Lord of the Sings: 10 Songs Inspired by Tolkien

By Last Updated: June 4, 2015Views: 3288

Before we begin let me acknowledge the fact that the title to this article is probably the worst pun I have come up with and actually posted for other human beings to see. I have not gone back through previous postings but I am fairly certain that I am correct in this assumption. Also, I am sorry.

The works JRR Tolkien have gained renewed popularity in recent years due to the Peter Jackson films (not to mention a Renaissance in geek culture). But once upon a time his works were dismissed as nerd fodder and were the cause of many a wedgie in high school hallways.

Little did the bullies know at the time that many of their favorite musicians were Tolkien fans who wrote many a song that were head-banged at and moshed upon. I have complied a list of my 10 favorites.

Now to be sure this is not a complete list. There are many songs that are known to be Tolkien inspired but do not directly mention Tolkien so I left those out. I only chose songs that directly mention the books or a character, etc. Also I have chosen some rather obscure bands because, well, that’s the way I roll. In addition there seems to be an overwhelming amount of Heavy Metal and Prog Rock, so make of that what you will.

As always the numbering is for organizational purposes and not an indicator of quality.


10. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin

Probably the most recognizable song on this list. A classic that gets continued airplay, this is a song that has been jammed out to by pretty much every band that has practiced in a garage. And it might slip by you. It seems like a straight forward hard rock song til suddenly, “Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her.” It makes you go back and see the lyrics in a different light.


9. The Message/Lords Of The Ring by Styx

A Prog Rock bit of craziness from Styx’s debut album. It is so obviously about the Lord of the Rings, simply look at the title, and I really feel that this song wants so badly to be a definitive LOTR anthem; but I don’t think anyone on the band actually read the books. Not to get uber-geek on you but the chorus seems to imply the that the Lord of the Rings is a good thing rather than the embodiment of all that is evil in the world. Or maybe I’m reading too much into a simple pop song. All Hail!


8. Cirith Ungol by Cirith Ungol

The only song on the list that shares the same name with the band. A cult L.A. metal band, Cirith Ungol was kinda influential in the early 80s but that did not translate to sales. A hybrid between 70s hard rock and 80s metal they paved the way for death metal and hair bands. A dubious legacy I suppose. But they named themselves after the deadly pass that was home to giant spider Shelob – that in of in itself is worthy of mention.


7. Gandalf by Gandalf

Have you heard of the band Gandalf? Of course you haven’t. A ridiculously obscure psychedelic band from the late 60s that that rose to near fame before being forgotten forever. But there is this little gem of an album that they put out before fading away. This is the whole thing because I couldn’t pick single song, so enjoy. FYI – This is a great album.


6. Lothlorien by Argent

A Prog Rock extravaganza in honor of the forest stronghold of Galadriel the greatest of all elven women and the holder of one of the three elven rings. Looking back at that sentence I realize how incredibility geeky it is and I’m okay with that. If you don’t know Argent they are a more accessible version of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. If you don’t know ELP I can’t explain it more than that.


5. The Gnome by Pink Floyd

Okay, this is a song that does not directly mention Tolkien but by all accounts this is an homage to the Hobbit. And if its not it really should be. Look, it’s Sid Barrett it has to be Tolkien-ish am I right? Green hoods, going on an adventure, drinking…okay I may be stretching it here but c’mon this’ll work. Floyd, dude.


4. Rivendell by Rush

These guys loved fantasy. All you need do is look at their obsession with Ayn Rand to know they embraced pure fantasy and unreality. But this song is a just loving tribute to a book they adored. A madrigal sounding folk song that could have been sung by a troubadour on horseback strumming a lute. Its pretty, listen to it.


3. The Wizard by Black Sabbath

Okay, another song that does not directly mention Tolkien, but Geezer Butler has said repeatedly that he was was reading The Lord of the Rings when he wrote the lyrics and that is definitely is in reference to Gandalf . Also I really like this song so, self-imposed rules…who need ’em?


2. The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin

A straight up classic, awesome, great, rocked out musical version of the Battle of Pelennor Fields. And really every battle in LOTR in general. It is a modern folksong, it has one of Sandy Denny’s last performances, it has mandolins, it kicks ass. As a rule I don’t use profanity in my blog because I don’t want to give the impression that I write the way I speak; but sometimes you just need to say fuck yeah, this song is fucking great.


1. The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy

Really, could there be any other? It is silly and it is kitsch and it is gloriously stupid. But there is a wonderful, innocent charm to this song. If you’ve ever been to a Comic Con you can totally see people in Vulcan ears dancing around in an impish manner just like this. It is so cute and happy that I wish I could find everyone in this video and hug them. And just say thanks. (FYI – the video breaks up a bit at the end because from I can ascertain from the limited research I’ve done the end is not available in a high quality format)


And here is the cast of the Hobbit reading the lyrics of The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins


So that’s it. Do you agree with my list? Do you have other Tolkien inspired songs that should have been mentioned? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter: @DaddyElk I’d love to know your thoughts or hear a new song. Till then, that road goes ever on.

BONUS

Here is Billy Boyd (Pippin) singing the song of Edge of Night

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