Writers: Anne Bredon, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
Producer: Jimmy Page
Recorded: October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London
Released: January 22nd, 1969
|Robert Plant — vocals
Jimmy Page — guitar
John Paul Jones — bass
John Bonham — drums
|Led Zeppelin (Atlantic)
Guitarist Jimmy Page played Joan Baez's version of “Babe I'm Gonna Leave You” to lead singer Robert Plant during their first meeting in August 1968 at Page's home in Pangbourne, England. At that meeting, he proposed mixing acoustic and electric touches to give the song an extra dynamic edge.
The song features the first of what would become Plant's “baby, baby, baby” vocal mannerism.
When Led Zeppelin was first recording the song, Plant took an aggressive vocal approach until Page directed him to soften his delivery.
The song was first credited as “traditional” on the Led Zeppelin album. However, it was actually written by Anne Bredon, an American songwriter with whom Baez was familiar. Bredon approached Atlantic Records to correct the inaccuracy, and she got what she wanted — along with a substantial back payment of royalties.
Led Zeppelin performed the song on their 1968-1969 tours and then discarded it from the set.
The group was formed in 1968 by Page, who was putting together a new band in the wake of the breakup of the Yardbirds. Bassist John Paul Jones was a session veteran Page knew from the London scene, while friends recommended Plant and drummer John Bonham.
Because the Yardbirds had some contractual obligations to fill, the first Led Zeppelin gigs were performed as the New Yardbirds.
Led Zeppelin had already toured the U.S. once before the Led Zeppelin album was released.