14
Jul 08

The Freaky Trigger Top 100 Tracks Of All Time No. 40: Led Zeppelin – “Immigrant Song”

FT/4 comments • 648 views

When Jeff Wayne was hunting for a musical way to express the horror and chaos of a Martian invasion, it was to Led Zeppelin he turned. The synthesiser riff on “Horsell Common And The Heat Ray”, so evocative of war-blasted Wokingham and Chobham, is nothing more than the wordless chorus howl of “Immogrant Song”, slowed down a bit. To the Angles huddled in their sheepfolds on the North Sea coast, the attacking Norsemen must have seemed as terrifyingly other as the Martians, sharing their blind death-lust and effortless tech superiority. So of course from the comfort of our armchairs centuries later it’s the Northlanders we empathise with, not their prey: surely being a Viking must have been as primal and thrlling as Led Zeppelin’s most undeniably POP moment?

(Similarly, in Wayne if not Wells the Martians are BY SOME DISTANCE the amoral pop heroes of WoTW – let’s face it, OOLAA gets the blood pumping more than D.Essex)

To be a “barbarian”, an invader, is to face two historical fates: oblivion or assimilation. The long-term economics of constant rapine don’t add up – sooner or later you end up dead, or in a bigger sheepfold of your own, listlessly watching the horizon you once shadowed. That’s the pessimistic view, anyway, one I subscribed to when I used to handwave Led Zep away into irrelevance because they were Rock and Old. The Vikings short-circuited that gloomy prospect by simply making their afterlife a hall of heroes where eternal pillage was an option. In its forever addictive aggression, the Zep song that turned me round on them makes the same point.

Comments

  1. 1
    Mark G on 14 Jul 2008 #

    The best rendition was done by the cats/kittens that did the “Krusha” ads (forgot the website name..), but boring old Led Zep made them take it off!

  2. 2
    Alan on 14 Jul 2008 #

    Joel Veitch’s rathergood.com was the original site. but that’s vanished from it in favour of viking kittens sing the vines and electric 6

    however http://users.wolfcrews.com/toys/vikings/ has preserved the immigrant song for you.

  3. 3
    Mark G on 14 Jul 2008 #

    That’s the one! Marv!

  4. 4
    CarsmileSteve on 16 Jul 2008 #

    hahaha, the first thing i thought of was teh kittehs!

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