Led Zeppelin is an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. Their heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues on their early albums, has drawn them recognition as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music.
Kashmir is a concert staple, being performed by the band at almost every concert since its release.
The lyrics to Kashmir were written by Robert Plant in 1973 immediately after Led Zeppelin's 1973 US Tour, in an area he called "the waste lands" of Southern Morocco, while driving from Goulimine to Tantan in the Sahara Desert. This was despite the fact that the song is named after Kashmir, a region in the northwestern part of the Himalayas. As Plant explained to rock journalist Cameron Crowe:
The whole inspiration came from the fact that the road went on and on and on. It was a single-track road which neatly cut through the desert. Two miles to the East and West were ridges of sandrock. It basically looked like you were driving down a channel, this dilapidated road, and there was seemingly no end to it. 'Oh, let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dreams...' It's one of my favourites...that, 'All My Love' and 'In the Light' and two or three others really were the finest moments. But 'Kashmir' in particular. It was so positive, lyrically.Plant also commented on the challenges he faced in writing lyrics for such a complex piece of music:
It was an amazing piece of music to write to, and an incredible challenge for me ... Because of the time signature, the whole deal of the song is… not grandiose, but powerful: it required some kind of epithet, or abstract lyrical setting about the whole idea of life being an adventure and being a series of illuminated moments. But everything is not what you see. It was quite a task, ’cause I couldn’t sing it. It was like the song was bigger than me. It’s true: I was petrified, it’s true. It was painful; I was virtually in tears.In an interview he gave to William S. Burroughs in 1975, Page mentioned that at the time the song was composed, none of the band members had ever been to Kashmir.