Watch Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones Play ‘When the Levee Breaks’
John Paul Jones appears in a new Playing for Change music video, performing Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" alongside 17 musicians from around the world. Each artist recorded their parts remotely.
The video also features appearances from guitarists Derek Trucks and Buffalo Nichols, drummer Stephen Perkins, harmonica player Ben Lee, singer Susan Tedeschi, singer Elle Marja Eira, slide guitarist Keith Secola and vocalist Mihirangi.
You can watch the clip below.
All proceeds from the song will go toward various environmental organizations and philanthropic efforts, including Conservation International, American Rivers, WWF, Reverb and the Playing for Change Foundation.
“Looking at ‘When the Levee Breaks’ through the lens of producing a song to raise awareness for key environmental organizations truly felt like a plea for climate justice,” co-producer Sebastian Robertson, son of the Band's Robbie Robertson, said in a statement (via Rolling Stone). “The wailing guitars, harmonica and vocals all in harmony for Mother Earth.”
“It’s a great cause, and I really liked what Sebastian and the team are doing,” Jones told Rolling Stone. “The videos are all so well put together and a joy to watch.”
"When the Levee Breaks" was released by Led Zeppelin in 1971 on the band's fourth album, but the song was written in 1929 and recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie. It was based on a real-life catastrophe, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more. “It seems that little has changed since 1927 or even 2005 with [Hurricane] Katrina,” Jones noted. “It’s still a really powerful track, both musically and lyrically.”
Jones recorded his bass part for the new recording at the Royal Botanic Gardens in England, with the rest of the video's musicians contributing pieces from their respective locations around the globe.
“It’s always interesting to hear what other musicians do with a piece,” Jones said. “Obviously I had no idea what the other parts would sound like as we each recorded remotely, so it was a real thrill when I finally got to see and hear all of these incredibly talented musicians in the finished video.”