Our 9 Classic Rock Bands That Did The Best Led Zeppelin Covers article takes a look at well-established classic rock bands and artists that frequently covered Led Zeppelin songs in concert. Many of these bands released their cover versions of Led Zeppelin songs on live albums or as bonus tracks of CD reissues of previous albums. Many of these groups also released their Led Zeppelin covers as part of box sets or compilations. Led Zeppelin sells big time. Record companies know that. They are always willing to release Led Zeppelin cover versions if they can get permission to do so. Nonetheless, this article will focus on bands that did not just cover a Led Zeppelin song one time but played Led Zeppelin songs multiple times in concert. It will also cover bands that released full-length Led Zeppelin cover albums which is pretty much the ultimate tribute, especially for an established original band. It’s a pretty courageous thing to do.
Led Zeppelin is one of the most unique-sounding bands in classic rock history. Robert Plant can arguably be defined as the greatest rock singer of all time. Many fans would vote for Jimmy Page as the most spectacular rock guitarist in history. And I don’t care what anybody says, John Bonham had a sound that no one has ever been able to match. Add John Paul Jones to the mix and we have simply the greatest rock band in history. A band that inspired just about every rock musician who came of age in the 1970s and beyond.
Our criteria for this list came down to three factors. The bands had to either do killer versions of Led Zeppelin songs that sounded very close to the original sound or bring an entirely new perspective to the songs that were enjoyable and interesting to listen to. There are thousands of bands who have covered Led Zeppelin songs. The ones below are the groups and artists we think did it the best or at least the most interesting.
# 9 – Dread Zeppelin
We open up this Classic Rock Bands That Did The Best Led Zeppelin Covers list focusing on the most interesting aspect of our criteria for choosing. It probably does not get more original than a band who came up with the idea to do Led Zeppelin covers with a reggae groove sung in the style of Elvis Presley. On paper, it looks ridiculous. However, these guys really pulled it off and it was quite good. Dread Zeppelin released a lot of albums and went through many personal changes. Many rock stars really like these guys because they are so incredibly original. Even Robert Plant said he enjoyed the band’s cover version of “Your Time Is Gonna Come,” which was incredible.
The band’s first album entitled Un-Led-Ed was completely dedicated to Led Zeppelin remakes. Their subsequent albums went beyond just Led Zeppelin covers. If you want to check this band out we highly recommend the Un-Led-Ed cd.
This is so brilliant…………..
# 8 – Alice In Chains
Alice In Chains is the first of multiple rock bands that came out of the grunge era and did great Led Zeppelin covers. It’s really telling how many grunge-era bands did Led Zeppelin covers. These were musicians who were born in the 1970s and were clearly inspired by Led Zeppelin and paid their respects often to Plant, Page, Bonham, and Jones. One of the things that many of these grunge-era bands had in common was they were all fronted by great lead singers who were surrounded by virtuoso musicians. Alice in Chains has played Led Zeppelin songs multiple times in concert. Check out this incredible version of “Kashmir,” below.
# 7 – Chris Cornell
This one is hard to write about because, man do we miss Chris Cornell. He was the one rock singer whose band we always felt was the greatest new group we had heard since the breakup of Led Zeppelin. They channeled Led Zeppelin while developing their own sound that was perfect for the time period they came of age. 70s rock fans loved them while 90s teens called them their own. On “Thank You,” a song that Chris Cornell covered all the time, he holds back a little, but when he gets to the line “together we will run until we die,” it’s just simply chilling.
# 6 – Foo Fighters
The Foo Fighters have covered Led Zeppelin songs often in their sets. However, there’s nothing like covering a Led Zeppelin song when you have half of the real Led Zeppelin sitting in. Check out this unbelievable performance by the Foo Fighters with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones at Wembley Stadium. One of those golden kind of awkward, but what the hell moments.
# 5 – Great White
Great White the band, sounded nothing like Led Zeppelin until they did Led Zeppelin songs. When they did, it was impressive. Jack Russell may very well be one of the most underrated lead singers of all time. The guy could sing his heart out. He sounded exactly like Robert Plant when he did a Led Zeppelin song. When some singers cover Robert Plant it just sounds contrived. With Jack Russell, it was all natural. Great White released a great Led Zeppelin cover album entitled Great Zeppelin: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin in 1998. The album was reissued in 2005 under a different name titled Great White Salutes Led Zeppelin.
# 4 – The Black Crowes
Well, I guess while we are on the topic of classic rock bands enjoying the presence of former Led Zeppelin members, we should turn to the great Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes tour. It’s pretty genuine because it just sounds like the Black Crowes playing Led Zeppelin songs with Jimmy Page on guitar. It’s as simple as that. And it’s also freaking fantastic.
# 3 – Heart
It’s no surprise to fans of Heart, that the band was heavily inspired by Led Zeppelin. Both sisters paid tribute to the band over the years through their superior musicianship. Ann Wilson’s Hall Of Fame vocals and Nancy’s great guitar playing always echoed Led Zeppelin in a very original way. The band has covered Led Zeppelin songs all throughout their career. And they have always made them their own.
# 2 – Zebra
The great band Zebra from New Orleans, who made Long Island, New York their home in the 1970s, started out as an incredible Led Zeppelin cover band. I saw them many times and they did Led Zeppelin covers better than anyone I had ever seen in the clubs. The group also composed excellent originals and signed with Atlantic Records in the early 1980s. They released a series of great original rock albums. Listen to how great they played Led Zeppelin.
# 1 – The Circle
Sammy Hagar is one of Classic Rocks’ great journeyman singers. Having been the lead singer of Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot, The Circle, and a well-established solo career, Sammy Hagar has proved one thing very well…….he can sing anything. With The Circle, he tears up Led Zeppelin. With John Bonham’s son Jason on drums, Sammy’s ex-Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony on bass, and the very underrated Vic Johnson on guitar, The Circle stands as our favorite band of all time to play Led Zeppelin. This is an all-star lineup of talent knocking it out of the park.
Updated October 18, 2023
9 Classic Rock Bands That Did Great Led Zeppelin Covers article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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