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Perhaps the biggest hard rock band of all time is Led Zeppelin, and not without reason. Not only is “Stairway to Heaven” a masterpiece, but nearly every song on the first four or five albums is perfectly put together (even if they were not all written by the band). For these lists, I’ve made three sections. First we have other projects of the members of Led Zeppelin. Second we have artists that sound like they were inspired by Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham. And in many cases, they were. Finally, tribute albums to one of the greatest classic hard rock bands in history.
Zeppelin members’ other projects
- Lead singer Robert Plant has released numerous solo albums; the most recent is 2017’s Carry Fire. He also collaborated with Zep-mate Jimmy Page and classic rock guitarist Jeff Beck in 1984 on The Honeydrippers, Volume One. In 1994, he joined Jimmy Page for an MTV special and released No Quarter, followed by Walking Into Clarksdale in 1998. In 2007, Plant teamed up with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss for Raising Sand.
- Guitarist Jimmy Page’s post-Zeppelin output is not as straightforward as Plant’s. He started by recording the soundtrack for Death Wish II, but that one is going to cost you a pretty penny as it is no longer in print. His only non-soundtrack solo album, Outrider, did not perform well. One other soundtrack was recorded for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising, but is not currently available unless you want to drop nearly $400 on the vinyl. In 1985, Page contributed to Roy Harper’s Whatever Happened to Jugula? 1985 also saw the self-titled debut of The Firm, a supergroup featuring Page, Bad Company/Free vocalist Paul Rodgers, bass extraordinaire Tony Franklin, and then-future-AC/DC drummer Chris Slade. A follow-up record was release by The Firm in 1986, Mean Business. In 1999, the guitarist joined the Black Crowes for two shows; most of those recordings were released in 2000 under the title Live At the Greek, but singer Chris Robinson was not enthused about the performance.
- Bassist John Paul Jones wrote the soundtrack for the movie Scream For Help, which also includes contributions from Page and Yes vocalist Jon Anderson. In 1994 he appeared on the album The Sporting Life with Diamanda Galas. Jones has also released two solo albums, Zooma (1999) and The Thunderthief. In 2009, Jones joined a supergroup with Josh Homme and Dave Grohl; unfortunately only one album has been released, the self-titled Them Crooked Vultures. Lastly, Jones contributed to two records released by the band Seasick Steve, You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks and Hubcap Music.
Artists that sound an awful lot like Led Zeppelin
- Greta Van Fleet is the band getting a lot of attention right now, as they should. They have taken the rock world by storm and don’t appear to be slowing down. From the Fires was released last November, and Anthem of the Peaceful Army had an October release this year. Watch this band closely as their star is still on the rise.
- Rival Sons have been around for several years, but is just now starting to gain some traction in the mainstream. You may have heard “Do Your Worst” from the soon-to-be-released Feral Roots on the radio, but the title track from 2011’s Pressure and Time really exhibits the Zeppelin connection.
- Wolfmother‘s debut over a decade ago exploded on the scene, but then the band imploded. Three more albums have been released since the debut, but none have sold as well.
- Zebra gigged for years playing Zeppelin songs before releasing their self-titled debut in 1983, and while there are some enduring classics on the record, it is not a cover-to-cover masterpiece like most of Zep’s catalog.
- Kingdom Come is often cited as a hair metal version of Led Zeppelin, and Lenny Wolf’s vocals were certainly reminiscent of Robert Plant. The songwriting isn’t going to land them in the Rock Hall, but Kingdom Come has proven to be popular enough to release thirteen albums since 1988.
- Whitesnake may be the most all-around Zeppelin sound-alike. David Coverdale’s vocals are spot-on. Whoever is playing guitar, be it John Sykes or Steve Vai or Doug Aldrich, does a great job laying down some Jimmy Page-like riffs.
- Coverdale/Page may have been a slap in Robert Plant’s face for refusing to do a Zeppelin reunion in the early ’90s. Guitarist Jimmy Page recruited David Coverdale, one of the most Robert Plant-ish singers around, to record an album of new tracks. The band probably would have lasted more than just one album had Page been able to convince John Paul Jones or Jason Bonham to participate.
- Speaking of Jason Bonham, he had a band in the late ’80s and early ’90s called Bonham featuring a Robert Plant clone, Daniel MacMaster, on vocals. Their most popular (and most Zeppelinish) song was “Wait For You” from 1989’s The Disregard of Timekeeping.
- In the Name of My Father: The Zepset (Live from Electric Ladyland) by the Jason Bonham Band
- Un-Led-Ed, 5,000,000*, It’s Not Unusual and other releases by Dread Zeppelin
- Great Zeppelin: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin by Great White
- Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin featuring performances by 4 Non Blondes, Hootie and the Blowfish, Sheryl Crow, Stone Temple Pilots, Big Head Todd And The Monsters, Duran Duran, Blind Melon, Cracker, Helmet With David Yow, Rollins Band, Never The Bride, and Robert Plant & Tori Amos
- No Quarter: An All-Star Tribute to Led Zeppelin featuring Dweezil Zappa, Walter Trout, Pat Travers, Rick Derringer and members of Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Great White, Wet Willie, Nazareth, Toto, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Warrant, and Foreigner
- World’s Greatest Metal Tribute to Led Zeppelin featuring members of Iron Maiden, Candlebox, Slaughter, Cinderella, L.A. Guns, Quiet Riot, Faster Pussyct, Warrant, Bang Tango, Mötley Crüe, Love/Hate, BulletBoys, Hurricane, Kix, and Great White
- A Tribute To Led Zeppelin: Livin, Lovin, Played featuring acoustic renditions by female singers Nikki Boyer, Patricia Maertens, Aya Peard, Leslie King, Katherine Ramirez, Terra Gold, Melissa Quade, Kirsten Laiken, Kimberly Bosso, Lisa Ferguson, Tracy McMillan, and Mor Koren
- Songs of Led Zeppelin All Blues’d Up (This Ain’t No Tribute Series) featuring Eric Gales, Matt Tutor, Derek Trucks, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Billy Branch, James Cotton, Chris Thomas King, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Joe Louis Walker, Otis Clay, Carl Weathersby, and Robert Lockwood Jr.
- Pickin’ On Zeppelin featuring bluegrass performances by Dennis Caplinger and Mark Thornton
- The String Quartet Tribute to Led Zeppelin
- Dub Tribute to Led Zeppelin
There has never been and never will be a hard rock band like Led Zeppelin. Many have tried to imitate the thunderous sound, but none have accomplished the feat for more than a handful of songs. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and John Bonham combined for such a creative powerhouse that they are still revered today, more than four decades after their formation.
This is the Led Zeppelin edition of JT’s Ultimate Mixtape. If you have missed our previous installments, there are some rules that make this more of a challenge than you might think. It’s not simply a collection of greatest hits or favorite songs.
- Every studio album must be represented by one and only one song. Led Zeppelin has made this rule more of a challenge than any other band.
- That song does not have to be an official “single” released by the band to promote said album.
- Compilation albums can be included, but only songs that are new, previously unreleased, or remixes of songs from prior albums are eligible for the list.
- Live albums are a waste of time. There are exceptions to this rule, and the concert recordings of Led Zeppelin allow us to sneak in a few songs that were knocked out of consideration by rule #1.
Click play on this video, then start reviewing my selections for this Ultimate Mixtape:
JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Led Zeppelin edition…
“Dazed and Confused” (Led Zeppelin, 1969)
“Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin II, 1969)
“Gallows Pole” (Led Zeppelin III, 1970)
“Stairway to Heaven” (Led Zeppelin IV, 1971)
“Over the Hills and Far Away” (Houses Of The Holy, 1973)
“In The Light” (Physical Graffiti, 1975)
“Nobody’s Fault but Mine” (Presence, 1976)
“Rock and Roll” (The Song Remains The Same, 1976)
“In The Evening” (In Through the Out Door, 1979)
“Ozone Baby” (Coda, 1982)
“The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair” (BBC Sessions, 1997)
“What Is and What Should Never Be” (How The West Was Won, 2003)
“Good Times Bad Times” (Celebration Day, 2012)
Every “Ultimate Mixtape” needs some bonus tracks. The surviving members of Led Zeppelin went on to release solo albums and collaborated with others in supergroups. Before the death of John Bonham, he participated in several session recordings. This is just a small sampling of the members’ works outside the group.
Lulu (feat. Bonham) “Everybody’s Got To Clap” (single, 1971)
Wings (feat. Jones & Bonham) “Rockestra Theme” (Back To The Egg, 1979)
Robert Plant “In The Mood” (The Principle of Moments, 1983)
The Honeydrippers (with Plant) “Rockin’ at Midnight” (Volume One, 1984)
The Firm (with Page) “Radioactive” (The Firm, 1985)
John Paul Jones “Crackback” (Scream for Help, 1985)
Jimmy Page “Wasting My Time” (Outrider, 1988)
Coverdale/Page “Shake My Tree” (Coverdale / Page, 1993)
Page & Plant “The Battle of Evermore” (No Quarter, 1994)
Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes “Mellow Down Easy” (Live at the Greek, 2000)
Foo Fighters (feat. Page & Jones) “Ramble On” (Live At Wembley Stadium, 2008)
Them Crooked Vultures (with Jones) “Gunman” (Them Crooked Vultures, 2009)
Seasick Steve (with Jones) “Keep On Keepin’ On” (Hubcap Music, 2013)
Diversity was a key aspect of Led Zeppelin, and even after the band dissolved, diversity continued among the members’ solo works. Use your time wisely this February, purchase some Zep and crank it.
In 1969 Led Zeppelin burst on to the scene with some of the loudest blues rock around. There is not a single not-awesome song on their debut album, and their renditions of Willie Dixon’s “You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby” are insanely good.
If Topps made music trading cards in 1969, which set of “Rookie Stars” would be worth more today? Plant & Jones, or Page & Bonham. Plant has sustained his career much better than Page, but Bonham’s early demise might have driven up the price of his card in the 1980s rookie card craze.
Watch the band perform “Dazed and Confused” in 1969: