Over The Hills And Far Away

Posted by Scott

led_zeppelin_houses_of_the_holy_a Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy - Back
Thanks to my parents and their friends I grew up on bands like Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, et al. and if asked my favorite band of all time now I think I would still have to say Led Zeppelin (after a long internal debate between them and the latter-day Beatles). Of all Zeppelin’s albums I always enjoyed 1973’s Houses of the Holy most. I really love all of their album covers; the imagery they employed is so organic and transcendent. I have an original copy of Led Zeppelin III with the 2 piece cover and rotating artwork, I’ll post that one soon.

There’s a great discussion of the origin of the Houses of the Holy cover art on wikipedia.

Led Zeppelin – Over The Hills and Far Away


14 Comments Leave A Comment


Joaquim Marquès Nielsen says:

March 28, 2008 at 5:06 pm

My father is from Catalonia (Spain) and my mom is from Denmark. They were harvesting oranges in Israel when they met each other. They were both two crazy hippies and listened to great music like Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolves etc. etc.

Well, as for Zeppelin. The song I love the most is without a doubt “Stairway To Heaven”. The way the guitar follows the vocal – pure genius right there. Gives me the goosebumps everytime. And not to mention the build up. Wauw.


Jasper F. Agterbosch says:

March 28, 2008 at 5:55 pm

okay, I’ll read Clarke’s book to give it a chance Scott :-) (Clarke is very good in bringing images across, so that might just be a very nice trip anyway)
I would love the image without the naked kids, it doesn’t add something for me right now (and .. well .. yes kind of hung up on that, which might be silly).
It’s a lovely image and a great record (although, and I am not trying to be a wanker here, I would love it even more without the vocals).

This might be the moment to .. shut up and read hm :-)


Scott says:

March 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm

no need to shut up! open discussion is always good. I don’t think reading the book will give much insight into the meaning behind this image, from what I have read it was merely a basic inspiration for the concept, but not necessarily pertinent to the music itself. I take it to be some sort of homage to innocence, or the loss of innocence. If you watch “The Song Remains the Same” (a film by and about led zeppelin) you’ll see that they focus a lot on youth, their own children etc. throughout. They also seemed to be very interested in the natural order or things and life cycles etc. So imagery relating to age and such seem to pop up a lot in their work.

here’s an interestingly poignant post about nude kids and albums covers:


Alex / HeadUp says:

March 29, 2008 at 6:40 am

HAHA I always wondered how the hell they got that Nevermind cover off….just dropped the poor little dude in the pool, thats pretty messed up. And it says his parents kept the money hahaha NUTS!


bobby says:

March 29, 2008 at 9:46 am

In terms of influence and popularity, it’s Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, then everybody else. I have to agree, there has never been a rock band to stack up to Zeppelin. If you were fortunate enough to have witnessed (I was) one of Zeppelin’s early concerts (1969 to ’71), it’s difficult to describe how overwhelmingly good they were. They possessed incredible range, from jaw dropping power and intensity to subtle beauty and back again. Many a future rock star was inspired by those early Zep concerts. Several very famous ones recount their experience in issue # 113 of Classic Rock magazine, a Brittish publication.


Alex / HeadUp says:

March 29, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Anyone ever hear about how Robert Plant wrote the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven? Not sure if it’s an urban legend, but I remember reading something about he was on drugs at a campfire, and he had a vision that a gnome or an elf or something came from his nose and told it to him…..can anyone confirm or disprove?


Jasper F. Agterbosch says:

March 29, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Interesting links Scott, thanks.

As far as naked kids go, it’s a no go area for me, I don’t feel comfortable with it and, as I said, maybe it’s silly but it’s a feeling.
Not to say that it should be a no go area for others (in creating art), but I guess it’s a personal dislike for which I can’t give real good reasons other than my personal feelings.
It’s not that design/art has to give me good feelings perse, I like being ‘challenged’, but this is not my kind of challenge I guess :-)

You got me floating around these zeppelins and the many theories that can be found online though :-)


yaronimus says:

April 11, 2008 at 7:14 am

it was quite disturbing to see that cover for the first time. but the music quickly made me forget the naked childern.
was it done in a “hippie innosence” or were there considerations?
i don’t know. i think they could shot the girls with skin colored leotards, but it would probably ruin the album cover’s “rawness”.


blackdog says:

January 12, 2009 at 10:21 am

Just ‘happened’ upon this discussion …

Can’t believe your responses to a simple album cover…?
Naked children … OMG what a trial for you! :O

I read once that the children depicted in the shot are lead singer Robert Plants son and daughter? Also as far as I know, the photograph was shot on location at the Giant’s Causeway in NI.

FURTHER side note :P
White Summer on the Coda album is awesome listening.
My fave Zep track would have to be the Immigrant Song!
Page has mastered his craft, and combined with Plant, Jones and Bonham.
It was quite simply the perfect recipe (X)

I guess I’m trying to say, don’t judge the covers?
These album sleeves were created so long ago, it was a different time.
The world today is a different place, largely it was then a time of innocence.

It’s a sad time we know live in, where art should be considered on lurid or pornographic terms, before it is judged as ART. (Generalization)

Apparently it’s all some girl called Eve’s fault? …