The Led Zeppelin Song Robert Plant Is Embarrassed by That Isn’t ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Robert Plant has lived most of his life in the public eye. The Led Zeppelin frontman started his music career oversinging in his first band, but he became one of rock music’s most famous singers. However, Plant hasn’t always been kind to his Zeppelin work. He’s called out the band’s most famous song, and in 2022, Plant said he was embarrassed by another Led Zeppelin classic.

Robert Plant, who said he was embarrassed by his lyrics for "The Battle of Evermore," performs in Berkley, California, in 2022.
Robert Plant | Steve Jennings/Getty Images

Robert Plant isn’t a huge fan of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’

It’s one of the all-time great songs in classic rock, but Plant has never been shy about his uneasy relationship with Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”

The singer once donated money to a radio station that promised not to play the song on the air anymore. Plant often called “Stairway to Heaven” a song of hope and inserted the line, “Does anybody remember laughter?” during many live performances. Yet as he reflected on the lyrics years later, he found them naïve, and he refrained from playing the song live. 

Plant was his own harshest critic of his “Stairway to Heaven” lyrics, but in 2022, he said another cut from Led Zeppelin IV embarrassed him.

Plant said ‘The Battle of Evermore’ embarrassed him

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The singer has made his mixed feelings about “Stairway to Heaven” clear, but “The Battle of Evermore” is another Led Zeppelin IV song that Plant isn’t a huge fan of. The lyrics describe a J.R.R. Tolkien-esque eternal battle between darkness and light, good and evil. It’s the only Led Zeppelin song where Plant shared vocal duties, but that’s not why he’s embarrassed by “The Battle of Evermore.” 

The song concludes with the forces of good bringing the balance back as Plant sings “Bring it back” over and over. That seeming finality and dated lyrics caused the singer to be embarrassed by “The Battle of Evermore,” as he told Rolling Stone in 2022:

“I was living in a dream then, talking about C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. And, of course, it brings hoops of derision into everybody who picked up a guitar or got near a microphone by 1980. But I was a kid. I was 22 when I wrote ‘Ramble On’ with Jimmy [Page], so what do I know? I know a lot more about Tolkien now because it’s still alive on the Welsh borders. 

“‘The Battle of Evermore’ is not over. Far from it. And the thing about ‘Evermore’ is … I said to Alison [Krauss], ‘I’m embarrassed by this.’ She said, ‘But you can’t be embarrassed, because it’s a young person’s moments by living in an area which is like that, which resonates that period.’ But of course, that’s oblique, really, because that period is right now too. It’s all the same thing.”

Robert Plant describes why he’s embarrassed by “The Battle of Evermore”

Plant is entitled to be embarrassed by “The Battle of Evermore.” He co-wrote the song, after all. But he’s likely to be quite lonely if he’s looking for a group of people who don’t like the song.

‘The Battle of Evermore’ is one of the fans’ favorite Led Zeppelin songs

Plant is embarrassed by “The Battle of Evermore,” and he has the right, but he’s part of a thin crowd of people who don’t care for the song.

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Rolling Stone ranked “The Battle of Evermore” No. 17 on the list of Led Zeppelin’s 40 best tracks. Jimmy Page’s echoing mandolin and Plant’s shared vocal duties make it unlike anything else the band released. Zep never shied away from folk ballads and acoustic songs, but “Battle” is very much in the conversation for their best “quiet” song. 

Robert Plant is embarrassed by “The Battle of Evermore,” but that doesn’t mean Led Zeppelin fans feel the same way.

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