- Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
Name = Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
Album = Led Zeppelin
January 12 1969
track_no = 2
Recorded = October 1968
Hard rock, folk rock
Length = 6:41
Writer = Bredon/Page & Plant
Chart position =
prev = "
Good Times Bad Times"
prev_no = 1
next = "
You Shook Me"
next_no = 3
Audio sample? = yes
Upper caption = Audio sample
Audio file = Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I - 02 Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.ogg"Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" is a traditional folk song written by
Anne Bredonin the late 1950s. It was recorded by Joan Baezand released on her 1963 album "Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1", and also by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, who included it on their 1969 debut album "Led Zeppelin".
Joan Baez interpretation
Whilst a student at
UC-Berkeleyin around 1960, Anne Bredon appeared on a live folk-music radio show "The Midnight Special" on radio station KPFA, on which she sang "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You".Janet Smith, "The 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' Story," in "The Gate at the End of the World: A Collection of Songs by Anne Bredon" (Bella Roma Music, 1991), pp. vii-x.] A fellow folk singer who guested on "The Midnight Special", Janet Smith, then developed her own version of the song, which she sang at hootenany folk-song events at Oberlin College, one performance of which was attended by Joan Baez.Janet Smith, "The 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' Story," in "The Gate at the End of the World: A Collection of Songs by Anne Bredon" (Bella Roma Music, 1991), pp. vii-x.] Baez asked Smith to send her a tape of her songs, including "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You", which she subsequently began performing herself. It became the opening track on "Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1".Janet Smith, "The 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' Story," in "The Gate at the End of the World: A Collection of Songs by Anne Bredon" (Bella Roma Music, 1991), pp. vii-x.]
When this album was in production,
Vanguard Recordscontacted Smith to determine the authorship of the song. Because Smith was unable to track down Bredon prior to the release of Baez's album, the song was credited as "Traditional, arr. Baez" on "Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1".Janet Smith, "The 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' Story," in "The Gate at the End of the World: A Collection of Songs by Anne Bredon" (Bella Roma Music, 1991), pp. vii-x.] Anne Bredon was properly credited, however, in the "Joan Baez Song Book", which was published in 1964.Janet Smith, "The 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' Story," in "The Gate at the End of the World: A Collection of Songs by Anne Bredon" (Bella Roma Music, 1991), pp. vii-x.]
Led Zeppelin interpretation
The band was inspired to cover the song after hearing Baez's version. Both guitarist
Jimmy Pageand singer Robert Plantwere big fans of Baez. Baez's original album had indicated that the song was a traditional number, and Led Zeppelin followed suit by crediting the song as "Trad., arr. Page". In the 1980s, Bredon was made aware of Led Zeppelin's version of the song. Since 1990 the Led Zeppelin version has been credited to Anne Bredon/Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, and Bredon received a substantial back-payment in royalties.Dave Lewis (1994), "The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin", Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9]
This was the number Page played to Plant at their first meeting together, which took place at Page's riverside home at
Pangbournein late July 1968.Dave Lewis (1994), "The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin", Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9] It is often stated that the song evolved when Plant played to Page the guitar arrangement which eventually found its way onto the album. In an interview he gave with " Guitar World" magazine in 1998, Page refuted this story, noting that he had worked out the arrangement long before he met Plant, told him he would like it on the album, and that Plant at that time did not even play the guitar. [Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, "Light and Shade", "Guitar World", January 1998.]
It is rumoured that Page recorded another version of the song, with
Steve Winwood, in 1968, which was never released. [ [http://www.winwoodfans.com/cs/csunrel.htm#page Steve Winwood Fans' Site: Collaborations & Sessions: Unreleased Material ] ] At the 1:43 mark of Led Zeppelin's version of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", it is possible to hear a very faint trace of Plant singing, "I can hear it calling me" just before he sings the same line in full volume. It is as if he "hears it calling him." This "ghost" is the vocal bleed from Plant's scratch vocal, and it appears on the drum tracks, which were recorded live with the full band.
The band only played this song live at
Led Zeppelin concertson their 1969 concert tours, but Page and Plantbrought it back for their 1998 reunion in a 9-minute version. When he played this song live, Page tended to use a fuzzbox.Fact|date=May 2008 Led Zeppelin cite their best performance of the song to be at Copenhagen, Denmark, late 1968, during which Jimmy played the song with heavy fuzz.Fact|date=May 2008
A live, filmed performance of "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", from Led Zeppelin's gig on "
Danmarks Radio" at Gladsaxe, Denmark, on March 17, 1969, is featured on the " Led Zeppelin DVD" (2003).
Other interpretations of the Baez/Bredon song include versions by
The Associationin 1965 and British pop singer Mark Wynterin 1965. Quicksilver Messenger Servicerecorded a variation on the song in 1967, crediting it to Darling/Bennett/Bredon. ( Erik Darlingwas a New York folk music artist.) Welsh band Man would later cover the QMS song on their 1976 album " Maximum Darkness" (recorded live at Roundhouse, Chalk Farm on 26 May, 1975).
Damien Ricehas covered this track live in concert, sometimes as part of his cover of " When Doves Cry" by Prince. The song was also remixed by Quivver (AKA John Graham)and featured in Paul Oakenfold's DJ mix album "Perfecto Presents Another World". Most recently, Momentary Prophets have interpreted "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", combining it with the first track off " Led Zeppelin IV", "Black Dog".
As a result of touring in the United States and watching various "Led Zeppelin" cover bands and other artists perform this song, in recent months Robert Plant has taken to performing this song again, both with his "current" band "Strange Sensations" as well as in his concert tours as a solo artist.
*"Led Zeppelin: Dazed and Confused: The Stories Behind Every Song", by Chris Welch, ISBN 1-56025-818-7
*"The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin", by Dave Lewis, ISBN 0-7119-3528-9
*Review: [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:ya9dsd2qa3rg All Music Guide]
*Joan Baez original (YouTube video montage): [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eCNLY7ezJo]
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