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Achilles Last Stand

by

Led Zeppelin



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

According to myth, Achilles was dipped in the river Styx to make him immortal. His mother held him by the heel, however, leaving it vulnerable. Paris killed him in the Trojan War by hitting him in the heel with an arrow.
Robert Plant wrote the lyrics about his travels throughout Morocco, Greece, and Spain. The music was inspired by Flamenco and Moroccan traditions. The lyrics were inspired not only by the travels but also by some of the poetry Robert was reading at the time, which includes William Blake. "Albion remains/sleeping now to rise again" is a reference to Blake's engraving The Dance Of Albion. The following is an excerpt from the poem that goes with the song:
Albion rose from where he labour'd at the Mill with Slaves.
Giving himself for the Nations he danc'd the dance of Eternal Death.
The references to the Atlas mountains, "The mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth," are simply a clever double-meaning to imply the Atlas mountains in a physical sense seeming to hold up the sky, as well as the reference to the titan Atlas and his task to hold the world on his shoulders. (thanks, Mark - Phila, PA, for above 2)
Robert Plant and his wife were in a car crash while on holiday in Greece which broke Plant's ankle. Instead of touring the US, Plant and Jimmy Page wrote material for Presence, then recorded it at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany with Plant in a wheelchair. Plant got so excited while recording this that he fell and re-injured his ankle, similarly to the song's namesake, Achilles. The title was both an acknowledgment of Plant's broken ankle as well as to the mystic location in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco which inspired the lyrics. (thanks, Nick - Warwick, RI)
Jimmy Page overdubbed 6 guitar tracks to create a huge sound. In a 2007 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Jimmy Page was asked about his memories of how he overdubbed the guitars in the studio: "It was done in one evening, the whole of the arrangement. To be honest with you, the other guys didn't know: 'Has he gone mad? Does he know what he's doing?' But at the end of it, the picture became clear. It was like a little vignette, every time something comes around."
Page takes particular pride in this track. He told Guitar Player magazine in 1977: "Presence and my control over all the contributing factors to that LP – the fact that it was done in three weeks, and all the rest of it – is so good for me. It was just good for everything really, even though it was a very anxious point, and the anxiety shows, group-wise – you know, 'Is Robert going to walk again from his auto accident in Greece?' and all this sort of thing. But I guess the solo in 'Achilles' Last Stand' on Presence is in the same tradition as the solo from 'Stairway to Heaven' on the fourth LP. It is on that level to me."
Led Zeppelin played this at the remainder of their live shows.
This is one of the longest Led Zeppelin songs. It runs 10:26.
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin Artistfacts
More Led Zeppelin songs
More songs inspired by places
More songs that refer to mythology
Songs inspired by the works of William Blake

Comments (167):

Never really got in to this song for the lyrics. I always took it as Plant using mythology references to what was going on in his life at the time. I was always a fan of this song for the wall of guitar riffs that Jimmy built. As a drummer I always liked the fury that Bonzo displayed in this track. Oh, and yes I've always thought Heart ripped this song of with Barracuda.
- David, Lakeland, FL
This is an awesome song and one of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits, no doubt it is a shocker to music. First time I heard this song I really wasn't real keen to listen to a ten minute song, slowly though I started to tolerate longer songs, including this one. The lyrics still seem a little hazy to me and I do question myself to what Plants really referring to. His Achilles' tendon, Achilles Greek hero, or both?
- Drake, Huntington Beach, CA
Listening to Zeppelin you can trace the roots of so many groups, particularly those in the hard rock/heavy metal genre. You can certainly hear where Iron Maiden got their trademark galloping rhythm from.
- kieran, Brisbane, Australia
I think this is one Zeppelin's best works. The song is heavy and Page's guitar is excellent. I feel this Bonham's best drumming. Best track from Presence without a doubt.
- Thomas, Roswell, NM
Hey guys i Discovered something really EPIC on the "The song remains the same" dvd. With concerts from 1973
I dont remember exactly wich song, but after one song Zeppelin goes into a big jam where Page suddenly plays the Solo backing track of
Achilles last stand. You can see Jonesy really figuring out what to play , its really funny to hear and see.
Does anybody had seen the same thing???? Cause this is mabey the pre- version of Achilles last Stand!!!
- Jamiro, Amstelveen, Netherlands
This Song in Troy? Wot a disgrace to a great song! Songs have been from time eternal- This is a Great one of our times and perhaps will become an ancient lore for futures unseen.
Never Mix Movies With Rock And Roll. (Movies are lame, fluff! Who says they are Art? its Kitch! you will grow out of them or you will not grow at all)
Only popcorn goes well with movies, Troy too.
- Zetan, Pune, India
Possibly the most underrated song by Led Zeppelin. It is my personal favourite.
- Ivar, Reykjavík, Iceland
I thank my dad for showing me led zeppelin, im only 14
- Edward, Los Angeles, CA
Mark form Phila, PA;
In mythology Atlas didn't hold the world on his shoulders. He did in fact hold the heavens from the earth to keep Uranus from having more children with Mother Earth.
- Chris, Reno, NV
Led Zeppelin and Yes are BOTH greatly talented, innovative bands. (Though admittedly I'd give the edge to Zep.) Now that I think of it, it DOES sound a bit like Yes, but they were going slightly in the prog-rock direction from Houses of the Holy onwards anyways. They use a lot of the same types of music structures, the galloping beat of Yours Is No Disgrace, the jarring, intense rhythms of South Side of the Sky, or the repeating guitar figure in Siberian Khatru. I wouldn't want to say which is better, Jimmy Page or Steve Howe, but I would call them the best guitarists rock and roll ever produced.
- Liquid Len, Ottawa, NS
The comment about 16+ guitar tracks? I'd be surprised if there are not at least that many...though not all at once of course. I'd be surprised if their are not as many, or more vocal tracks. This was about making an epic studio composition, though one they pulled off live pretty well, too. You simply can't say enough about how well Bonham and Jones played on this track. Led Zep was FAR FAR more than the sum of it's parts.
- BazzaMan, Johnson, VT
Oh my god! A marching band played this here in Laredo! I was like wow. Then when i head this i nearly fainted.... Pure awsomeness.
- Israel, Laredo, TX
Studio and live version (Knebworth)of this song are intense and freakin' amazing
- David, Los Angeles , CA
Jesus Chrrrrist! What could I say that hasn't yet been said? Uh, well... This sounds like Yes??!? HAA HAAAA HAAAAAAAAA! Lay off the dope man. This is a great song and many many singers, drummers, bassists and keyboard players could learn immensely from this song alone. Plant's vocals are awe-inspiring and should instill a sense of melody in every singer. The drums - TSSS, yeah, the drums. NOBODY even comes close. Not even Peart. Bass, keys? How many ways can we say UNDER-RATED? You hear about so many, and they all were great too, but the way J.P.J. PLAYS the bass and FEELS the melody and intuitively DRIVES the melody is singular on all fronts, there was no other like him. Ditto for his keys. And Page, how many other guitar players were wry enough to pull out from the ancients the lost chords and tunings from times past? Where's all this now? Tool is so great because they play a 6/8? HAAAA HAAAA HAAAAAA! Give me a break! Bust out Zep, and LEARN from your MASTERS!
- Jesse, Madison, WI
This song can be played over and over and never lose its edge. Jimmy Page and John Bonham ROCK!!!
- Rabitt, Sugar Land, TX
Here's a rather heavy thing to say....

This is the greatest song ever written. It is so epic, and has such incredible depth, in terms of sound, emotion, and substance. Simply the fact that it can grasp and hold the attention of almost anyone, for over 10 minutes, speaks volumes for the song. In fact... when you listen to it... you don't even realize how much time you've just devoted to one song... you wish it was longer.

Rootred in stories from Greek mythology, this song tells the story of Achillies and his best friend going off to fight. They speak of battles, and glory, and all of the fame they will have, when they come back from the war.
- Jarod, Las Vegas, NV
Slash, GNR's guitarist, was heavily influenced by Jimmy Page. That may explain why.
- Schweet, Cincinnati, OH
I wonder why so many ppl who like Led Zeppelin also like Guns N' Roses, they're not that similar, don't worry, I love both too
- Steve, Winnipeg, MB
I love how this song begins & ends the same way. Bohnam's drumming is f*cking propulsive.
- Mike, Philadelphia, PA
Definitely one of my favorite Zeppelin tunes , but as for long songs this is short... Dopesmoker by Sleep runs 73:07 on the cd version...its not as melodic but it is just as powerful as this song.
- Luxxx, Chicago, IL
This is a great song. Everyone in my school thinks I am insane for loving 30 year old music but I could care less about them.
- Marley, Springfield, NJ
This song is awesome (incredibly awesome) but I've heard longer. Dogs by Pink Floyd is over 17 minutes. Then there's octavarium by Dream-Theater, which is 23:59 long. That song rocks.
- Trey, Kalamazoo, MT
The longest song I've heard is Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick" - 43:50.
- Michael, Oxford, -
This is Led Zeppelin's definitive song as far as I'm concerned, the best song ever, too, and my favorite song for all time.
- George, Calumet City, IL
this is my favorite song, zeppelin is the greatest!!!
- Robert, Pinson, AL
This song is incredible its not too long its very long though 10:16 Shine on You Crazy Diamond is 17 1/2 minutes And i am not joking here but i have heard a song 1 week ago that lasted on last fm 65:52 can you believe that i am absollutely fine with long songs
- Jesus of Suburbia, Frinton On Sea, AL
However you interpret this song, you cannot deny the emotion that it instills in us all. From the guitar work to the bass lines to the drum beat and lyrics, it is surely one of Led Zeppelin's finest moments. Those who think this song is about drugs should probably lay off them. Those who think a great song should have a time limit just don't get it.
- ted, glens falls, NY
this song epitomizes everything Zeppelin was about. Page's guitar work was excellent, but Bonham's playing on this track is unbelievable.
- Patrick, Greenville, SC
Chills is right! I saw them in LA in '75, best show ever. Had tix for '76 but car accident scotched that. Saw 'em in Oakland in '77, a bit more sedate but the audience was sort of hushed too...outdoor daytime shows have a different feel anyway. Saw Plant & Page in St. Louis in '95, and it was right up there with 20 years earlier...amazing. Haven't heard the live CD version, but the Knebworth version was great...however, Page was sweating so much that my comment was "there's a fire at the wax museum!" I think he was still trying to kick heroin at that point.
- Bob, St. Louis, MO
I abs. love the song. its one of my fav zep songs...it shows each band members true talent and i could listen to it on repeat for hours...i abs. love it!
and not EVERY led zeppelin song is about drugs. actually, not to many are about drugs compared to other bands...and the drumming is AMAZING
- michelle, Scranton, PA
LED ZEPPELIN "IS" VIKING MUSIC !
- CISCO M.F., ANDOVER, NJ
great song.
the drumming is great.
i drum to this in the shower :P
- paul, columbia, SC
Steve, are you serious? No...You can't be. Awesome song, though! Sorry Brian, but the song is 10:26 in length, so it is not "11 minutes long."
- Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
This is the best Led Zeppelin song ever!
- Flashman, Dallas, TX
To me, this was Zeppelin's last truly great song. In particular, Page was at his absolute peak, with an extended multitracked solo (or duet? trio?) that was so evocative it may just have been his best. Oddly, it reminds me of Steve Howe's solo in "Yours is No Disgrace", albeit with higher intensity. It's probably not coincidence that a number of commentators are reminded of Yes, particularly with Jones's heavy bouncing bass line which recalls Chris Squire. Sadly, Page was soon to succumb to heavy heroin use and would never return to this level of brilliance.
- Kent Lyle, Cincinnati, OH
Totally a brilliant song. Being a drummer and a very Bonzo inspired drummer at that, I really feel for the part where the song transitions into the four stroke ruff phase. It's so powerful and almost military feeling, quite like the song suggests being the myth Achilles last stand. It really feels like it is the last stand in a long war. Lol maybe thats why the song is over 11 minutes.
- Brian, Brantford, Canada
great song from a very much under-rated album...ZEPPELIN RULES!!!
- kenny, Wilmot, NH
This is Led Zeppelin at their very best, a hard rock masterpiece.
- Ryan, Marion, IA
Great song, period.
- Dylan, Olmsted Falls, United States
Great song!!!it's my favourite zep song. Everytime I hear it I really shudder from the glory of this song.About what can I say first:the guitar???the vocals???the bass???or the drums???.Jimmy page is the greatest rock guitarist and we have this song and ''stairway to heaven'' as a proof.AND THE MEMBERS OF THE BAND LIKE THIS SONG:
Jimmy Page has been quoted as saying that "Achilles Last Stand" is his favourite Led Zeppelin song
AND Plant got so excited while recording "Achilles Last Stand" that he fell and re-injured his ankle, similarly to the song's namesake ACHILLES.
I am from greece and when I read the lyrics I understood(maybe) what was it about.Plant describes the journey and the emotions of greek soldiers when travelling to troy(and especially about Achille and his pride)and at the same time he describes his emotions about his family trip in morocco and greece and the accident they had.perfect match!!!!!:)maybe he wants to show his weakness at that period(he was on a wheelchair)and he probably compare his weakness with Achille's weakness(his heel).
the only thing I know for sure is that only robert plant and no one else, knows what the lyrics are really about...
Afterall I adore this song.
- maria, athens, Greece
Fantastic song from the 2nd best zeppelin album. IV comes first, then equal physical graffiti houses of the holy and this. The guitar is great.
- Tim Boyd, Sydney, Australia
Probably the greatest rock song of all time.
- matt, detroit rock city, MI
I absolutely love this song. One of my favorite parts is the second time that Plant says 'For the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth'. It just occurred to me a few days ago that Atlas probably also referred to the mountains. Probably due to Robert's travels there.
Of course, the lyrics are amazing too. I just like his voice so much at that point.
- Tatiana, City X, SC
Amazing song. I completly understand Steve's grief about being the only person in a class to love the Mighty Zeppelin. I've noticed that not only Heart but other bands have copied the guitar riff from this piece. That just goes to show how amazing Jimmy Page was at making riffs. Shame it isnt longer, I never get sick of hearing this song.
- Page, London, Canada
u people understand the hurt that i get i am th only one who loves this song in my class, i listened to it 50000 times, love the lyrics and achilles greek stuff
- Steve, Winnipeg, Canada
With John Bonham's immensely powerful drumming, John Paul Jones's galloping bass line (played on a custom Alembic made eight string bass), Jimmy Page's overdubbed orchestral guitar arrangement (the dozen or so guitar tracks having been recorded in Munich in a single session), and a dramatic, epic guitar solo which is considered by many to be among Page's best, this song is awesome!!!!!!!!!
- Wilson, Atlanta, GA
This is one of my 5 favorite zep songs. The lyrics and the music feel so unique and meaningful unlike most music in today's "rock" scene.
- Mike, Los Angeles , CA
i find this to be an incredibly moving song...there's so much raw energy with the pounding drums, driving bass, and of course jimmy's guitar and plant's vocals...the solo fits the song perfectly and i love that part where it sounds like a bunch of different guitars crying out desperately...brilliant
- Ajay, Boston, MA
Led Zeppelin is the greatest band ever, i especially love this song. Paige and Bonham rock in it, and Plant is brilliant. I especially love its references to greek mythology.
- Robbie, Port Orange, FL
does anyone else think that bonzo's drums sound like machine guns in this song?? good lord!!! and the solos?? unreal!! gives me the shivers just thinking about it.
- Mike, Riverside, CA
The title of this song is a double entendre. Achilles could only be mortally wounded in the heel. So while it can be read as a 'last stand' meaning a final fight to the death, it can also be read literally as his 'last standing' in which sense he would never be able to stand again, and would therefore be mortally wounded. So it has two meanings that mean the same thing....clever.
- Ed, Ottawa, Canada
I think the first verse at least is about some time off that the band got (canceled tour maybe?.. "oh the songs to sing when we at last return again") And how it helped Robert to rest and maybe find himself, and become stronger and more spritual, maybe comparing himself to Achilles.
- steve, central, NJ
great bass line and work by Jones, never missing a sigle beat.. hard rocking drumming by Bonham. nice vocals interpretation for Robert Plant. and a sad feeling solo from Page.. enough said..

the first time i heard this song was like a 19 sec. demo.. and the beat got sticky in my head...
- Esteban, Tijuana, Mexico
i love this song so much i wont say its perfect because rock n roll isnt about perfection
- elie, london, England
I heard once that there are actually 16 or 18 guitar tracks on this song...verification anyone?
- Jesse, Toronto, Canada
I feel sorry for Robert for hurting his ankle, but it's pretty funny that he fell off his wheel chair because he was so excited about this song... I can picture the guy singing and maybe trying to pull something crazy like he does on stage, except on his wheel chair... But anyways, amazing song. Jimmy Page's solo is incredible-- it's very uplifting for me. I always get chills from listening to it. You've gotta watch Led Zep perform this live, it's very cool how Robert and Jimmy interact when Robert is singing "ahh-aha, ahh-aha" (i don't know how to write it). it looks like they're gonna bite each other.
- Pat, Flagstaff, AZ
The mighty arms of Atlas does not refer to the Atlas Mountains, but of the Titan, Atlas, who bore the spheres of the heavens.
- Taylor, Sioux Falls, SD
Is it just me, or is the first big guitar solo the greatest guitar solo ever? It gives me chills every time I hear it.
- Nathan, Austin, TX
Didn't Heart start out as a Led Zeppelin tribute band? So maybe the similarities between this and barricuda ARN'T just a coicidence...;-)
and for Elaine, it sounds like a quick yelp at the end of the live performances, not a word, just an AHH!
- Tom, East Lyme, CT
First, I want to say this is my favorite song of all time. Second, I've watched 2 seperate videos of this song live. In both, Plant says something right at the end and it usually echoes. Does anybody have a clue as to what he's saying?
- Elaine, Spokane, WA
what are you guys talking about!??!?! "Under-the-radar album? This is my FAVORITE album!!!! With songs like this one (my favorite song of all time), nobody's fault but mine, royal orleans, and tea for one...you can't go wrong!!
- Tom, East Lyme, CT
Thats an Interesting theory Dave, o and did u mean "Francis Ford Coppola" the same dude that wrote the Godfather? o and i hear the similarities between "One" and this and "Barracuda" also...all three are great songs
- Jeff, Sothington, CT
this song rocks! my problem is i cant listen to a song for more than five minutes... so i haven't exactly listneed to whole thing yet. but it still rocks!
- nick, ledzephead, United States
i lovvvvvvvvvvve this song!!! one of my favs, Robert Plant is a god
- Trisha, OKC, OK
Please - this song is not about drugs. It was inspired by Robert's trip to Greece in 1975, where he was in a serious car accident. While recovering in bed he was reflecting upon his trip to Greece (which conjured up images of Greek mythology) as well as his life and times in Led Zeppelin (all the fun and adventure they experienced together touring and visiting other lands around the world), and whether or not this would be the end of them as a band. Jimmy, too, was pondering this, as were Jonesy and Bonzo. With all the tension and lack of certainty surrounding them at the time, what you get as a beautiful musical consequence is the breathtaking epic that is Achilles Last Stand. Yes, it sounds positive and adventurous, but also, at least to me, a bit sad, for it truly was their final masterpiece, and a bit of a dirge-like farewell to the power and glory they personified both on their studio albums and on stage. They had their moments after 1976, but there was nothing like the majesty we all get to hear and see on How The West Was Won and on the first four or so hours of the DVD. Led Zeppelin - the most talented rock band ever!
- Danny, Philadelphia, PA
thats true i never realized how much of a "galloping" bass part this song has..definitely my all time fav song and fav to play along with on bass
- spencer, richmond, VA
This is the perfect rock song. The song has no flaws. none. It is Zeppelins best song, the problem is it is off their worst album. But it is Bonhams best studio Drum track, his fills are amazing and genius, Plants lyrics are great; the lyric refers to Zeppelins travels, and there new Tax Exile from England, imposed by Mr. Dennis Healy. Plant describes it as " A song about leaving home." Page's guitar was never better, as well as Jones, who keeps the gallop-type beat going. Above all it is perfect rock song because the song, in 10 minutes or so, kicks your ass and throws you out on the curb, and then it ends.
- Garrett, Orange , CA
Jimmy last great guitar epic. This and The song remains the same are the band at its best.
- Kurdt, Concord, NH
alright so John Bonham goes crazy in this song. He does this one fill thats so cool. I love this song along with all the other zeppelin songs.
- Zach, Chicago, IL
This is my favorite Led Zeppelin song of all time. I really like how Zeppelin took a shot at progressive rock with the lyrics and the song itself (being a sort of extended piece). This song sounds like a heavy metal Yes or Floyd song.
- Alex, Fort Mill, SC
The song does seem too short when listening to it, I agree. Also this does sound a lot like YES. Zeppelin should have pull off more songs like this.
- scott, canton, OH
not just the drums dude. the vocals=perfect, every note hit just right. the guitars=pristine AND the drums=so so so awesome.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
I don't know if its just me but, does this song seem way, way shorter when you lesten to it? Maybe its just tht good
- Tom, East Lyme, CT
This song is not long enough. Those drums are so so so ASWOME!
- Ryan, Brentwood, CA
i think around 9:11 when robert hits that note is one of the most amaziing moments in any zeppelin song. robert plant is definitely the best vocalist and lyricist(?) everrr...i always listen to this song when im running because it makes you feel like youre on a journey or something
- spencer, richmond, VA
Great song, wouldn't change a thing about it. I don't know why anyone would complain that it is too long, because if it was shorter in anyway it would not be as good.
- Jonathan, Toronto, United States
Call me stupid or crazy or whatever, but I think this would be a really cool graduation song....I wish it was mine...
- Dhani, Casselberry, FL
I definatly agree with John from australia, (7 down from this), but what about the Immigrant song and tangerine, two great songs but short too, but as seen on the DVD and the CD (How the West Was Won) they have the power to expand there songs with awesome solos if thy wanted to, MY FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME!!
- Tom, Dosen't Matter, CT
This is the closest LZ came to sounding like Yes.
- Ben, Golden, CO
However much you analyse it, the song remains the same :P
- Daan, Tegelen, Netherlands
This is one of my favorite Zep songs. Page's guitar (or guitars) sounds majestic and combined with the "rat-tat-tat-tat" on drums by Bonham just sounds awesome. This song is about a long and ambitious overseas journey to a battle to conquer land and replace the king of that land.
- Mo, Newark, NJ
O never mind. It's HTWWW. I don't remember that performance, which is surprosing because that DVD has great performances on it. I aught to listen closer next time. I have the DVD though.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I agree with Jeanette on the whole continuing in to the eighrties thing. It just wouldn't have been the same.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
I think songs LONGER than 4 minutes are the best. It prooves Zeppelin's TALENT. The bands these days just can't last more than 4 minutes can they?
- John, Kalgoorlie, Australia
Yeah they shouldn't have continued on to the 80's, but they shouldn't have excluded Jonesy from their reunion tours.
- Dan, Lee, NH
i agree with stephanie about the whole mellow issue. as for continuing into the 80s...thats a bad idea because it wouldn't be led zeppelin anymore. see no one can replace any members of the band no matter how good they are just because of the issue that it won't be led zeppelin anymore. i agree with their decision. plus whos better than bonham?
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
This song is OK, but I recommend other Zeppelin songs. This song is too mellow for my tastes. Zeppelin has some other sick songs. I like headbanging songs like The Immigrant Song and Black Dog. Kasmir and Stairway To Heaven are classics. Their Early stuff like Dazed and Confused, Whole Lotta Love and Heartbreaker are good too. John Bonham was a great drummer, he would have been hard to replace, but I think Zeppelin should have continued into the 80's. They may have surpassed even the Beatles and The Rolling Stones by if they continued. I also Highly reccomend Guns N' Roses, they are quite a contrast from Zeppelin but they're still of the almost the same caliber. Also, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Metallica, Motley Crue and Pearl Jam are good. So are Kiss, Van Halen and Green Day. Still Zeppelin tops all.
- Billy, Boston, MA
This song reamins one of the greatest testaments to Zeppelin's skill and ingenuity. The version of this on Zeppelin's How the West Was Won DVD is indisputably one of the greatest performnaces of any song by any band. If you haven't checked it out, you have no idea what you are missing! This song evokes so much emotion it sends shivers down my spine. Definitely one of the classic Zeppelin tunes of all time.
- scott, canton, OH
I first heard this song on the radio one night when I was trying to catch some Z's, and I had to stay up until it was finished playing so I could hear them say what the title was!:) This song really grooves with the classic Page riffs and Plants intrinsic vocals.
- Jeffmeister, Westminster, MD
this is one of the best zep songs in my opinion. it captures that semi mythic quality that can be found in their other songs like stairway to heaven.
- jordan, shokan, NY
This song defines led zeppelin, the guitaring is great, the vocals are great, the drumming blows away anyone who has ever drummed, I mean bonham was amazing and so was the base, ot is one of the best zeppelin songs, and probably my favorit song
- Scaramanga, san diego, CA
By far my favourite song. Jones is doin some damn good base in the backround.
- Geoff, Calgary, Canada
Anyway, after you read my comment Jeanette, I think we need to keep talking about "Achilles Last Stand" again. The other posters might get annoyed with us.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
i read that in a beatles magazine. seriously, its a Paul McCartney quote. i can't remember it exactly but he said something about how we only use 10% of our brains and lsd expands that creatively and politicians should use that to help govern better.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
John would be more likely to tell children to take heroin than Paul. That's because John's that crazy. Plus, I'm not sure if Paul took heroin. John did but it didn't last long. He had kicked the habit a few months later.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
juan sounds like he agrees with my friends music theory: "songs longer than 4 minutes generally suck." no wonder she hates this song....another quote from her (in reference to this song): "well i like the first two minutes of it!
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
actually its pronounced ack-EE-lees.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
Juan:I think It sucks because its too long.
If your a TRUE LED ZEPPELIN FAN(which your not)it doesent matter how long the song is, it cold be 1:50 to 90 minutes long-it just doesent matter with the mighty ZEPPELIN. I also love Pink Floyd, but if you havent noticed the songs Shine on You crazy Diamond, Dogs, Sheep (3 Different ones), Pigs, A Saucerful of Secrets, Echos, Atom Heart Mother and Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast are all over 10 minutes. And their all great songs! And are you gonna say you hate Zep's In My Time of Dying and Carouselambra suck cause their over your time limit? How bout the cd's How the West Was Won, do you like the versions of Whole Lotta Love, Dazed and Confused or Moby Dick? As you can see, i love the bands i listen to, and it just pisses me off to here someone bash'em like that, just listen to the music.
- David Corino, Hawley, PA
The greatest guitar solo(s) ever.....? plus: Jamal, you pronounce just as it is spelt Achilles Last Stand. Take my awsome polls: http://www.misterpoll.com/728242186.html
http://www.misterpoll.com/4161124639.html
- David Corino, Hawley, PA
o really? i didn't know that. but i kinda think paul would tell children to take heroin...but anyway thats not what i think that songs about.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
I said kid, because Julian was a kid during that time, and he was having to deal with his father and mother getting divorced. In fact, the father-son relationship between him and John was pretty much non-existent for quite awhile. John just wasn't a father figure to him really! Okay guys I'll shut up about "Hey Jude". I get a bit carried away sometimes.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Jeanett: A song that some people think is about drugs is "Hey Jude" believe it or not. Some people think Paul wrote it as a message for people to take heroin. I'm definitely not one of those, and Paul wrote it for Julian Lennon for goodness sakes! He wouldn't tell the kid to take drugs! I'm sorry. It really just bugs me.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
The guitar solo makes the hair on my arms stand up and gives me goose bumps. I wish this song could go on forever.
- Ryan, Brentwood, CA
well to be fair what beatles songs that AREN'T about drugs are interpreted as being about them? i mean as much as i hate going along with the whole "because it takes you to a somewhat different plane of reality it is about drugs" thing, i can see how a song like lucy in the sky with diamonds is about drugs, and i don't think anyone can argue with that. however people making PINK FLOYD songs into drugs does bug me. and this songs definitely not about drugs.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
The fact that there people who think that every Led Zeppelin song is about drugs is funny. People do the same thing to Pink Floyd and some Beatles songs tthough too.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Read some Greek Mythology gguys. The song isn't about drugs you ding-bats! Everyone knows who Achilles is!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
this song is long, but personally i wish it was longer. its one of my favorites. the ending vocals are sooooo awesome. you know those aaaaaAAAAAAAh!s at the end. also the guitar is awesome. you know its gonna be good from the beginning where its all calm and suddenly shifts to the harder rock going through most of the song.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
Anyone who thinks this song, or any Led Zeppelin song is too long is obviously not a dedicated enough fan. Sure a lot of their songs are long, but in the end, its well worth it.
- Danny, Sydney, Australia
"I think It sucks because its too long. I respect Led Zeppelin, in fact that's my favorite band together with Pink Floyd. Should liisten to other better songs like Black Dog or Stairway to Heaven
- Juan, Miami, FL"

..."It" is only 2 minutes and twenty-two seconds longer than Stairway. Thank you and good night.
- SJB, Waco, TX
whoever says this is about drugs cracks me up. every song by led zeppelin you look up has some idiot saying its about drugs. i recommend reading a book on greek mythology or SOMETHING because that is NOT what this song is about. but thanks for entertaining me by posting that! by the way this song is one of the best songs of all time.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
Is every song about drugs these days???? Common this is about some greek dude. Its also like the most underated song zepplen played, mostly cause its so long, but I mean its got some crazy guitar, along with some intense driums, it's definetly a all time great.

(and one more thing, the french prounounceiation of Achilles is "Asheel" not that anyone really gives a flying fart, but I thought id just throw it in there)
- Adam, Durham, United States
this song is soooooo good! this is my favorite song ever along with a few other songs... it has such good guitar! i can't imagine anyone saying they don't like this song! it is so awesome!
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
is anyone that unimaginative to think this song is about drugs.if you think that, i suggest you read a book instead of getting high and playing video games.im not calling plant a genius,though i love this song,but ill give him enough credit to think that in his mind he could write something a little more than an ode to an acid trip.i suppose "the lord of the rings" is about magic mushrooms.
- scott moore, boston, MA
Just to set the record strait about some comments made about achilles and the lyrics in this song: Achilles did not actually wish to participate in the Trojan war, he was very keen to avoid it in fact. When the greeks came to seek his aid in the war, he actually went so far as to dress up like a woman to avoid them noticing him (mythological version of draft dodging?). The main reason for his avoiding the war was his mother's urging for him not to. His mother who was a goddess prophisized death for him should he go (which is what happened) and so put him up to the cross dressing. Even during the war once he had already got to troy he had many disagreements with his general (king agamemnon) about the war, especically with a slave girl named bresis who originally belonged to him but agamemnon took from him. For a long period he refused to go to battle but instead sulked in his tent. Only after Hector (a trojan) killed his younger cousin and best friend in battle, did Achilles decided to seek vengence and then went and killed Hector.
- Jack, NOVA, DC
i love long songs only if they arnt boring though
this and shine on you crazy diamond and echoes are my favorite songs
- tony, st louis, MO
I don't realy much care about the song's meaning.. I just know that - to me - it's the best Zeppelin song there is. Jimmy Page is a... no THE Guitar God.
- Michael, Frederick, MD
I can say without fear of contradition, that Achilles Last Stand is about Led Zeppelin having to move from England because of tax reasons. The band moved to Jersey and then while holidaying in Europe, Robert and family went through their terrible ordeal.Robert used this rest and recuperation time, to pen the lyrics. Thanks - Richard Cole
- luke, sheffield, England
is there any way that it could be about WWII?
- danur, lead, SD
By awesome song, I was talking about "achilles Last stand", but "Shine On You crazy Diamond" is awesome too.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
I'm fine with long songs though, and I've gotten use to it. I think 'Shin On You Crazy Diamond" is about 15 minutes long. I might be off on that though. Awesome song1 A little repetitive... but still awesome!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
I don't know if anyone agrees with me, but "Achilles Last Stand" kind of reminds me of "beracuda" by heart. That's because they have the same beat, and are in the same key. It would also make sense, because Ann and Nancy Wilson are apparently juge fans of Led Zeppelin.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Yeah, it is a great song,and really long too.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
best led zep song
- tony, st louis, MO
I think It sucks because its too long. I respect Led Zeppelin, in fact that's my favorite band together with Pink Floyd. Should liisten to other better songs like Black Dog or Stairway to Heaven
- Juan, Miami, FL
JP Jones uses an Alembic 8-string bass on this song. It makes for a huge bass sound--which this song most certainly has.
- Sam, Boise, ID
this is the best song ever
- dino, athens, Greece
Ok, this is the best guitar performance ever. jimmy is the best guitarist.
- dino, athens, Greece
Why does Led Zeppelin rock so hard...its like a cult!!!!!!! I bought one album last summer, and before I know it, i have ever album, room full of posters, and two lp's!!!!! ROCK ON
- Will, Mobile, AL
Personally, I think this song is quite simply about Plant's trips through the Mediterrnean, using referances to Greek/Achaen myth to tell it. Originally, I thought it was simply about Homer's 'The Iliad', but reading into the lyrics, I'm not sure it's entirely based on it. An excellent song regardless of what it's about- one of the few 10+ minute songs that keeps me on the edge for each minute.
- Kiddo, Curramulka, Iceland
I saw Zep in 77 and they did this tune with exceptional fury. The guitar Jimmy used the night I saw them was his Doubleneck. This is definately a Top 5 Zep tune and I heard Keith Richards once said that if you'd like to see the best guitarist in the world watch Jimmy Page playing Achilles Last Stand live. Nuff Said. Watch the DVD version it's totally awesome.
Rock On!
- Bryan, Brunswick, GA
This is the most amazing performance ever, it is on the Led Zeppelin DVD. It give me chills every time, and I would give anything to have seen it live.
- Alex, Rochester, MI
this is a really cool song and the overlapping is what I think what really made me like it. Such loud music really gets me going. Only if it is good music though.
- Andrew, illinois, IL
saying page is the best guitarist ever is an understatement...
- George, No. Hampton, NH
April, 1972 was also when Led Zeppelin embarked on a US tour. Whenever Led Zeppelin had songs about battles and mythology (i.e.-"Immigrant Song, No Quarter, etc.) Robert Plant was usually using it as a metaphor for Zeppelin's live shows and their unbelievable fan base. Though Plant was an undeniable child of the Hippy Generation (the only one in the band actually), he never really expressed his political views in his lyrics. He was much more fascinated by the "cosmic energy" with the millions of screaming fans, particularly in the States.
- Adrian, Wilmington, DE
i agree with keewa (the longest comment) about what it means and some of the best and most mind-numbing rifts EVER!
- robert, chicago, IL
I think everyone is over analyzing the song. I dont think it is really about the Vietnam war as most people are suggesting. For one thing this would be about the only song where there is some kind of politcs involved. Very few bands will write only one or two songs on politics. I think that the song is that even things that are thought to be immortal (like achilles during the trojan war) have faults (just like achilles heel)that will bring that thing down. "Into the sun the south the north, at last the birds have flown
The shackles of commitment fell, In pieces on the ground ". I think this line supports my theory. I am only 16 and really dont know all the facts about zeppelin nor obviously was I alive during the conflict with Vienam. Another reason Why I dont think this is about the war is because the fact that they seemed to use more Norse mythology rather than greek like in this song. They could have made a song about an Norseman invasion which would have held more true to their theme. By using Achilles I think they really wanted to stress the point of how everything, even things that are belived to be invicible, can be destroyed. Also is anyone knows of any good biographies I could read please tell me, thanks.
- louis, san diego, CA
This is one of if not the best Led Zeppelin songs ever! It might be about Greek mythology but I guess its best to take a song as you want. Does anyone know if there nay CDs avaliable with a live version? I was suprised to see it wasnt on the DVD, HOW THE WEST WAS WON or the BBC sessions. I would love to here it live!
- Oli, Andover, England
It has to be simply the best song of zeppelins of and of all time.The guitar rifts are brillant and I think robert sings the best in this song. and is it hell about drugs whoever stupidly wrote it above
- stephen, donegal, Ireland
What guitar does Jimmy use in this song? any one?
- DocMeson, Austin, TX
The minute i read about this i agreed with most of you on some stuff, i think zeppelin decided to do this song about the trojan war as oposed to what was happening in vietnam, but the lyrics don't specifically talk about vietnam, not at all it's just about troy... when robert talks about turned to you and you smiled at me hes talking about his cousin patroclus, these two warriors were also lovers and i think being as gay as robert plant is (in a good way of course) he felt identified with this, the fact that they go on tours had robert thinking about adventure and the great heroes from the past... and yeah achilles and patroclus danced as they fought like in the troy movie, i was also very dissapointed not to see it in the film, but led zeppelin rarely accepts one of their songs being used by others.
- Bruno, Lima, Peru
My favourite guitar riff of all time. One of my fave Led Zeppelin songs as well.
- James, Bransgore, England
this song is clearly a song about warfare and greek mythology, one only has to listen to the lyrics to see this,

It was an April morning,
When they told us we should go.
As I turned to you,
You smiled at me.
How could we say no?

Where might they be going? to Troy (where achilles died) to fight the Trojans, it could be said that possibly their Summons arrived on an April Morning to join the fighters and as he turned to his wife(?) he saw the pride in her eyes and felt that he could not turn down the call to arms.

With all the fun to have,
To live the dreams we always had.
Woa, the songs to sing,
When we at last return again.

All the fun to have, war could be exciting for a soldier who may be eager to prove themselves, likewise the dreams reference, then the Songs to sing (reference to epic greek poetry?) about the war, like homer's illiad.

Sending off a glancing kiss,
To those who claim they know.
To know the streets the seaman hears,
The devil is in his hole.

the speaker could be sending a glancing kiss to his lover whom he is leaving behind on his way to war, Seaman - the Greeks went to Troy in thousands of triremes on the ocean (troy was located in northern Turkey), the devil would also have clearly revelled in warfare as it is that kind of thing.

Oh, to sail away,
To sandy lands and other days.
Oh, to touch the dream,
Hides inside and never seen, yeah!

Sailing away to war and Sandy lands (The battles of Troy were fought mainly on beaches), touching their dreams of Ultimate Glory that was hidden inside them but never before seen because they had no outlet for it before.

Into the sun, the south, the north,
Lies the first of hope.
The shackles of commitment fell,
In pieces on the floor.

Hope that they will pull through and be victorious against their enemies in the end and they travelled into the rising sun moving east towards Turkey. Their shackles of commitment fell in pieces when they arrived their because it was more of a free-for-all.

Oh, to ride the wind,
To tread the air above the din.
Oh, to laught out loud,
Dancing as we fought the crowd.

To ride the wind as the gods to, above the battlefield moving around choosing who should live and who should die, the battlefield is the din and the speaker wants to escape from it and become godlike himself, or one of the heroes that became immortal and could risk to dance around as they fought weak mortals because they were impervious to anything, an immortal Like Achilles who was graceful even when dispatching enemy soldiers.


To seek the man who's pointing hand,
The giant step unfolds,
With guidance from the curving path,
That churns up into stone.

not too sure about any of this verse to be honest.


If one bell should ring,
In celebration for a king,
So fast the heart should beat,
As proud the head with heavy feet, yeah!

The King is probably Menelaus, the king whose wife Helen was taken by Paris to Troy in the first place, upon her safe return he would have been happy enough to merit celebration, the Heart also beats fast whilst in the heat of the action on a battlefield and the proud head with heavy feet believes he has done well in battle regardless of how tired he is.


Days went by when you and I,
Made an eternal summers glow.
As far away and distant,
Our mutual time to grow.
Oh, the sweet refrain,
Soothes the soul and calms the pain.
Oh, Albion remains, sleeping now to rise again.

The speaker possibly remembers his lover that he left at home and how they spent summers together and made them seem to last forever and how they grew together as one, the sweet refrain could be music of the Gods to sooth the soul of the warrior and calm the pains of his wounds, Albion is an old english term for England, so england could possibly be involved.

Wondering and wondering,
What place to rest the search.
The mighty arms of Atlas,
Hold the heavens from the earth.

I always heard this Line as "wandering and wandering" as if the speaker is searching for something, this is confirmed with "what place to rest the search" as if the seeker is searching for something he desperately desires, like achilles who sought ultimate glory. The mighty arms of Atlas (The Titan) did hold the heavens from the earth as he was made to do for eternity by the Olympians as punishment for his crimes.

I know the way, know the way, know the way, know the way.
I know the way, know the way, knowthe way, know the way,

could be interpreted as a conclusion to the "where to rest the search" idea as if someone is telling Achilles he knows the way to Ultimate Glory.

the following verses are repetitions of the Atlas Imagery.
- keewa, Fairbanks, AL
AH...uh, I think my point is slightly skewed...so lets try again. Led Zeppelin by leaving the safety of their homes and their loved ones, travelling the world etc. make their names for themselves by playing their music - this is how they acheive their glory. Achilles and other Greeks similarily cross the oceans, leave their home for some ten years to find glory in battle. I think thats slightly less convoluted...
- Kevin, Riverside, CA
This is tough because I really like the whole Vietnam theory after all the Trojan war is a perfect comparison. But I think Pants was onto something. It isn't about touring but I believe it attempts to draw a comparison between Achilles quest for ultimate glory with Led Zeppelins own. It is a rather apt comparison and extremely insightful if not egotistical. Then again this was Achilles beef in the opening of the Iliad; essentially - "If I am to be overshadowed/demeaned by Agamemnon I will not fight." Not so childish if you consider he knew he would die if he fought. But with restitution Achilles rejoins the fight he knows he will perish in (it simply doesn't matter how). WHY??? Ultimate Glory. That is the trade. His life for Ultimate Glory. Achilles is the greatest warrior who ever lived and by invoking his name and legend, Led Zeppelin has risen(oh the irony)to become the greatest Rock band that has ever graced this earth - Ultimate Glory. Oh, and yes I was listening to "Achilles Last Stand" while writing this...
- Kevin, Riverside, CA
Oh man i always get chills when i hear this song, I can easily say that it's Led Zeppelin's best...and of course my personal favorite song of all time. The solo is amazing...the drumming is perfect...the vocals are bone-chilling.
- Alex, Clinton, CT
I honestly get chills when i hear this song...the guitar solo kicks ass and the drums complement it like nothing else.
- Jack, Lakewood, CA
I was so disapointed when this wasn't in Troy. Shame! Shame!
- brian, Mayfield Heights, OH
In the Dazed and Confused TSRTS version, the band goes into an interlude that sounds like an early version of Achilles Last Stand.
- Bill, W.I., NY
The line "it was an april morning when they told us we should go" is followed by "I turned to you, you smiled at me; how could we say no?" The song is about going on tour - travelling the world. You could count the songs Zep wrote about drugs on one hand. This isnt one of them.
BTW, Heart ripped off the rhythm section big time for their "Barracuda". Some of the drum fills are note-for-note.
- Pants, Calgary, Canada
I don't think they did...but wouldnt it be sweet if this song was played during the credits of "Troy"? Great song by the way.
- Sean, Stockton, CA
the guitar riff is great Bonham is such a great drummer...RIP
- Dylan, marietta, PA
The song lyrics retell combined rehash of the rich mythological lore Plant was fond of, nothing more. His artistic license delivered masterpieces such as this in the same manner as his re-interpretation of Willie Dixon's and Howling Wolf's blues chestnuts.

The band and indiviual members had little to do with the anti-war movement of the late 60s & early 70s. For sure, they promoted peace & love with thier hippy peers, yet did little to nothing to lead any movement.
- Sled, St. Louis, NE
My favorite Led Zeppelin song--I blast the speakers with this one. Jimmy Page also plays one of the greatest guitar solos ever. The song is not allegorical in any sense, it is purely a song of adventure. Watch the preview for the new movie "Troy" and then listen to this song. You'll see my point.
- John, Boca Raton, FL
Plant said that this and "Candy Store Rock" were his only strong vocal performances on Presence.
- Adrian, Wilmington, DE
Drugs? Come on Led Zeppelin was into the whole mythology thing. This song makes clear references (like the title) to Greek Mythology. This songs not about drugs.
- Jason Lee, New York, NY
Though most Zeppelin songs were not directly inspired by politics, it might be arguable that this is perhaps in response to the Vietnam War (or the last months of it anyways.) I don't really have any proof of this, but looking at the lyrics it isn't out of the question. For example (follow along with the above link to the lyrics):

"It was an April morning,
When they told us we should go"

April 1972 was one of the bloodiest months of the war (specifically in Hanoi.) With the massive loss of life, draft numbers rose.

The second stanza is a light-hearted sarcasm about going off to war. Zeppelin was obviously classified as a "hippy band" of the generation due mainly to Plant's personality and dress. The hippies were generally associated with protesting the war with non-violence. This is simply an amplified example of that.

"Sending off a glancing kiss,
To those who claim they know."

The word "claim" is of great importance to this idea. "Those who claim the know" refers to the government at this time, and the uncertainty denoted in the word "claim" suggests that while the government declares the war justified, in reality it is not.
Furthermore in this stanza,
"The devil is in his hole"
The use of fox-holes was popularized by the Viet-Cong (VC) during this war, perhaps this represents the American opinion of the VC as being an evil.

The next 4 stanzas are not as direct, and can (for your eyestrain's sake) be summed up as the impressions of soldiers heading off to a far and distant land, and so forth.

"If one bell should ring"
Several reports, i.e Francis Ford Capputo's, "A Rumor of War" describes the scene in several Vietnam cities as the U.S removed its forces. Capputo specifically mentions the sound of church bells ringing, and the locals hitting pots and pans together in celebration.

In the next stanza,
"Oh, Albion remains, sleeping now to rise again"

Albion, for you English buffs, is an Old-English word for "England." Obviously the UK did not have a substantial role in this war, and perhaps Plant suggests that the relative peace-time will not last. (Maybe he foretold 9/11)

The conclusion of the song simply generalizes the entire world as an overall sad, evil, aftermath, and is calling attention to the philosophies of love, peace yadda yadda yadda. It suggests that Atlas holds the Earth from Heaven, because the Earth has become so horrid and filled with wrong that it does not deserve to associate with the purity of Heaven.
And ending with "I know the way" simply preaches the aforementioned ideas of peace and such.

Finally, the title itself is a metaphor for the U.S. As the world?s strongest super-power, retreating from this war created many parallels with the life of Achilles. He was the strongest, most well-known solider in the Trojan War, and when he died at the simple cutting of his heal, it exposed how even the strongest can fail. Such was the result of the Vietnam War for the U.S.

Thats all,
David Greensboro, NC
- David, Greensboro, NC
I've noticed that Bonham does the "drum march" parts with about twice the speed on the live concerts, compared with the original from Presence.
- Jens, Linkšping, Sweden
I love the way Jimmy's guitar solo builds on itself; it makes you want to keep listening forever. Fortunately, this is a long song.
- Louise, Bayside, NY
This is the best guitar solo by the best guitar player ever. Jimmy Page is the best!
- Peter, Montrose, DC
to the undisclosed, New York dude--

Atlas was a Titan, and after the Titans were defeated by the Olympians, was to hold the earth in the sky for all eternity. this, holding the heavens from the Earth.
- robin, Sydney, Canada
paul, you are so right! i've always thought the drums in 'one' sounded like the drums in 'achilles.'
- kelly, los angeles, CA
Why does every Led Zeppelin song have to be about drugs? That sort of thing pisses me off.
- Bob, Levittown, PA
IMHO, this song is about drugs, mainly about trips, and higher conciousness and a higher or different reality...

"the might arms of atlas hold the heavens from the earth"

of course it could be interepeted different by different people..this is just my way of seeing it.
- undisclosed, new york city, NY
notice how the song "one" (metallica) sounds alot like it in the middle?
- paul_marlow, perth, Australia
I'm not entirely sure what this song is about, as with most of Zep's classic songs. It's probably about their lives and careers, travelling all over the world, and like No Quarter and the Immigrant song it compares them to warriors conquering foreign lands, but while those two songs used Viking imagery this one uses references to Greek mythology.
- Julian, Philadelphia, PA
it is pronounced akillees
- Hans, oakdale, CA
how do u pronounce it?
- jamal, muhmad abar, TX
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