Last week was the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien (January 3rd) and in honor of that my hubby and I watched Sam and Frodo go on their quest. During the film (that we have a watched a gazillion times) we talked about the influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on the world of rock and roll. There have been so many Tolkien themed rock albums over the years that there has to be something that attracts musicians to this tale of good vs evil.
Mordor is of course the perfect doomy hellscape for a lot of metal bands. Orcs, Goblins and Sorcery are just too irresistible for metalheads. But it isn’t just crazy metalheads from Norway who love Tolkien. One of the biggest fans was Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant has been quoted as saying “when I read those books, they kind of dissolved into me.” He wasn’t alone though, Genesis, Rush and other prog-rock bands are big fans too. Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep have referenced Tolkien as well.
Music does play a big role in Middle Earth. Songs and poems in Elvish and other languages are mesmerizing and one band who were big fans may surprise you.
The Beatles aren’t always thought of as Tolkienesque but they were huge fans and even approached the author in the 60’s about making a Lord of the Rings film with Paul as Frodo, Ringo as Sam, George as Gandalf and John as Gollum. Apparently Paul even approached Stanley Kubrick to direct. Tolkien didn’t like the idea and turned them down immediately but man oh man we could have had some great and truly unique Beatles tunes if they had done that.