Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin song)

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Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
Appears on Led Zeppelin
Published by Superhype Music
Registration ASCAP 320158361
Release date 12 January 1969
Recorded October 1968 at
Olympic Studios, London.
Mixed at Olympic Studios, London.
Genre Folk rock, rock
Language English
Length 6 minutes 41 seconds
Composer Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Anne Bredon[1]
Label Atlantic Records
Producer Jimmy Page
Engineer Glyn Johns

'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' is a song written and arranged by British rock group Led Zeppelin, based on an original composition by Anne Bredon, titled 'Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You'. It was the first song recorded by the group for their debut album and sets for the listener, a dual-pronged acoustic/heavy rock dynamic often repeated later by the band.


The band was inspired to record the song, after hearing a tune of the same name by Joan Baez. Baez's original 1963 album had indicated that her song was a traditional number, and Led Zeppelin followed suit by originally crediting their arrangement as 'trad., arr. Page'. Baez's song however was later claimed by American folk singer Anne Bredon as having been written by her. After a written request from Bredon in 1990, the Led Zeppelin song has since been credited to Page/Plant/Bredon, and Bredon received a back-payment in royalties from Atlantic Records after the mistake had been discovered.[2]

This was the number Page played to Plant at their first meeting together, which took place at Page's riverside home at Pangbourne in late July 1968.[3] It is sometimes stated that the song evolved when Plant played to Page the guitar arrangement which eventually found its way onto the album. In an interview he gave with Guitar World magazine in 1998, Page refuted this story, noting that he had worked out the arrangement long before he met Plant, told him he would like it on the album, and that Plant at that time did not even play the guitar.[4]

At the 1 minute 43 second mark of Led Zeppelin's version of 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You', it is possible to hear a very faint trace of Plant singing, 'I can hear it calling me' just before he sings the same line in full volume. It is as if he 'hears it calling him.' This 'ghost' is the vocal bleed from Plant's scratch vocal, and it appears on the drum tracks, which were recorded live with the full band.

Page recorded another version of the song, with Steve Winwood, with multiple out-takes in 1968, which has never been officially released.[5]

The song is featured on the 2006 One Tree Hill episode entitled 'The Show Must Go On'.[6] One year after the album Led Zeppelin was released in 1969, Chicago's '25 or 6 to 4' came out as a single, and sounds similar to the progression used in the Led Zeppelin version.[7]

Live performances

The band only played this song live at Led Zeppelin concerts on their 1969 concert tours, but Jimmy Page and Robert Plant brought it back for their 1995 reunion in a nine minute version. A live, filmed performance of 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You', from Led Zeppelin's gig on Danmarks Radio at Gladsaxe, Denmark, on 17 March 1969, is featured on the Led Zeppelin DVD (2003).

As a result of touring in the United States of America and watching various 'Led Zeppelin' cover bands and other artists perform this song, in recent months Robert Plant has taken to performing this song again, both with his 'current' band Strange Sensations as well as in his concert tours as a solo artist.


  • Musicians:
    • Jimmy Page – acoustic guitar, producer, remastering, digital remastering
    • Robert Plant – vocals
    • John Paul Jones – bass guitar
    • John Bonham - drums, percussion
  • Production:
    • Peter Grant – executive producer
    • Glyn Johns - engineer, mixing
    • Joe Sidore - original CD mastering engineer (mid-1980s)
    • George Marino - remastered CD engineer (1990)


  1. As officially registered with ASCAP
  2. Lewis, Dave (2012). Led Zeppelin: From a Whisper to a Scream. London: Omnibus Press, 23. ISBN 978-1-78038-547-1. 
  3. Shadwick, Keith (2005). Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music 1968-1980. London: Omnibus Press, 28. ISBN 978-0-87930-871-1. 
  4. Brad Tolinski and Greg Di Bendetto, 'Light and Shade', Guitar World, January 1998.
  5. Steve Winwood Fans' Site: Collaborations & Sessions: Unreleased Material
  6. One Tree Hill Season 3 Episode 22 - The Show Must Go On. TVRage. Retrieved on 23 October 2013.
  7. Everett, Walter (2009). The Foundations of Rock: From 'Blue Suede Shoes' to 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes'. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 245. ISBN 978-0-19-531023-8.