2009)
- Tim Reynolds (in 2010)
Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” Album
Released in February 1975 as the band’s sixth studio album, “Physical Graffiti” birthed a ton of hits, including “Kashmir”.
This project, as a whole, has been a successful one for the group. It earned a nomination at the Grammys for “Best Recording Package” in 1976. This accolade ultimately went to “Honey”, a studio album by American collective, Ohio Players. Eagles’ “One of These Nights” and Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” were also part of the nominees for said award.
“Physical Graffiti” has been ranked highly on multiple lists of all-time greatest albums. One of such lists is 2020’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Rolling Stone. On this list, the album was placed at #144. It also featured, at #47, on Mojo’s 1996 compilation “The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made”.
“Physical Graffiti” achieved chart success in the US, Canada, and the UK, peaking at #1 on the official album charts in the said regions. It also entered the top-10 on the album charts in the countries below:
- New Zealand
By the year 2006 this record had sold in excess of 8 million copies in the US, earning a 16x Platinum certification from the RIAA. It went double-Platinum in the UK and Australia.