Classic Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Blues Rock U.K. 1970s (Tracks) Led Zeppelin – “Achilles Last Stand”

Classic Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Blues Rock U.K. 1970s (Tracks)

Led Zeppelin (London, U.K.)

“Achilles Last Stand” (written by Page/Plant) A1 track included on the album “Presence” 

Released on Swan Song (SSK 59402) on 31st March 1976 (recorded in November 1975)

Line-up/Credits :

Led Zeppelin

  • John Bonham – drums, percussion
  • John Paul Jones – four and eight-string bass guitars, piano (Deluxe Edition only)
  • Jimmy Page – guitars, production
  • Robert Plant – lead vocals, harmonica on “Nobody’s Fault but Mine”

Others

  • Peter Grant – executive producer
  • Jeremy Gee – tape engineering
  • George Hardie – sleeve design
  • Keith Harwood – engineering, mixing
  • Hipgnosis – sleeve design
  • George Marino – remastered CD release

Lyrics :

It was an April morning when they told us we should go
As I turn to you, you smiled at me
How could we say no?
Oh, the fun to have
To live the dreams we always had
Oh, the songs to sing
When we at last return again
Slipping off a glancing kiss
To those who claim they know
Below the streets that steam and hiss
The devil’s in his hole
Oh, to sail away
To sandy lands and other days
Oh, to touch the dream
Hides inside and never seen, yeah
Into the sun, the south, the north
At last the birds have flown
The shackles of commitment fell
In pieces on the ground
Oh, to ride the wind
To tread the air above the din
Oh, to laugh aloud
Dancing as we fought the crowds, yeah
To seek the man whose pointing hand
The giant step unfolds
With guidance from the curving path
That churns up into stone
If one bell should ring
In celebration for a king
So fast the heart should beat
As proud the head with heavy feet, yeah
Days went by when you and I
Bathed in eternal summer’s glow
As far away and distant
Our mutual child did grow
Oh the sweet refrain
Soothes the soul and calms the pain
Oh Albion remains
Sleeping now to rise again
Wandering and wandering
What place to rest the search?
The mighty arms of Atlas
Hold the heavens from the earth
For the mighty arms of Atlas
Hold the heavens from the earth
From the earth
I know the way, know the way, know the way, know the way
I know the way, know the way, know the way, know the way
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh oh
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh oh
For the mighty arms of Atlas
Hold the heavens from the earth
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Ah, ah, ah, ah
Songwriters: James Patrick (jimmy) Page / Robert Anthony Plant

Achilles Last Stand” is a song by English rock group Led Zeppelin. Guitarist Jimmy Page and singer Robert Plant began writing it in the summer of 1975 and were influenced by Eastern music, mythology, and travels. At ten and a half minutes, it is one of the group’s longest studio recordings and one of their most complex, with different interwoven sections and multiple overdubbed guitar parts. It was released in March 1976 as the opening track for their seventh studio album, Presence.

The song received positive reviews, with comparisons to other epic-style Led Zeppelin songs, such as “Kashmir”. Between 1977 and 1980, it was a feature of the group’s concerts and a live performance from 1979 is included on the Led Zeppelin DVD (2003). In several interviews, Page named it as his favourite Led Zeppelin piece and places his guitar solo on a par with “Stairway to Heaven”.

 

  • According to myth, Achilles was dipped in the river Styx to make him immortal. His mother held him by the heel, however, leaving it vulnerable. Paris killed him in the Trojan War by hitting him in the heel with an arrow.
  • Robert Plant wrote the lyrics about his travels throughout Morocco, Greece, and Spain. The music was inspired by Flamenco and Moroccan traditions. The lyrics were inspired not only by the travels but also by some of the poetry Robert was reading at the time, which includes William Blake. “Albion remains/sleeping now to rise again” is a reference to Blake’s engraving The Dance Of Albion. The following is an excerpt from the poem that goes with the song:
    Albion rose from where he labour’d at the Mill with Slaves.
    Giving himself for the Nations he danc’d the dance of Eternal Death.
  • The references to the Atlas mountains, “The mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth,” are simply a clever double-meaning to imply the Atlas mountains in a physical sense seeming to hold up the sky, as well as the reference to the titan Atlas and his task to hold the world on his shoulders.
  • Robert Plant and his wife were in a car crash while on holiday in Greece which broke Plant’s ankle. Instead of touring the US, Plant and Jimmy Page wrote material for Presence, then recorded it at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany with Plant in a wheelchair. Plant got so excited while recording this that he fell and re-injured his ankle, similarly to the song’s namesake, Achilles. The title was both an acknowledgment of Plant’s broken ankle as well as to the mystic location in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco which inspired the lyrics.
  • Jimmy Page overdubbed 6 guitar tracks to create a huge sound. In a 2007 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jimmy Page was asked about his memories of how he overdubbed the guitars in the studio: “It was done in one evening, the whole of the arrangement. To be honest with you, the other guys didn’t know: ‘Has he gone mad? Does he know what he’s doing?’ But at the end of it, the picture became clear. It was like a little vignette, every time something comes around.”
  • Page takes particular pride in this track. He told Guitar Player magazine in 1977: “Presence and my control over all the contributing factors to that LP – the fact that it was done in three weeks, and all the rest of it – is so good for me. It was just good for everything really, even though it was a very anxious point, and the anxiety shows, group-wise – you know, ‘Is Robert going to walk again from his auto accident in Greece?’ and all this sort of thing. But I guess the solo in ‘Achilles’ Last Stand’ on Presence is in the same tradition as the solo from ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on the fourth LP. It is on that level to me.”
  • Led Zeppelin played this at the remainder of their live shows.
  • This is one of the longest Led Zeppelin songs. It runs 10:26.

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Album cover photo (front)

led zeppelin presence 2

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Album  photo (A’ Side)

led zeppelin presence 1

 

Led Zeppelin – “Achilles Last Stand” Video file link on YouTube

Led Zeppelin – “Achilles Last Stand” Live Performance (L.A., 23rd June 1977) Video file link on Led Zeppelin’s Homepage

Led Zeppelin – “Achilles Last Stand” Live Performance (Knebworth, 1979) Video file link on YouTube

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Full Album Video Playlist on YouTube

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Full Album Audio file link on Spotify

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Full Album Audio file link on Apple Music

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Remastered Edition On Rhino Records

Led Zeppelin Band’s Homepage

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Full Album Download file link on Rock Download Blog

Led Zeppelin Band’s Discography/Download Links on Muro Do Classic Rock Blog

Led Zeppelin Band’s Page on Facebook

Led Zeppelin Band’s Page on Twitter

Led Zeppelin Band’s Top 40 Of Their Greatest Albums on Rolling Stone

Led Zeppelin Band’s Page on Discogs

Led Zeppelin Band’s Concert Setlists/Tour Dates on Setlist Fm

Led Zeppelin Band’s Page on Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

Led Zeppelin Band’s Page on Instagram

Led Zeppelin Band’s Archives on LedZep News

Led Zeppelin – “Presence” Full Album Video file link