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"The Rover" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their 1975 album Physical Graffiti.

"The Rover"
Song by Led Zeppelin
from the album Physical Graffiti
Released 24 February 1975 (1975-02-24)
Genre Hard rock[1]
Length 5:44
Label Swan Song
Producer(s) Jimmy Page



The song was originally meant to be an acoustic piece, having been written at Bron-Yr-Aur in 1970 and then recorded at Stargroves during the Houses of the Holy sessions in 1972.[2][3] However, the band decided to hold the track off the Houses of the Holy album, and the song was eventually included on Led Zeppelin's next studio album, Physical Graffiti. By this time it had obtained a distinctly heavier feel, with several studio overdubs having been laid down by Jimmy Page in 1974.[3]

Musical structureEdit

"The Rover" opens with a heavy drum beat from John Bonham, heard throughout the song, Page plays a distinctive riff using a Phase Shifter effect. The riff is in the key of E major and the solo uses an F# minor scale. "Rover" is a term for a wanderer, and the lyrics are fitting to this definition:

I've been to London, seen seven wonders. I know to trip is just to fall ... In fields of plenty, when heaven sent me. I saw the kings who rule them all.

Writing creditsEdit

The sleeve credit for this track includes the line "Guitar lost courtesy Nevison...Salvaged by the grace of Harwood", which would seem to be a reference to difficulties encountered during the mixing of the track, "Harwood" being Keith Harwood and "Nevison" referring to Ron Nevison, both audio engineers on Physical Graffiti.[3]

Live performancesEdit

"The Rover" was never played live in its entirety at Led Zeppelin concerts, although the band played the opening bars as an introduction to "Sick Again" throughout their 1977 North American tour.[3] However, the song was rehearsed in full, as can be heard on bootleg recordings of the band's soundcheck rehearsal at the Chicago Stadium on 6 July 1973. This rehearsal took place before the opening date of the second leg of the band's 1973 North American tour.[3] Also in 1972, instrumental themes from the song were played in a "Whole Lotta Love" medley during a concert in Sydney during Led Zeppelin's Australasian Tour.


In a contemporary review of Physical Graffiti, Jim Miller of Rolling Stone gave "The Rover" a mixed review, saying that while Page and Bonham "mount a bristling attack", the track "suffers from Plant's indefinite pitch."[4]

In a retrospective review of Physical Graffiti (Deluxe Edition), Jon Hadusek of Consequence of Sound described Jimmy Page's guitar lines in "The Rover" some of his most underrated guitar lines he's ever recorded.[5]


Cover versionsEdit


  1. ^ Case, George (2009). Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man : An Unauthorized Biography. Backbeat Books. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-87930-947-3. the overlooked and under-heard "The Rover," though begun as an acoustic sketch in 1970, had grown into Herculean hard rock with Page's wicked pentatonic riff in E 
  2. ^ "Back to Nature". Q Special Led Zeppelin edition. Bauer Media Group: 34. 2003. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Dave (1994). The Complete Guide to the Music of Led Zeppelin. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-3528-9. 
  4. ^ Miller, Jim (27 March 1975). "Physical Graffiti". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 
  5. ^ Hadusek, Jon (19 February 2015). "Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (Reissue)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 28 July 2017. 

External linksEdit