Kashmir (Led Zeppelin). 40 Songs for 40 Years, 1975

By the time I was three, my dad had taught me how to use his fancy stereo, reasoning that I was less likely to break it if I knew what I was doing. The idea was solid (I did indeed treat his stereo with respect), and it turned out that the stereo was an excellent babysitter. In a stroke of genius, my parents used our reel-to-reel tape deck to record my favorite music on a 7” double-length reel, which gave two uninterrupted hours of playing time on each side. I’d get on my rocking horse, put on my dad’s headphones, and rock along to my favorite music. I usually fell asleep before the tape was done. Dad later described this discovery as “like finding money in the street” (I was evidently kind of a high maintenance kid).

I remember Mom taking me to buy Physical Graffiti (the record on which this song appears) as a gift for my dad; it was probably a Christmas present. I loved the intricate album cover, which featured the façade of a building with cut-outs in place of the windows; depending on how you inserted the record sleeves, you could see the album title or other interesting pictures.

If the cover was great, the actual music was even better. My favorite song was Kashmir, and Dad would bounce me on his knee as we listened. Each section was carefully choreographed with its own distinct bouncing pattern. The best part was the chorus, where Dad would pull out all the stops, making funny faces and bouncing me as vigorously as possible while I nearly collapsed with laughter. It’s fortunate that Dad was in good shape because all this bouncing took a lot of stamina: the song is eight-and-a-half minutes long, and I usually wanted to listen to it over and over.