The 50 Greatest Led Zeppelin Songs
Guitar World presents a critical analysis of Led Zeppelin's 50 best tracks.
11. “Over the Hills and Far Away” (Houses of the Holy)
This song is another study in contrasts, specifically between English/Celtic-flavored acoustic folk and Les Paul–driven hard rock. It begins with a playful, folk-dance–like acoustic riff, which Page initially plays on a six-string and then doubles on a 12-string, that gives way, at 1:27, to crushing electric power chords and a clever single-note riff, for which Jimmy incorporates pulled bends on the bass strings (first heard at 1:37).
Particularly cool is the way the guitarist reconciles this electric riff with the strummed acoustic chords previously introduced at 1:17.
Also noteworthy is the grooving James Brown–style funk riff behind the guitar solo and the rhythmically peculiar, harmonized ascending single-note ensemble melody that follows at 3:00. To top it all off, Page, the producer, concludes the song with a “false ending.”
As the band fades out, at 4:10, a lone guitar emerges with a final variation of the folk riff from the intro, but all you hear is the 100 percent “wet” reverb “return” signal, which creates a mystical, otherworldly, “faraway” effect.
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