Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face
And stars fill my dream
I’m a traveler of both time and space
To be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race
This world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait
All will be revealed
Robert Plant once said, “I wish we were remembered for Kashmir more than Stairway To Heaven”. The song comes from the album Physical Graffiti, released in 1975.
Avoiding, as usual, commenting on any obscure meanings on Stairway To Heaven’s lyrics, he explains the dark period that gave birth to Kashmir, almost like a mission that was there to be accomplished; a task to be completed. This is reflected in the cohesive effect that this song had on the band, and in the power that made Kashmir the truest monument to Led Zeppelin.
It showcased their ability to project dreamlike visions, and to describe ethereal and poetic worlds.
All I see turns to brown
As the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand
As I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find
Where I’ve been
Kashmir is the place in which the band imagines they are conversing with the old local prophets, about revelations and the coming of the Messiah.
The sun burns, the sand dries their face.
Led Zeppelin are in a dreamlike delirium, in a mystical reality. The revelation will then become a prayer, an invocation, awaiting a direction.
And that’s exactly what the guitar riff does. It is repeated endlessly, giving pace, and marking a path that also leads to mystical delusions, when the violins start to mock Robert Plant. As in the ancient iambic poem, the melody in the bridge seems to become playful, making fun of this delirium. At the same time, the violins hold the lyrics together: cutting, solemn, and visionary.
It’s as if they are in a trance.
The voices echo mythological words.
Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace
Like sorts inside a dream
Leave the path that led me to that place
Yellow desert stream
Like Shangri-la beneath the summer moon
I will return again
As the dust that floats finds you
We’re moving through Kashmir
Kashmir is probably the song that best represents Led Zeppelin.
Kashmir is the power of hard rock.