Original Artist: Led Zeppelin
Original Album: Physical Graffiti (1975)
Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)
“The Rover” was born as a guitar instrumental, initially recorded in 1970 at Bron-Yr-Aur, Robert Plant’s South Snowdonia, Wales country cottage, that despite having no electricity or running water was used as a retreat for the writing of Led Zeppelin III. This instrumental reappeared at Stargroves in 1972 during the recording of Houses of the Holy where it was embellished with some preliminary lyrics.
In its early stripped down form, “The Rover” is reminiscent of both “All Along the Watchtower” and “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Lyrically, “The Rover” is also a fairly decent amalgamation of the two, something akin to “Rockin Along the Watchtower.” A sampling of studio rehearsals reveals the steady evolution of the song during the recording process from its embryonic Stargroves form to near the fully developed version that was released on Physical Graffiti. Inexplicably, Led Zeppelin never played “The Rover” in concert in its entirety; however, the introduction of the song was given a lengthy “jam” as a precursor to “Sick Again” throughout their 1977 tour of North America. Previously, “The Rover” had been teased in the 2/27/72 “Whole Lotta Love” in Sydney, Australia, and soundchecked in its entirety on 7/6/73 at Chicago Stadium, prior to their 1973 tour.
“The Rover” came wandering in to close the first set of the 6/24/10 Phish show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ. This debut from Physical Graffiti demonstrated two things with respect to Phish ever being able to cover that or any other Led Zeppelin album for Halloween: although they can certainly pull it off as far as the music goes, Page just doesn’t have the range of the young Robert Plant, and the vocals likely would (and certainly did during the Camden performance ) suffer accordingly. Despite its limitations, “The Rover” – as another installment of the 2010 “Summer Under the Covers Redux” – was well received by the Camden crowd. In keeping with Led Zeppelin’s original roll out of the song, Phish teased “The Rover” both preceding and during the 10/25/94 “Possum,” the 11/9/95 “PYITE,” and the 11/28/95 “Suzy Greenberg,” long before playing the whole thing (initially as the soundcheck) in Camden.
”The Rover” 6/24/10 Camden, NJ