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date: 04 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although first published in 1954, the cultural impact of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings arguably began in earnest only during the late 1960s and early 1970s. As Terrence Malley explained in 1972, Tolkien’s writings seemed “particularly relevant in our own age of anti-heroes, in this time when we can readily identify with the small and the apparently powerless.” This chapter considers the role of The Lord of the Rings in the music of Led Zeppelin between 1969 and 1971, focusing on three songs that directly reference Tolkien’s works: “The Battle of Evermore,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” and “Ramble On.” By considering previous incarnations of medievalism and romanticism in British history as well as Tolkien’s own participation in antiquarianism and constructions of Britishness, this chapter suggests that Led Zeppelin’s allusions to Tolkien’s literature rely on cultural memory to actively participate in a dialogue of urban criticism and a romanticized vision of rural Britain.

Keywords: Tolkien, Led Zeppelin, nostalgia, fantasy, Lord of the Rings, rural

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