Led Zeppelin

The Immigrant Song

Composed by Jimmy Page / Robert Plant

Song Review by

Kicking off the band's 1970-released third album, "Immigrant Song" is Led Zeppelin at their most powerful and basic, riding an up-tempo groove and a stomping Jimmy Page guitar riff that simply switches between two octaves of the same note. As the song opens, John Bonham's drums double the riff, and Robert Plant's otherworldly howl enters shortly thereafter, singing a piercing, wordless melody that seems to invoke the spirits of the long-dead mariners mentioned in the lyrics. The "immigrants" of the title are actually ancient Viking conquerors (there are references to "the land of the ice and snow," "the hammer of the gods," and Valhalla), and the unearthly quality of Plant's voice helps establish an aura of mystery and pagan myth about the song that makes it as eerie as it is hard-rocking. Plant also projects a certain menace in keeping with the warlike nature of the song's characters, and his softer, slinkier tone on threats like "We are your overlords" contrasts nicely with the shrieking chorus. Although "Immigrant Song" isn't too technically challenging, there are quite a few change-ups from the main riff that keep things from getting repetitive; there's also an unorthodox ending which uses a melody and variation on the main riff not heard previously in the song. While the rest of the band plays well, "Immigrant Song" is really Plant's showcase, and he turns in a stellar performance.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Led Zeppelin III 1970 Atlantic 2:26
Led Zeppelin [Box Set] 1990 Atlantic 2:23
Led Zeppelin Remasters 1992 Atlantic UK 2:23
Immigrant Song 1992 Atlantic 2:25
Complete Studio Recordings 1993 Atlantic 2:25
BBC Sessions 1997 Atlantic 3:21
Early Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin, Vol. 1 1999 Atlantic
Early Days & Latter Days: Vol. 1 & 2 2002 Warner Bros.
Led Zeppelin [DVD Box Set] 2003 Atlantic
School of Rock [Original Soundtrack] 2003
Original Soundtrack
Shrek the Third 2007
Original Soundtrack
Geffen 2:25
Mothership 2007 Rhino Atlantic 2:26
Definitive Collection Mini LP 2008 Rhino 2:25
The Complete BBC Sessions 2016 Atlantic / Rhino
No Image Roundpin 5:22
No Image
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:22
No Image Joker
The Complete Led Zeppelin Collection Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 2:26
blue highlight denotes editor's pick