Led Zeppelin’s third album, Led Zeppelin III, was released 50 years ago today (October 5) in the US, and a few weeks later worldwide. As part of the album’s 50th anniversary, the band are set to reissue the Japanese version of the album’s only single – Immigrant Song b/w the non-album track Hey, Hey, What Can I Do – on seven-inch vinyl in January. Limited to 19,700 copies, it comes in a sleeve that replicates the original artwork.
The single will be released on January 15, 2021 and can be pre-ordered from the band’s website on October 8.
With its references to Norse mythology, Immigrant Song was inspired by Zeppelin’s trip to Iceland in June 1970. “When we played there it really did feel like we were inhabiting a parallel universe, quite apart from everything else, including the rock world of the times,” Jimmy Page later said. The song made its live debut in England at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music that same month.
Despite Zeppelin’s no singles policy, Immigrant Song was at one time lined up to be a UK single too, again backed with Hey, Hey What Can I Do. It was even assigned a catalogue number 2091 043 and a release date, November 27 1970, but was subsequently shelved.
Released in the UK on October 23, 1970, two weeks after its release in America, Led Zeppelin III was already at Number 1 in the US by the time it went on sale at home in Britain, where it would also subsequently top the album chart.