What does the Led Zeppelin song Ramble on have to do with the LOTR? Here is the section of the lyric that references Gollum and Mordor:

Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old when magic filled the air
'Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, mm-I met a girl so fair
But Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her her, her, yeah
And ain't nothin' I can do, no

Is the song supposed to be about a specific Middle-earth character, or...?

  • 15
    Led Zeppelin peppered unspecific references to LOTR through out their works. These references seem to be from the perspective of the hobbit main characters or a general adventurer-observer perspective. Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 20:21
  • Nice one, there are many references to Tolkien in Zeppelin songs. That is why I considered them one of my favorite bands.
    – Secko
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 0:09
  • 4
    And this children is what happens when you combine LSD with song writing. Amazing songs but questionable lyrics.
    – Marriott81
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 12:08

5 Answers 5


The song is a reference to Frodo's quest to return the One Ring. The girl mentioned in the lyrics of Ramble On, as well as Over the Hills and Far Away is the One Ring.

Other Led Zeppelin songs, such as The Battle of Evermore make strong references to Tolkien's work, as they were a strong influence on Robert Plant.

Here's a pretty good write up of the Led Zeppelin/Tolkien connection, which discusses Ramble On:

... the band dips into the realm of Tolkien with "Ramble On". The song starts out with a set of soft bass notes provided by Jones, backed by Bonham creating the soft beat by patting on his knees. "Leaves are falling all around / time I was on my way!" tenderly sings Robert Plant. His vocals begin to tell the saga of young Frodo Baggin from The Lord of the Rings story. Frodo, the young Hobbit, has unfortunately been given the somber task of carrying the One Ring, the ring that contains the power to destroy all of Middle-Earth. During his journey towards Mordor, Frodo stays in Rivendell, the Elvin city, where the Council of Elrond decides what is to be done with the Ring. Frodo and his best friend Samwise enjoy their stay very much but they know that they have to "Ramble on,/ And now's the time, the time is now/ To sing my song. / I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl." The girl mentioned in the song, as well in another song "Over the Hills and Far Away" is not actually a female, but the Ring. Throughout the saga of Frodo, Sam, Aragorn and the others, the Ring is referred to as a beautiful lady, and is often called "precious". Throughout Tolkien's books, the characters sing songs as they travel across the lands on their journey. Frodo also searches for "Queen of all his dreams," Plant sings out. Galadriel, the Elvin Queen of the forest, is most likely this queen that he is searching for. The section of the song that points directly to The Lord of the Rings is "T'was in the darkest depth of Mordor/ I met a girl so fair, / But Gollum, the evil one crept up/ And slipped away with her". The direct references to Mordor and Gollum are sure and intriguing signs that this song is about Frodo, yet part of it does not make sense. Frodo was not in Mordor when he was given the Ring, "the girl so fair," but he was "in the darkest depth of Mordor" when he met Shelob, the giant Spider, who is far from fair. But it was in Mordor that Gollum took the Ring of Power from Frodo....

  • 5
    I think it's tough to say specifically that the girl was the Ring. Even the quote you have says that "part of it does not make sense". Frodo doesn't go 'round the world to find the Ring, he is given the Ring and has it with him almost the entire time he travels 'round the world.
    – NominSim
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 21:01
  • 2
    I think the "Gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her" is pretty clear, and isn't in the least bit ambiguous. There's certainly an element of poetic license to a lot of the lyrics, but its very clear that the references are direct references to the basic story.
    – Beofett
    Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 21:31
  • 5
    I must admit that I'd strongly prefer some official confirmation from someone in LZ that "The girl mentioned in the song... is not actually a female, but the Ring". While not impossible, it seems a fairly out there guess (to quote from a comment on StackOverflow, the idea is not merely outside the box, but seemed to have forgotten the box at home) Commented Nov 14, 2012 at 23:24
  • 4
    @DVK - LedZep are notorious for creating nonsensical lyrics, then refusing to comment on their meaning. Look at the more famous "Stairway to Heaven". As Jack Black once said in a radio interview "Led Zeppelin is the greatest band in the world, but their lyrics are gobbledigook" Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 15:55
  • 3
    @SystemDown - I'm usually so consumed by the guitar on Stairway that I tend to forget there are lyrics somewhere there :) Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 16:49

The other answers are intriguing. However, I think the song is in actually about a love/women and any references to the Tolkien world is the metaphor, not the other way around.

Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear

He won't talk about the women he's been with before, to reveal them would be too personal.

How years ago in days of old when magic filled the air

He used to love deeply, but now it's not as exciting.

'Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, mm-I met a girl so fair But Gollum and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her her, her, yeah And ain't nothin' I can do, no

These are the metaphor for someone stealing his woman, or missed encounters due to interference by others.

  • 2
    +1 Nice. This is a gem. I may have to reconsider the accepted answer. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 3:06
  • 1
    This is how I've interpreted it, however I have an experience bias that's currently pushing this idea :-(
    – Dan Lugg
    Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 18:40

"T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair." Could refer to Frodo in the heart of Mordor. When he is to throw the ring into the fires but is instead falls under the power of the ring. This being the point where he "meets the girl so fair".

"But Gollum, the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her." Is when Gollum takes the ring from Frodo and falls into the fires of Mordor.

"Gonna ramble on, sing my song. Gotta keep-a-searchin' for my baby... Gonna work my way, round the world. I can't stop this feelin' in my heart Gotta keep searchin' for my baby. I can't find my bluebird!" Is the Frodo's desire for the ring never going away.


This question has pretty much been answered, but I couldn't resist to put this in.

Songs with Tolkien influences:

  • In "Misty Mountain Hop" mention leaving to the Misty Mountains ("where the spirits fly").

  • "Over the Hills and Far Away" describes The Hobbit and Bilbo's discovery of the One Ring.

  • In "The Battle of Evermore" the Ringwraiths are mentioned, as well as a Prince of Peace, who could be Aragorn, who "embraced the gloom" and "walked the night alone" - resembles Strider. Other speculation is that it could be Frodo. There is also a Queen of Light alluding to Lady Galadriel.

  • "Ramble On" mentions Gollum, the One Ring and Mordor (explained by Beofett in his answer).

  • In "Stairway to Heaven" there are lyrical lines that could possibly be a reference to Tolkien LOTR:

    "There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold" (see the comment below)


    "There's a feeling I get when I look to the West, And my spirit is crying for leaving"

    The first lyric was alluded to by Tolkien, in LOTR, in this poem:

    “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crownless again shall be king.”

    The second lyric could be a reference to the Undying Lands, of Middle Earth.

Other Zeppelin references to Tolkien: One of Robert Plant's dogs was named Strider.

  • 1
    The phrase "All that glitters is not gold" predates LotR by several centuries, perhaps even more than two millennia. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_that_glitters_is_not_gold
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 3:47
  • @WadCheber OK, striked out. It is questionable I agree. There is still a reference in the Tolkien poem so I left it there.
    – Secko
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 14:35
  • I always thought "Rings of smoke through the trees/ And the voices of those who standing looking" sounded Tolkien-y. Gandalf famously enjoys smoke rings, and given the context of the rest of the section, those who stand looking could be any sort of benevolent protector from the West—the Wizards, the Eldar, the Valar. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 13:45

Ramble On could be about the One Ring and Frodo, but also... it could be about Galadriel... a GIRL.

"But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her"

The One Ring vanished in Mount Doom, also the elves from Middle Earth, Middle Earth is our earth but LOTS OF YEAAAARS AGO.

"How years ago in days of old, when magic filled the air."

Middle Earth is our earth but LOTS OF YEAAAARS AGO.

Singer is in love with Galadriel from the books, her description and, welp... im in love too with her since "her hair resembles the light of both trees"

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.