Tributes to Led Zeppelin
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Beginning in the 1980s, the iconic nature of many Led Zeppelin riffs made them a popular target for sampling, initially unauthorised, but later sanctioned by the surviving band members, to mixed reactions from fans. Hip-hop group the Beastie Boys sampled two Led Zeppelin songs for their Licensed to Ill album; they used Bonham's drum introduction from "When the Levee Breaks" (which was also used by Mike Oldfield and Erasure) for the song "Rhymin' and Stealin'", and parts of "The Ocean" for "She's Crafty".
List of Led Zeppelin cover song performances and recordings
- Sandie Shaw covered "Your Time Is Gonna Come" in 1969 for her controversial album Reviewing the Situation, and she also covered songs originally by The Rolling Stones, Donovan, and Bob Dylan to name a few.
- An instrumental version of "Whole Lotta Love" by C. C. S. reached the UK singles chart in 1970, and was used as the theme music for the BBC's chart show Top of the Pops for most of the 1970s, and, in a remixed version, between 1998 and 2003.
- Tina Turner released "Whole Lotta Love" as a single in 1975.
- Beginning in 1985, American stand-up comedian Wayne Federman included the main riff plus the solo from "Whole Lotta Love" and "Heartbreaker" in a medley of hard rock tunes played on his ukulele (through a Marshall amplifier). A version can be seen on Comedy Central.
- Jeff Buckley has performed "Kashmir" Live at L'Olympia.
- Little Roger and the Goosebumps released a single called "Stairway to Gilligan's Island" in 1978. The song puts the words to the theme of the television show Gilligan's Island to an adapted and condensed "Stairway to Heaven". This song became popular, especially through heavy play (and many listener requests) on the Dr. Demento Radio Show. Legal action by representatives of Led Zeppelin soon followed, and the single was withdrawn from sale. Many Led Zeppelin tribute bands perform the song.
- Nirvana performed a sloppy rendition of "Heartbreaker" in 1987 during the first live performance under the Nirvana name.
- Soundgarden covered hits such as "Stairway to Heaven" and "Communication Breakdown" during tours in the early 1990s.
- Iron Maiden released a cover of the song "Communication Breakdown" on their single "Bring Your Daughter... to the Slaughter", released on December 24, 1990.
- A cappella group The Bobs included "Whole Lotta Love" on their 1991 album 'The Bobs Sing the Songs Of...
- Frank Zappa covered "Stairway to Heaven" during live performances. One version, featuring a note-for-note copy of Page's guitar solo played by the horn section, can be found on the 1991 live album The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life.
- The New York hardcore/metalcore band Judge recorded a version of "When the Levee breaks", originally released on the CD version of their 1991 EP, There Will Be Quiet.
- A riff from "No Quarter" is used in Sublime's version of The Toyes' "Smoke Two Joints", on Sublime's 1992 album, 40 Oz. to Freedom.
- In 1993, Rolf Harris recorded a cover version of "Stairway to Heaven" which reached No.7 in the UK charts. Not long afterwards, an album called Stairways to Heaven was released, featuring Australian artists' interpretations of the classic song.
- "Immigrant Song" was covered by Infectious Grooves (a funk metal side project of Suicidal Tendencies) in 1993.
- Louisiana's Crowbar covered "No Quarter" on their second album, also called Crowbar, released on October 12, 1993.
- Ofra Haza recorded a version of "Kashmir", which appeared on her 1994 single, "Mata Hari".
- Dream Theater recorded a live performance (at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, England, on January 31, 1995) of "The Rover", "Achilles Last Stand" and "The Song Remains the Same", combined into a medley. The recording features on their album A Change of Seasons.
- In 1995, a tribute album entitled Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin was released. The album featured covers performed by modern rock acts, including a hit version of "Dancing Days" by Stone Temple Pilots. Robert Plant sang on the album, duetting with Tori Amos on "Down by the Seaside".
- In 1997, the London Philharmonic Orchestra released Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin, an orchestral tribute to Led Zeppelin scored and arranged by Jaz Coleman and Youth of Killing Joke, including versions of "When the Levee Breaks", "Kashmir" and "Stairway to Heaven".
- In 1999, Great White released a tribute album called Great Zeppelin: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin which they recorded live in December 1996 at the Galaxy in Santa Ana, California. The album contains fourteen tracks, including "Stairway to Heaven".
- Incubus performed a cover of "Immigrant Song" live on The Howard Stern Show on October 24, 2001, with Howard Stern trying to emulate Robert Plant's signature high note.
- The rock/comedy duo Tenacious D used pieces of "Stairway to Heaven" in the original version of their song "Tribute".
- Tool covered "No Quarter" for the soundtrack of the 1997 film Private Parts, but withdrew from the project. Their version was released in 2000, on the Salival box set.
- Fuel covered "Going to California" as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of the album, Something Like Human.
- On November 7, 2003, Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy put together a one-off cover band to perform at the Montreal Drum Festival. The band, called "Hammer of the Gods", included Portnoy on drums, Mr. Big's Paul Gilbert on guitar, Dixie Dregs' Dave LaRue on bass and Pain of Salvation's Daniel Gildenlöw on vocals. All members dressed in attire imitating Led Zeppelin's members. A recording of the performance is available on both CD and DVD through Portnoy's website.
- A Perfect Circle, recorded "When the Levee Breaks" for their eMOTIVe album in 2004. However, this version was a cover version of Memphis Minnie/Kansas Joe McCoy's song, not Led Zeppelin's altered version.
- Coheed and Cambria's 2005 album Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness included a hidden track called "Bron-Y-Aur" after Led Zeppelin's song of the same name from Physical Graffiti.
- Muse have sampled the riff from "Heartbreaker" when playing live.
- 2pac sampled the riff from "Ten Years Gone" on the unreleased original version of "Life's So Hard" which was recorded in 1994 during the making of his album Me Against The World.
- The 2CD edition of the W.A.S.P. concept album The Crimson Idol contains a live version of "When the levee Breaks".
- Prince often plays "Whole Lotta Love" with his band on tour, and his 1985 hit "Raspberry Beret" contains the line "she walked in through the out door, out door..."
- Heart covered "Rock & Roll" in their 1980 album Greatest Hits Live. They also released a live version of "Stairway to Heaven" on one of their remastered CD albums.
- Phish has performed covers of "Good Times, Bad Times," "Dazed and Confused," "Communication Breakdown," "Misty Mountain Hop," "Moby Dick," and "Ramble On."
- "Weird Al" Yankovic used the guitar part from "Black Dog" in his parody of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" called "Trapped in the Drive-Thru".
- Wolfmother performed a cover of "Communication Breakdown" at the 2006 UK Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Led Zeppelin tribute bands
WHOLE LOTTA LED, originate from Gloucestershire, UK and are the longest running full-time professional tribute to Led Zeppelin. Originally formed as ‘No Quarter’ in 1993, the band changed their name to WHOLE LOTTA LED in 1996. Original band members Nick Ferris (Guitar),and Geoff Hunt (Bass & Mandolin) were joined by Lee Pryor (Vocals), David Wykeham-George (Keyboard), and Charlie Hart (Drums) in 2012.
During their eighteen year career WHOLE LOTTA LED have performed 9 UK tours, and they have also performed the albums Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin IV and Houses Of The Holy in their entirety. Since then numerous bands have followed this format.
The band have also been active in raising funds for The ABC Trust, a charity founded by Jimmy Page's wife to help under privileged children in Brazil, the involvement with the charity eventually led to a meeting with Led Zeppelin's legendary guitarist Jimmy Page who has given the band his blessing and wished them all the best.
Bustle in your hedgerow is the instrumental quartet performing Led Zeppelin music based out of New York City. The band includes Dave Dreiwitz of Ween, Marco Benevento and Joe Russo of The Benevento/Russo Duo and Scott Metzger of RANA.
Fred Zeppelin is a tribute band to Led Zeppelin based in the original band's heartland of the West Midlands of England. Drummer Steve 'Blackie' Black also heads Midland talent agency and music organisation Moby Music- named after Led Zeppelin's drum solo "Moby Dick".
Although not endorsed or formally linked to Fred Zeppelin, or any of its associates or companies, it arguably has been the most supported by individual band members and their families. Robert Plant has been to see them four times and for some time, his quotation about them 'Accept no substitute' appeared on their flyers. Jason Bonham has also drummed with them in a one-off cameo encore appearance; his late uncle Mick Bonham used to introduce their shows in the family hometown of Redditch. Formed in 1993 by drummer Steve Black, bassist Kevin Brown, and guitarist Keith Jenkins out of a genuine love for the music of Led Zeppelin. The aim of the band was to reproduce, note-for-note the music of the original band, and not to dress up in the manner of an embarrassing "Stars in Their Eyes" cabaret act. Originally employing vocalist Rob Bloomer the band generated a loyal Midlands following - no surprise being the Zeppelin heartland. After Rob's departure in 1995, Steven Gale was hired to fill vocal duties. Bassist Kevin Brown left the group in 2010, and was replaced by Elliot Gavin. In October 2013, Keith Jenkins left the band, Elliot Gavin switched to being lead guitarist, with Mark Cresswell being recruited as the new bass guitarist. The band play numbers from every Zeppelin album, and include an acoustic set in their repertoire. With such a volume of great music to draw upon the Fredz pride themselves in never playing the same set twice in a row.
Other Led Zeppelin tribute bands include Swan Song - A Tribute to Led Zeppelin, Led Zepplica and Dread Zeppelin, a band that performs Led Zeppelin covers in a reggae style with an Elvis Presley impersonator on vocals. Robert Plant has publicly stated that Dread Zeppelin is his favorite Led Zeppelin cover band.
- Austin, Macauley. (April 5, 2002) The Sentinel (Staffordshire) Drawing tribute from masters Steven Gale from Fred Zeppelin Tribute band Fred Zeppelin have more reason than most to believe they are doing their heroes justice. Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant has been to see them not just once, but three times, even. Page 73.
- Derby Evening Telegraph (September 30, 2005) Plant pays tribute to the freds. Page 40.
- Fred zeppelin? We whole lotta loved it. Page 54. Tamworth Herald. March 29, 2007.
- Fred Zeppelin At The Public. Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. Retrieved 2009-02-02