‘Led Zeppelin’ Re-Imagined: Hear Every Song As Performed by Other Artists
When Led Zeppelin released their debut album on Jan. 12, 1969, it was critically lambasted, most famously by Rolling Stone. However, the record-buying public disagreed, and history has since been kind, acknowledging it as a classic and a blueprint for nearly all hard rock that came in its wake. In its honor, we’ve put together this feature of other versions of its nine songs, which include covers and the original takes from which Led Zeppelin drew their inspiration.
‘Good Times Bad Times’
Like most tribute albums, 1995’s ‘Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin’ was a hit-or-miss affair, with a collection of alternative bands performing Zeppelin favorites. Cracker’s faithful take on ‘Good Times Bad Times’ was a highlight.
‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’
Originally written by Anne Bredon in the '50s, Led Zeppelin heard it first from Joan Baez on her ‘Joan Baez in Concert, Part 1’ album. But four years before they cut it, pop stars the Association (‘Cherish,’ ‘Never My Love’) recorded their own version, complete with their trademark group harmonies.
‘You Shook Me”
Muddy Waters recorded ‘You Shook Me’ in 1962, overdubbing his voice onto an Earl Hooker song from the previous year called ‘Blue Guitar.’ Willie Dixon, who wrote the tune, recorded his own version on 1970’s ‘I Am the Blues,’ which contained many of his compositions that were brought to white audience through bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.
A monolith in the Zeppelin catalog, ‘Dazed and Confused’ is one of the toughest songs to cover. And even though Metallica has performed it, we’re partial to this live rave-up by Van Halen from Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Well, until it unexpectedly breaks down nearly four minutes in.
‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’
Sandie Shaw was, along with Dusty Springfield and Petula Clark, on of Britain’s most successful pop singers of the ’60s. It’s believed that her cover of ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come,’ which appears on 1969’s ‘Reviewing the Situation,’ was the first cover of a Led Zeppelin song.
‘Black Mountain Side’
Jimmy Page’s Indian-influenced instrumental was adopted from a traditional Irish folk song called ‘Down by Blackwaterside.’ Page knew it from Bert Jansch, who recorded it as ‘Blackwaterside’ on his 1966 album ‘Jack Onion,’ a year before he formed the seminal British folk-rock band Pentangle.
No stranger to slammin’ riffs, Iron Maiden released a faithful cover of ‘Communication Breakdown’ in 1990 as a b-side to the charmingly titled ‘Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter.’ The single, which turned out to be Maiden’s only song to top the U.K. singles chart, also featured a cover of Free’s ‘I’m a Mover.’
‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’
Another Willie Dixon song, ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ was first recorded by Otis Rush in 1956 and has since become a blues standard. We like this version, where B.B. King and Buddy Guy trade guitar licks back and forth.
‘How Many More Times’
Since releasing their debut in 2012, Alabama Shakes have become one of the most acclaimed indie bands around thanks to their live shows and their blues-rock sound, powered by the vocals of Brittany Howard. They recorded this cover for NPR’s World Cafe program.