The 50 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs
Guitar World presents a critical analysis of Led Zeppelin's 50 best tracks.
35. “Gallows Pole” (Led Zeppelin III)
Led Zeppelin’s creative arrangement of this sardonic, centuries-old, storytelling Celtic folk song titled “The Maid Freed from the Gallows” begins very modestly, with Plant’s pleading vocals accompanied solely by Page’s quiet acoustic strumming.
It builds in stages to a full-blown bluegrass-style “hoe-down,” with a mandolin and acoustic 12-string joining the fray midway through, followed by bass, drums and, finally, banjo (played by Page) and overdriven electric lead guitar, on which Page cleverly plays major pentatonic licks to conjure the sound of a country fiddle.
The arrangement’s ambitious development is not unlike that of “Stairway to Heaven” in its magnitude and creates a similarly dramatic effect.
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