Author – Kirill Venzhin
It took Led Zeppelin 36 hours of studio work in October 1968 to record their debut album. Such super-productivity was achieved thanks to the team’s September tour of Scandinavia under the name The New Yardbirds, where Jimmy Page invited Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones. Page was contractually obligated to form a band and play shows in northern Europe after The Yardbirds broke up. This very tour served as a great rehearsal before recording the album in the studio.
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You Lyrics – Led Zeppelin
It was on this album, released on January 12, 1969, that most of us first heard Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. Jimmy Page had previously recorded it with multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood, but this version never made it out of the studio.
Jimmy Page was inspired to make his version of this folk song by singer-songwriter Joan Baez, who performed many folk songs. (By the way, Plant and Page were her fans).
But it also happens that folk songs have an author. In this case, it’s the singer Ann Brandon, who wrote the song in the late 50s. Her authorship of Led Zeppelin began to be indicated in 1990, and Brandon received a substantial cash payment.
She herself was not familiar with the work of “Lead Airship” and found out about the cover version of her song performed by rock giants by chance, almost two decades after the release of the record, when her son listened to their recordings. Page from the very beginning did not even know about the existence of the author of the composition, although in the 60s Babe I’m Gonna Leave You was one of the most famous and most performed folk songs.
Initially, the credits on the Led Zeppelin album indicated that it was a folk song arranged by Jimmy Page. It is noteworthy that earlier, in 1964, the Plebs group released the same song and also indicated it as a folk song, but the Music Association forced Ann Burdon to indicate the author of the song.
The same thing happened with Joan Baez: when she released the album, which included the song Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, she did not know that the song had an author and labeled it as “folk”, which was also corrected after.
Jimmy Page played this song to Robert Plant when they first met, on the river bank near Page’s house in 1968. It was rumored that the future Led Zeppelin vocalist played the guitar part for Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, which ended up on the album version. Page dispelled these rumors only in 1998, saying that Plant did not even play the guitar at that time, and he himself worked on the arrangement of this song in the early 60s, when he was a session musician.
I played this song in those days when I sat in the dark with my six-string guitar behind Marianne Faithfull.
Page told Rolling Stone magazine in 2012 that the song is a great example of empathy and total understanding during his collaboration with Robert Plant:
I knew exactly how he was going to shape this song. I set up the fret on an acoustic guitar and the key of a flamenco guitar. But Robert came up with an incredible, plaintive vocal.
Even a modest choice of guitars did not stop Page from writing and playing a chic guitar part during the birth of Led Zeppelin:
At the beginning of Zeppelin, I had a very small arsenal of guitars: an acoustic Harmony and a Telecaster. Then one day I went to Eric Clapton’s house and there were guitars in every room. His whole house was like some kind of guitar temple. I was just blown away by this. Eric explained to me, “They are all deductible from taxable income.” That’s when I started buying more guitars.
Also, the greatest guitarist of all time revealed the secret of which acoustic guitar he played directly during the recording of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You:
It was a Gibson J-200, it wasn’t even mine, I borrowed it. It was a very beautiful guitar, just amazing. Since then, I have not found a guitar of the same good quality. I could play it easily and get a rich sound.”
After the release of the album, Led Zeppelin performed this song only in 1969, sometimes adding lyrics from Ramble On to it. The return of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You did not come until 1998 during the joint tour of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. But Plant himself performed the composition as a solo artist along with the bands Strange Sensation and Sensational Space Shifters.
Led Zeppelin’s Babe I’m Gonna Leave You has been played by Great White, Miley Cyrus, Pink and more.
- There is a Led Zeppelin drinking game where you have to drink in one gulp every time Robert Plant sings “Baby”. This song leads to intoxication in one listen as the words “Baby” or “Babe” are repeated 31 times.
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You Lyrics Led Zeppelin
Babe, baby, baby, I’m gonna leave you
I said baby, you know I’m gonna leave you
I’ll leave you when the summertime
Leave you when the summer comes a-rolling
Leave you when the summer comes along
Babe, babe, babe, babe, babe, babe, baby, baby
I want to leave you
I ain’t joking woman, I’ve got to ramble
Oh, yeah, baby, baby, I’m believin’
We really got to ramble
I can hear it calling me the way it used to do
I can hear it calling me back home
Babe, I’m gonna leave you
Oh, baby, you know, I’ve really got to leave you
Oh I can hear it calling me
I said don’t you hear it calling me the way it used to do?
I know I know, I know
I never, never, never, never, never gonna leave you babe
But I got to go away from this place
I’ve got to quit you, yeah
Oh, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby
Oh, don’t you hear it callin’ me?
Oh, woman, woman, I know, I know
It feels good to have you back again
And I know that one day baby,
it’s gonna really grow, yes it is
We gonna go walkin’ through the park every day
Come what may, every day, oh
My my my my my, my babe
I’m gonna leave you, go away
Oh I miss you baby
It was really, really good
You made me happy every single day
But now I’ve got to go away
Oh, oh, oh
Baby, baby, baby, baby
That’s when it’s calling me
I said that’s when it’s calling me back home
Led Zeppelin Babe I’m Gonna Leave You Lyrics
Baby, baby, baby, I’m about to leave you
I said baby you know I’m about to leave you
I will leave you when summer comes
I’ll leave you when summer comes
I will leave you when summer comes.
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby…
I want to get away from you
I’m not kidding, woman, I need a break.
Oooh yeah baby baby I believe
We really need to take a break from each other
I hear something calling me to do it like this
I hear something calling me to come home.
Baby I’m about to leave you
Oooh baby you know I really should leave you
Oooh I hear something calling me
Can’t you hear something calling me to do it?
I know, I know, I know
I will never, never, never, never, never leave you baby
But I must get away from this place
I have to leave you, yeah
Oooh baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby
Oooh, can’t you hear something calling me?
Oooh woman, woman, I know, I know
It will be so good when you come back again
And I know that one day, baby
It’s definitely going to happen, yes, that’s right
We will walk in the park every day
Whatever happens, every day, ooh…
My, my, my, my, my, my baby
I leave you go
Oooh I miss you baby
It was very, very good
You made me happy every day
But now I have to leave
Oooh, ooh, ooh
Baby, baby, baby, baby
Something keeps calling me
I told you, it keeps calling me to come home.
Translation of the song – Kirill Venzhin
This is a song with the classic nature of real rock. She really takes you on a journey.”
Rick Rubin, producer