There have been thousands of bands over the years that have attempted to cover Led Zeppelin songs. How could there not be. In our opinion, which is an opinion shared by millions, Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock band of all time. Some would argue the Rolling Stones,(the Beatles are in their own league as songwriters) but we will always stand in the corner of Zep. Nonetheless, most bands that have attempted to cover Led Zeppelin never, never come close to the original. Robert Plant’s vocals that he laid down in the late 1960s and 1970s are legendary performances that can never be repeated by anyone. Not even himself. Of course there has never been a drummer that sounded like John Bonham and a guitar player who composed and played riffs in the studio like Jimmy Page. They were a once in a lifetime band that even the band members knew they couldn’t duplicate ever again outside of their glory days after the passing of John Bonham.
Most artists fail miserably when they cover Led Zeppelin songs. Of course there are some exceptions. We could listen to Chris Cornell sing “Thank You,” over and over again. Ann Wilson of Heart always blew us away singing “Rock and Roll,” and “Misty Mountain Hop,” with sister Nancy. Yet, we are talking about Chris Cornell and Ann Wilson who were and are two of and rock roll’s greatest lead vocalists of all time. And that’s why it worked for them because they were just being Chris Cornell and Ann Wilson. It’s that same concept that was successful for those two that works in such magnificent fashion for Beth Hart on this new Led Zeppelin covers album entitled A Tribute To Led Zeppelin.
Any old time Led Zeppelin fans knows quite well that at the heart of Led Zeppelin’s music was the blues. The band’s musical spirit was always taken from the blues as they took those concepts and came up with their own unique spins on the music of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and so forth. It was genius, and completely original the way they did it and they were often sued many times because of it. In the end, they were just being themselves as the combination of each member’s talents and inspirations formed a sound that stands alone in classic rock history.
Beth Hart’s tribute to Led Zeppelin works so well for two reason. At the heart of Beth Hart’s soul and spits is also the blues. It’s not blues in the traditional way of an Elmore James or an Etta James, it’s blues in the spirit of heavy rock and roll. Anyone who is a Beth Hart fan already understands that about her. She has always been a rocker with a hardened blues voices filled with incredible passion. In many ways just like Robert Plant. It’s the hardened blues soul that stands as reason number one why the Led Zeppelin tribute album is a triumph.
The second reason and the most important one is that Beth Hart doesn’t try to imitate Robert Plant. Beth Hart sings simply just like Beth Hart. It’s as genuine as it gets. As much as Beth Hart sounds like she is just being Beth Hart, there are times when the listener will do a double take thinking it’s Robert Plant. That is especially true on the album opener “Whole Lotta Love.” It’s probably why they placed that song as the opening track. She has been covering the song for many years. However, the version she recorded for the Led Zeppelin tribute album is just jaw dropping.
The album featured the guitar players Tim Pierce and Rob Cavallo. The latter produced the album and it’s in his liner notes where he projects the humility that went into the making of the album. These musicians understood the royalty associated with Led Zeppelin songs. These are pieces of music that should not be altered just for the fun of it. Your missing the point of the music and importance of Led Zeppelin if you start to think that one can arrange it differently. Rob Cavallo keeps the band true to the original arrangements for the most part. There are some exceptions especially when they combine “No Quarter,” and “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” into one track. That particular arrangement and performance by Beth Hart stands as one of the highlights of the album.
There are songs that work better than others.We have our favorites like “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Crunge,” (killer) and Beth Hart’s stirring performance of of “The Rain Song.” Even “Stairway to Heaven,” works really well on the record.
We purchased the double LP release of the album. The record company spread twelve songs over four sides. Its was a great decision because sonically the album is outstanding from an audio perspective as the vinyl grooves are nice and wide for each song. We could not stop playing because it just sounded so great coming out of our old JBL speakers from the 1970s that still work.
This is an album we think all Led Zeppelin fans will really enjoy simply for that fact that Beth Hart sings her heart out as usual in pure blues infused passionate fashion. Its as genuine as it gets and probably the most joy we have ever had listening to someone else sing Led Zeppelin songs besides Robert Plant……..and Chris Cornell.
Get the vinyl release, it will blow you mind.
1. Whole Lotta Love
3. Stairway To Heaven
4. The Crunge
5. Dancing Days / When The Levee Breaks (Medley)
6. Black Dog
7. No Quarter / Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Medley)
8. Good Times Bad Times
9. The Rain Song
Beth Hart Covers Led Zeppelin Brilliantly On New Zep Cover LP article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.