This song was written during Led Zeppelin’s tour of Iceland. The opening date of this tour took place in Reykjavík, it was after that concert Plant was inspired to write the lyrics
They were on the way home after their first show ever in Reykjavik So they come from the land of the ice and snow as guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. They were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be cancelled but it was thanks to dozens of Icelandic people coming together to help Zeppelin pput this show on for the people.
Six days after Led Zeppelin’s appearance in Reykjavik, the band performed the song for the first time in concert back in England they wrote this song on the way from Iceland.
Led Zeppelin meant for this song to be somewhat humorous, relating their adventures on the road to the Vikings who fought the hordes to conquer new lands. They weren’t known as a funny band, so a lot of their fans took it quite seriously.
One of the lyrics became part of Led Zeppelin lore. The line, “The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands” got many of their fans referring to Zeppelin’s sound as the “Hammer of the gods.”
The hiss at the beginning is feedback from an echo unit. It was intentional.
The line, “Valhalla I am coming” refers to Norse mythology. Valhalla is a hall in Asgard where the souls of fallen warriors are taken by the “Valkyries,” which are spirits of war who carry up heroes who have been slain. Only heroes are taken to Valhalla where they will spend eternity.
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