This is one of a pair of tracks on Band of Joy that Robert Plant took from Minnesota downbeat indie rock band Low's 2005 album, The Great Destroyer. Lyrically, this track suggests something unspoken but very bad is happening on the farm. Plant told Mojo: "I've been a fan of Low for a long time. That whole spook element. Monkey is such a great song - I don't think I could write anything half as good as that."
Low's Alan Sparhawk said regarding the two Plant covers to UK newspaper The Sun: "They're beautiful. Very subtle and tender. I thought at first he would stick the s--t out of 'Monkey' (it's a blues riff), but the fact that he does it even more sparse than us is pretty sneaky."
Lif from Quemado, NmFirst, I have to say I'm a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan. That explains why I keep waiting for Plant to open up and really SING. This song would have been incredible if the singing wasn't so... surface.
Eddie Vedder often changes the words when he sings "Yellow Ledbetter." The basic story is about a guy whose brother dies in the first Gulf War. Apparently, bad news in the army is given in yellow envelopes.