What does What Is and What Should Never Be mean?

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Led Zeppelin: What Is and What Should Never Be Meaning

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What Is and What Should Never Be Lyrics

And if I say to you tomorrow. Take my hand, child, come with me.
It's to a castle I will take you, where what's to be, they say will be.

[Chorus]
Catch the wind, see us spin, sail away, leave today, way up high in the sky.
But the wind...

  1. anonymous
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    Jul 29th report

    This song would NOT have been written and published for the world to see and obviously try hard to dig out the truth, if the truth was in a "close to home" hard but constant attraction Plant had for his wife's sister. Kinda stupid. What I was told by a roadie of Zep, when they on a US tour and Plant met this young underage girl "come with me CHILD", mature for her age in every aspect. "You'll be mine by taking our time." Waiting for her to hit legal age. I heard other meanings but when I heard this one, and studied every verse, this meaning just spelled itself out.

    BTW, I got so sick of hearing "it is what it is", I wrote my version of "Captain Obvious" meaning. I say "It's not what it isn't". Different word, same ridiculous redundancy.

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 14th 2018 report

    This awesome LED ZEPPELIN song could've also have been about the Protagonist, TAKING the beautiful young Lady He loves up to WeWelsburg magic Castle. Where both of Them were aware of knowing It's ''black sun'' symbolic history. Where ''WHAT IS and WHAT SHOULD NEVER BE'' done there.

  3. anonymous
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    Nov 17th 2016 report

    Song is a prophetic calling. Heed thy calling for the final bad companion is lost and obscured.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 15th 2016 report

    "What Is" in today terms is, "it is what it is". Both knew that this wasn't right, but couldn't stop, because she was his sister-in-law. however, I feel that this was pay back on Shirley's part to her sister Maureen, because although Shirley gave Robert a choice and he choose Music and not her, she was still in love with him and still had some hope that they were going to get back together in time. But, big sister Maureen knew Robert was going to be somebody someday and although Maureen took care of Robert when he was struggling she knew he was going to be a cash cow, hence shot-gun wedding!
    PS.... I wonder If someone can answer my question. Robert songs has the word "Baby" in many of his songs. Was "Baby" Shirley??? Thanking you in advance.

  5. pamela.j.gordon.5
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    May 19th 2014 report

    Robert Plant wrote it about his wife's sister, Shirley, who he was dating before Mareen. I guess he never completely got over her and when Maureen and he divorced, Robert had a son, Jesse Lee, with Shirley but it wasn't until 1991, eight years after he and Maurren divorced.

  6. anonymous
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    Sep 11th 2012 report

    The song is a meditation on temporality, and the timelessness of insignificance. The story is a romance, and a decision is being put to someone: to him? To her? The question is "what is" meaning, that which is happening now, in the present vs. "what should never be" which exists in a temporal zone of indeterminacy and refraction. "What should never be" is that which "never was." And if that "never was" then "what is" can never happen. He says the decision lies with you. So, again, he's saying if it isn't is, if it isn't what we must continue it to be, then it never was....Another F-You rock song to the women of the world.

  7. anonymous
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    Jul 21st 2012 report

    I read somewhere that this song was about Robert Plant having a crush on his wife's younger sister. I don't remember where I read this.

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 12th 2012 report

    And if I say to you tomorrow / Take my hand child, come with me / It's to a castle I will take you / Where what's to be they say will be - come with me and we'll be together

    Catch a wind, see us spin / sail away leave today, way up high in the sky / it won't, but the wind won't blow, we really shouldn't go/ only goes to show: that you will be mine, by taking our time - See all the fun we could have together? We really shouldn't be together but we're trying

    And if you say to me tomorrow / oh what fun it all would be / then what's to stop us pretty babe / but what is and what should never be - she wants him but she's already in a relationship

    (Chrous)

    And if you wake up with the sunrise / and all your dreams are still as new / and happiness is what you need so bad / well girl, the answer lies with you - if you still want to be with me, you know you gotta leave your boyfriend/husband

    (Chorus)


    That's my interpretation. Kinda fits to my life; this girl I like used to like some guy and he told her to date his friend so she said ok even though she doesn't/didn't like him. Now, she likes me but she doesn't want to break up with the guy she's dating 'cause she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. *Sigh* either way, this is one of my favorite songs ever

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 18th 2011 report

    This song is about the love of Jimmy Pages life, she was a young art student when he met her, only 16 and he was supposed to be with someone else at the time. In the end they got together but then she left Pagey for his cheating ways leaving him gutted. Still at least the pain provided the creative inspiration for their third and my favorite album.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    May 19th 2009 report

    If I say to you tomorrow, take my hand child come with me, its to a castle I will take you, well whats to be they say will be" it's about the writer falling in love with a forbidden girl, wanting to take her away to a castle, and get out of the spotlight of fame, or to get away from whatever makes their love "not right" what is and what should never be, their love that should have never happened, "if you say to me tomorrow, oh what fun it all will be, then whats to stop us pretty baby, but what is and what should never be" how they want to get away and the only thing stopping them is what is, and what should never be. So when the days go on and you still feel the same, you need happiness so bad well girl its all on you " so if you wake up with the sunrise, and all your dreams are still as anew, and happiness is what you need to bad"


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