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Tolkien References In Rock

Every musician knows that there’s a huge overlap between the musical world and the nerd world. If you go to a con and meet a lot of Dungeons and Dragons nerds, and then go to a metal concert later that night, you might just run into a lot of the same people. But of course, music and nerd-dom have overlapping features: nerds are people who are totally fixated on their hobbies, and musical success requires obsession with your instrument and your craft.

Once you understand that, it’s no surprise that rock music is full of Tolkien references. From the 60s onward, decades and decades of rock and roll carry hidden and overt references to Middle Earth. Dumb jocks may have worn Led Zeppelin t shirts over the years, but the classic rockers of the 20th century counted quite a few Tolkien fanatics among their ranks. Let’s have a look at some of them.

I’ve already mentioned Led Zeppelin, so let’s begin there. We all know about Led Zeppelin. We’ve all heard their songs on the radio and seen Led Zeppelin t shirts. But what you may not know is that there are three Led Zeppelin songs with references to The Lord Of The Rings. One of the most famous is Ramble On: How years ago in days of old

When magic filled the air

'T was in the darkest depths of Mordor

I met a girl so fair

But Gollum, and the evil one

Crept up and slipped away with her

There’s also a Tolkien reference in Misty Mountain Hop: So I've decided what I'm gonna do now

So I'm packing my bags for the Misty Mountains

And finally, one from The Battle Of Evermore:

The ringwraiths ride in black,

Ride on.

Led Zeppelin weren’t the only classic rockers to make references to Tolkien. The Black Sabbath song, “The Wizard”, was penned by Geezer Butler in conscious imitation of Gandalf.

Nor are Tolkien references limited to rock music. New Age musician Enya wrote an instrumental piece called “Lothlorien” in 1991, which is named after a mystical Elven forest in Middle Earth. Enya, who is a classically-trained pianist, has stated that The Lord Of The Rings is her favorite book. You can imagine how excited she must have been to write two instrumental tracks for the Fellowship of the Ring movie when it was released in the early 2000s.


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