This popular folk song is about a guy who is letting his lady know that he's about to "Ramble On
" and leave her.
The song was written by an American singer named Anne Bredon around 1959 and recorded by Joan Baez, who released it on her 1962 live album In Concert
. Baez came across the song when she played a show at Oberlin College and a student named Janet Smith played it for her. Smith heard the song from Bredon when they were both attending University of California, Berkeley.
When Baez' album was issued, "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" was listed as "traditional," as she didn't know who wrote it. This was corrected in later pressings, but Jimmy Page had a copy without the credit, so he assumed it was a traditional song and it was credited on the album as "Traditional, arranged by Jimmy Page."
Remarkably, about two decades went by before the credit was corrected. Bredon and Smith didn't listen to Led Zeppelin, so it wasn't until Smith heard her son listening to the song that she noticed it and contacted Bredon. An arrangement was worked out to compensate Bredon, and the song credits were changed to list Page, Robert Plant and Bredon as composers.