Top 5 Songs Inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien


If you didn’t know it before, it’s time to let you know: I am a Lord of the Rings geek. I’m using the Lord of the Rings reference here quite vaguely though to allude to the whole universe created by J. R. R. Tolkien. In fact, of all the books available on the Arda subject my favourite one has to be The Silmarillion – which is quite contrary to the belief that this very book is as hard to read as if it were written in Quenya. My geekiness has taken me far and wide on endless wanderings along the pages of not only the core Legendarium manuscripts, but also to the far and not-so-often trodden shores of Unfinished Tales and the 12-volume History of Middle Earth. A simple Google search will inform you that I’m not alone in my love of Tolkien’s beautiful world. Numerous people are not only able to recite all of the Elven family trees by heart and give you 100 reasons why Eagles couldn’t take Frodo to Mordor, but also create various works of art after being inspired by these legends. Paintings, artwork, stories, poems, jewellery, costumes – the list can be continued on and on. There are Tolkien fans among musicians as well. Having a great platform for expressing their emotions, many of them cite their love for Professor in their songs. It’s only that some bands use only subtle Middle Earth references in music while others dedicate the whole albums to the universe. Let’s have a look at some of them.
Led Zeppelin – ‘Ramble On’
I don’t know about you, but to me ‘Ramble On’ very much reminds of the song by Sauron in agony and about to start the hunt for the ring. Every line of this track has the sense of deep longing for something so precious that it physically hurts not to have it. Doesn’t it remind you of Sauron deprived of his precious One Ring and craving to get it back, unable to resist the power he himself has put into this small piece of gold? Anyway, even if I’m wrong and it’s my imagination gone wild, there’s still a reference to Mordor and Gollum in the song and we all know where these two come from, right?

Black Sabbath – ‘The Wizard’
There are not so many wizards who have the habit of appearing out of nowhere and disappear the same way. The most famous of them is definitely Gandalf. He’s wise, dark creatures are scared of him and he does bring a lot of joy to most living beings. So, it’s pretty clear who the song is dedicated to.
Camel – ‘Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider’
This song is another one dedicated to Gandalf, who is no doubt one of the most favourite LOTR characters ever. Telling the wizard’s story in short and recalling some things that’s happened to him, most notably his fall in Moria after encountering Balrog and eventually changing his grey robes to the white ones, Camel frame the narrative in a stunning, vivid soundscape. Feast on.
Argent – ‘Lothlorien’
Mysterious and well-guarded forest of Lothlorien is one of the fairest Elven dwellings in Middle Earth. Argent did a great job of reflecting the forest’s nature – calm, allowing travellers to put their troubles out of their minds for a while, giving them the necessary piece of heart. However, they also hint at how difficult it is to leave a place like this knowing that there’s a very dark road ahead…
Rick Wakeman – ‘The Grey Havens’
The Grey Havens – the port in the realm of Lindon – is indeed the place beautiful and majestic. Ruled by Cirdan the Shipwright, who is also the bearer of the great ring Narya, the Grey Havens was the place from which ships took Elves to the Blessed Realm of Valinor. In the shape of the piece by Rick Wakeman the essence of the Grey Havens got a gorgeous musical portrayal indeed.
There are actually two more Tolkien-inspired bands that I want to share with you and let it be a nice bonus to the five. While these two bands’ music isn’t connected with Professor’s literary work, their names are.
Originally Marillion were called Silmarillion, but decided to shorten the name due to possible problems with copyright.  However, you can’t fail to notice the sources of inspiration: their music is so magical that it sounds as if it were created by Elves. Who said Elves don’t exist?
Mirkwood had a short life span and recorded only one self-titled album. There were only 99 copies of that record which is now held among the most expensive albums in the world. I have no doubt, though, that the band’s music would be deeply loved by the inhabitants of Mirkwood had they any chance to listen to it.

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