What does Achilles Last Stand mean?

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Led Zeppelin: Achilles Last Stand Meaning

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It was an april morning when they told us we should go
As I turn to you, you smiled at me
How could we say no?

With all the fun to have, to live the dreams we always had
Oh, the songs to sing, when we at last return again

Sending off a...


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    Aug 7th, 2006 8:11pm report

    Quite simply the band said that it was about the car accident.


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    Jul 26th, 2017 7:14am report

    Well I feel it is their description of an RAF pilot leaving behind his girl(pregnant)... The start of the song's pretty much speaks for itself but I present following excerpt to validify my claim

    "Into the sun the south the north, at last the birds have flown
    The shackles of commitment fell, In pieces on the ground

    Oh to ride the wind, To tread the air above the din
    Oh to laugh aloud, Dancing as we fought the crowd"

    Well there are other things which are quite apparent to me... But these lines just point to the relatively flamboyant fighter squadrons of the first World War... And These four(LZ) were just all in awe of Manfred Von Richtofen(The Red Baron) and his flying circus, why they even recreated the iconic picture where the Baron graces his Fokker D3 Albatross Triplane and Werner Voss is sitting cross legged, and used it as an album cover...

    Another citation
    "If one bell should ring, in celebration for a king
    So fast the heart should beat, As proud the head with heavy feet"

    This certainly can be inferred as a pilot's admiration for the foot soldier/infantry....

    And you may ask why RAF???
    Well, Tommy is all proud of just being a stubborn Tommy, God Save the queen, and tea and scones.... Hanging, morning quiet desperation is the English way, as described by an Englishman himself...
    But the use of the word ALBION gives everything away...

    I'd appreciate if you find this interesting and reach out to me at sekhongurbinder@gmail.com



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    Jul 13th, 2015 7:26am report

    To make a stab at understanding the lyrics of this or any other of the more opaque Plant lyrics you need to comprehend many aspects of his hinterland which is wide indeed. Most important are his 'Englishness', grammar and art-school education with much focus on English and classic literature and his genuine interest in ancient history, myths and legends (he once described himself as a bit of an amateur historian). Others have emulated this but without the basic depth of knowledge or interest.
    Combine this with his, at the time, recent experience of superstardom on a truly epic scale, in some ways not seen before or since and all the stuff and licence that went with it at the time doing the things he loved best, yet being a thoughtful young man, recognising that pacts were perhaps being made that would come home to roost and that at the very summit of your achievements one was vulnerable and could be brought low in unexpected ways.
    And he had almost literally been brought low, knocked from the pedastel when all seemed plain sailing ever onward and upward to greater dominance and riches. And so he writes retrospectively comparing his situation in the wheelchair with the former glory of jointly and light-heartdedly fighting the stadium crowds with Page.

    From what we know now it is clear that Plant was always very self-aware and something of a complex personality. He did seem to be fascinated by the power that the band could manipulate but also feared the monster that they had created he would also have been privy to the darker, hidden sides of the LZ operation run by Grant and the effect all the success and excess was having of his friend John Bonham, less able to handle the opportunities for misbehaviour. All in all he could objectify the experience and viewed it ambiguously I put this down to his formative experiences, upbringing and education.
    As with the most intelligent lyricism that approaches poetry, the song has several meanings at one and the same time. The basic framework though is the liberation that travel brings and the opportunities to see things in a different perspective and search for deeper spiritual awareness etc.


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    Feb 12th, 2015 2:40pm report

    The song is sequential to other Led Zeppelin songs needed to piece the puzzle. Knowledge of the Bible, mysticism, mythology, and the occult is needed as well. To put it simply it is about the futuristic journey of a rescued princess.
    Seek and ye shall find.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    May 26th, 2014 5:37pm report

    oh, and I wanted to add..i always thought Rob said.."oh i'll here remain sleeping now to rise again" not..."Albion, i'll here remain". ...well what the hell...its great anyway haha, either way. Hamish


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    May 20th, 2014 5:30pm report

    I wondered if the first part of the song at least...Rob was almost singing to Jimmy, bout the opportunity of travel and not being able to pass up that chance...the songs to sing when they return, leaving commitments behind! we know they loved to travel, and did so in the atlas mountains! I noticed on the knebworth dvd version Rob does turn to Jimmy and sings "and as I turned to you ,you smiled at me, how could we say no"....but, as with a lot of Zepp songs ,there seems to be way more than one meaning to it!! love it and its in my top 5!! Hamish, England

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    Sep 26th, 2013 9:51pm report

    awesome soul searching song of zeppelin listening to it in the mid 70's in highschool days while it was hard to be a saint in the city, just ask bruce he may know. maybe plant was trying to find some meaning in his heart and soul about the archilles heel he sufferd through in the car accident with his family in Greece. the thunder of the song reminds me of horses roaming the heavens and earth and all of the way down even to the subways of new York city searching for some meaning of the accident while traveling. as a young boy of 15, hitching buses on the grand concourse in the Bronx, jumping off just before the bus stoped on the edge of a pot-hole and broke my ankle in several places. at that time feeling in trying to find meaning I believed that god interviend in someway for me to slow down, anyway thank god that plant and his family escaped death, otherwise I would never saw zep in 77 at m.s.g in ny, high and dusted out.


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    Jun 14th, 2013 6:10pm report

    The literal meaning of the title,is because when Plant had his car accident he tore his Achilles tendon(connecting the calf muscle with the heal).Plant was forced to get around in a wheelchair because he couldn't stand.Hence the title "Achilles Last Stand."


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    May 6th, 2013 5:46pm report

    I'm not claiming to know anything but I've listened to a whole lot of different music in the 30 yrs I've been alive. Only for the last 9 months now is it im starting to hear this message more clearly. It's something to do with myth, legend, immortality, reincarnation. What we 'know and think' is real. There are secrets to be learned, memories to remember. I've probably found a dozen songs since this era up to today that have vague suggestive meanings with lyrics containing similar phrases or concepts. That is all I can say at this point other than just like all other forms of media, someone writes for another to present it. How easily the mind confuses what we hear and see with deaf ears and blind eyes.


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    Aug 15th, 2012 8:04am report

    Seems like this song is about touring. "It was an April morning when they told us we should go" get started for the tour. "I turned to you, you smiled at me, how could we say no?" Really, you're in Led Zeppelin, every tour is gonna be fun as hell. "Oh the fun to have. To live the dreams we always had" in other words live the rockstar life. "Oh the songs to sing when we at last return again" either its referencing how early in their career while on tour they'd record or they fancy themselves like old tribesmen who go out, live life, then come back and tell their kids (or fans) about the experience. "Sending off a glancing kiss to those who claim they know" fans who pretend to live the life of a rock star or think they do "the shackles of commitment fell in pieces on the ground" duh, who's NOT gonna indulge in groupies when they can get away with it? Beyond that part of the song it just details the travel and what goes on on tour.


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    Mar 30th, 2012 3:48am report

    "An artist's work isn't for himself, the art belongs to the people, the consumers, those who fall in love with these masterpieces."

    I disagree...an artist's work is birthed from himself, belonging to himself only. NOT for consumerism, profit, or fame/grandeur and is why they do not exploit their meanings...because it is a TRUE expression of their inner-most parts! Artists who seek the above use their mental prowess and NOT genuine expression.

    If it should happen that a true artist of any kind somehow cast their tiny shaddow into the lime light, people can connect and relate...

    However, those who only wish to construct a "masterpiece" to maintain status and esteem are like record label pop crap...NOT art!!!


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    Mar 29th, 2012 3:23pm report

    Achilles Last Stand has to be one of the most epic heavy metal songs of all time. It's certainly Zeppelin's last truly great song. Except, of course, for Tea For One, which concludes Presence. The album which Achilles Last Stand opens.

    The song itself is actually about traveling. Due to the infamous 97% tax bracket on the rich in England during the 1970s Zeppelin had been forced to flee England as tax exiles. The plan was to spend much of this time touring, and many members of the band saw it as an opportunity to travel. To this extent the song itself was actually based around their experiences in Morocco. It was originally called the Wheelchair Song but was later changed to Achilles Last Stand.

    The lyrics: "oh Albion remains sleeping now to rise again" is actually a reference to a poem by William Blake which goes:

    "Albion rose from the mill where he laboured at the Mill with Slaves
    Giving himself for the nations he danced the dance of eternal death."

    Albion was also an ancient name for Britain. Plant had a sound knowledge of poetry and Celtic history.

    The lyrics: "well mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth" is not a reference to the Greek titan Atlas who was forced to hold the earth on his shoulders for eternity but rather the Atlas Mountain in Morocco.


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    Sep 19th, 2011 9:01am report

    Has anyone asked them?

    They have longer songs, but this one maintains rapid tempo all the way, you see Page sweating like a pig, but pigs don't sweat.

    I was at Knebworth 8-11-79 and this is one of the highlights, captured on 2003 dvd set.

    I'm the guy with long hair smoking hash.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Aug 24th, 2011 8:19am report

    It is about having the courage to be vulnerable in a sometimes cruel and uncertain world Just like many mythological stories containing lessons for a better approach to life.


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    Apr 28th, 2011 4:28am report

    Itis about Robert Plants experience while vacationing in Greece with his wife. It was written while he and his wife were recovering from a serious car accident.


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    Jun 26th, 2010 6:28am report

    When an artist gives a solid, set-in-stone interpretation of a piece of work, it kinda takes away from the beauty of the art itself. None of these interpretations are what the song really means, they're only that: interpretations. They're the personal meanings and significances we ourselves give them. They are created by and for ourselves as all interpretations are. An artist's work isn't for himself, the art belongs to the people, the consumers, those who fall in love with these masterpieces. And so the artist gives his art to us without meaning; he has a personal meaning of his own to his art, but leaves us to create our own (though I have to say I especially like the American Dream interpretation... truly beautiful). I myself am in the process of writing my own epic novel which is heavily influenced by the lyrics of Achilles' Last Stand, but I have no intention of putting a solid meaning to the song, it's only my interpretation.

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