Led Zeppelin stopped the Thor: Ragnarok team from making changes to their iconic track ‘Immigrant Song’, the film’s composer Mark Mothersbaugh has revealed. The raucous song has become synonymous with director Taika Waititi’s rip-roaring Thor threequel, with its riotous rhythms appearing twice in the film itself and once in that memorable trailer.
In fact, Ragnarok’s relationship with ‘Immigrant Song’ goes back even further than the film’s scoring and its marketing campaign. Led Zeppelin’s tune was a part of Ragnarok from the film’s very conception, with Waititi using it as the backing track for his pitch meeting sizzle reel. Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige remembers Waititi’s pitch as being “amazing” and “scored to that Led Zeppelin song”, so it obviously made a big impression.
Mothersbaugh, who had the Chris Hemsworth-featuring Vacation movie on his résumé before landing the Ragnarok score gig, spoke to Screen Rant exclusively about his work on this massive Marvel movie. As Mothersbaugh recalls, the positive reception to Ragnarok’s ‘Immigrant Song’ trailer inspired the production to reach out to the band to get the rights to use it twice in the actual movie:
“I love that song. So great. And fits so perfect in the film. They did it in the trailer. How many months ago was that? Four months ago? Five or six months ago? And it was such a hit that they knew they wanted to see if they could talk Jimmy [Paige] and Robert [Plant] into letting them put in the movie and they had to see the movie and they loved it, they really wanted it to be in there too. So that’s how we ended up getting it for two uses.”
Once they had the rights, Marvel pushed their luck a bit, asking Led Zeppelin if it would be okay to change the song by adding a big orchestral accompaniment. As Mothersbaugh describes, the iconic British band did not take the suggestion well:
“If there was only one regret, we threw it out there – what do you think about the idea of letting Mark put his 100 piece orchestra over the second use on the bridge. And they were like ‘no one’s allowed to touch our song in any way musically’. They have these rules of what you’re allowed to do. It was an idea… maybe on the next film…”
Led Zepp were clearly not open to the idea of Mothersbaugh adding to their song. It may have sounded cool to have an entire orchestra backing up the song during that third act bridge-based showdown, but the band were not willing to let it happen.
However, it’s interesting that Mothersbaugh said “maybe on the next film” at the end of his answer. Perhaps, now that Ragnarok has enjoyed a massive opening weekend and impressed the critics, Led Zeppelin will be a little more flexible if Marvel comes knocking once more. Fans will just have to wait and see.
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