All four members of Led Zeppelin have agreed that "Kashmir" is one of their best musical achievements. Robert Plant said it was "One of my favorites... it was so positive, lyrically." Jimmy Page has answered the question "What is the greatest Zeppelin riff of all" by citing this song.
Plant wrote the lyrics in 1973 while driving through the Sahara Desert on the way to the National Festival of folklore in Morocco. Kashmir is in Southern Asia; he was nowhere near it. In Mojo magazine, September 2010, Plant explained: "'Kashmir' came from a trip Jimmy and me made down the Moroccan Atlantic coast, from Agadir down to Sidi Ifni. We were just the same as the other hippies really." The original title was "Driving To Kashmir."
Speaking with Dan Rather in 2018, Robert Plant said: "It was a great achievement to take such a monstrously dramatic musical piece and find a lyric that was ambiguous enough, and a delivery that was not over-pumped. It was almost the antithesis of the music, this lyric and this vocal delivery that was just about enough to get in there."
Led Zeppelin played this in every live show from it's debut in 1975 to their last concert in 1980.
Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream
I am a traveler of both time and space, to be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed
Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear
But not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear
Oh, I been flying... mama, there aint no denyin
Ive been flying, aint no denyin, no denyin
All I see turns to brown, as the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand, as I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find where Ive been.
Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My shangri-la beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin through Kashmir
Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails, across the sea of years
With no provision but an open face, along the straits of fear
When Im on, when Im on my way, yeah
When I see, when I see the way, you stay-yeah
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when Im down...
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well Im down, so down
Ooh, my baby, ooooh, my baby, let me take you there
Let me take you there. let me take you there
Songwriters: John Bonham / Robert Anthony Plant / James Patrick (Jimmy) Page
Kashmir lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc