Led Zeppelin Supply the Big Groove for ‘The Big Short’ Trailer
The upcoming movie The Big Short tackles a powerful and jarring moment in U.S. financial history, so a powerful and jarring musical accompaniment is definitely needed for its trailer. Enter Led Zeppelin and the powerhouse drive of their classic "When The Levee Breaks."
The film, which will be released in December, is based on the bestselling 2010 book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, which looks at the build-up and ultimate bursting of the housing and credit bubbles from the early '00s. Christian Bale, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell play a group of outsiders that take advantage of the impending collapse by betting against the banks and, as one character says, to "profit off of their stupidity."
The tale of this modern-day financial disaster is a powerful one, as is the use of the classic Zeppelin recording in the trailer. Once John Bonham's drums come thundering in, the 44-year-old song sounds as fresh as ever, surging as a perfect backdrop. The track originally appeared on the band's benchmark fourth LP back in 1971, though it's origins date back to the '20s, when it was first recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie.
Led Zeppelin took the blues song and reworked it for contemporary audiences, even though they gave credit to Memphis Minnie. The song's iconic drum intro was famously sampled by the Beastie Boys on "Rhymin & Stealin" from their 1986 debut, Licensed to Ill.
Cynics have scoffed over the years that all Zeppelin did was copy old blues tunes and rewrote their own songs from them. Another assessment might be that they were simply honoring the blues tradition of taking a song, changing it up a bit and adapting it into their own vision -- the way songs were passed down from one person to another in the old days. The main difference is that Zeppelin raked in some big cash for their records. Regardless, the band's performance of the song has stood the test of time.
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