Led Zeppelin's fourth album turns forty-two years old today, and one of the easiest ways to measure the impact the record has had is to look at the long list of artists who have covered its songs over the years. We've gathered some of our favorite takes on each track for an alternative tour through perhaps the most legendary rock album ever:
Can you imagine any other band whose music is so strongly identifiable, and yet as malleable, as to provide the foundation for an Elvis-fronted reggae version cover band's career for over 20 years, as Led Zeppelin has done for Dread Zeppelin? By the way, if you think these guys are some kind of joke, you clearly haven't witnessed their surprising musicality in person.
When Sammy Hagar first joined Van Halen, the band was careful not to play very many songs from the David Lee Roth era at their concerts. Luckily, they found a pretty awesome cover song to perform instead.
'The Battle of Evermore'The Lovemongers
Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart could probably fill this list all by themselves -- they're well known for their love of Zeppelin, often starting their own shows with 'Rock and Roll.' Here they are operating under the banner of their side project Lovemongers, with a suitably epic reading of 'The Battle of Evermore.'
'Stairway to Heaven'Frank Zappa
The legendary Frank Zappa was known for skipping across a broad range of genres, from rock to jazz to classical, with both a high level of skill and an undeniably unique point of view. He's the kind of guy who might, for example, have a horn section take on Jimmy Page's famous 'Stairway' guitar solo, as he did on his 1988 tour.
'Misty Mountain Hop'4 Non Blondes
Linda Perry, formerly of 4 Non Blondes (remember 'What's Up?') and now a hit making songwriter to pop stars such as Pink and Gwen Stefani, has always been a vocal Zeppelin fan. You can hear her love clearly in how faithfully her and the band perform 'Misty Mountain Hop.'
'Four Sticks'Rollins Band
The exotic, layered and somewhat delicate rhythms of 'Four Sticks' wouldn't seem to be a natural stomping ground for the primal punk rock of the Rollins Band, but damn if they totally don't totally nail the music and find a new urgency in the song's lyrics here.
'Going to California'Zakk Wylde
Ozzy Osbourne's longtime guitarist, he of the big beard and leather coats and fearsome riffs, shows off a more gentle side with his version of this tender folk song.
'When the Levee Breaks'Down
The hard rock supergroup, featuring Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, delivered a supercharged and sludgy version of 'IV''s closing song when they visited the BBC a few years back. Extra props to Jimmy Bower for taking on one of the most famous drum beats in musical history.