One of the most initial and distinctive songs Led Zeppelin ever taped was the unique, eight-and-a-half minute “Kashmir,” from the 1975 cd Physical Graffiti. In this clip from Davis Guggenheim’s movie It Might Get Loud (2009), Jimmy Page explains the origins of the tune to fellow guitar players Jack White and The Edge. Then Page demonstrates it by selecting up an old customized Danelectro 59DC Double Cutaway Standard guitar that he played the song with on a few of Led Zeppelin’s trips. (Watch Kashmir live below.).
In 1973, Page had been experimenting with an alternative D modal, or DADGAD, tuning frequently utilized on stringed instruments in the Middle East, when he hit upon the hypnotic, rising and falling riff. The tune came together over a period of a number of years. John Bonham added his distinctive, overpowering drums throughout a two-man recording session with Page at Headley Grange. Vocalist Robert Plant composed the lyrics while he and Page were driving with the Sahara Desert in Southern Morocco. (Neither Page nor Plant had ever checked out Kashmir, in the Himalayas.) Bassist and keyboard player John Paul Jones included the string and horn arrangements the following year.