Looking at Led Zeppelin through the lens of other artists

Led Zeppelin is one of the most revered rock bands of all time. If you thought everyone went bananas when three of the original members of Guns N’ Roses got back together, can you imagine how much everyone would absolutely lose their minds if the three remaining members of Zeppelin were to reconvene?

Should that ever happen again, such an event would almost certainly single-handedly outdraw Desert Trip, the just-announced three-day classic rock extravaganza slated for this fall in Indio, California, featuring almost all of Zep’s contemporaries, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Neil Young and Bob Dylan.

Sure, that’s a lofty statement, but consider the reception that the band received when it reunited nearly a decade ago for one night at O2 Arena in London. The show, which is captured in the 2012 concert film, “Celebration Day,” set a Guinness world record for the Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert, with 20 million requests reportedly submitted. Whether the world ever gets the chance to see something like that again remains to be seen.

In the meantime, while we all pine away for such an occasion, Jason Bonham, the 49-year-old son of the band’s legendary timekeeper, gives fans reason to rejoice with his Led Zeppelin Experience. In this case, “experience” seems to be an entirely fitting handle, as the set comes with a whole bunch of surprises, including home movies and other classic clips, including a section in which Jason matches beats with his dearly departed dad on “Moby Dick.”

Having filled his father’s spot in the lineup several times, including the first reunion in 1988 and that fabled gig in 2007, Bonham clearly has the music of his father’s band coursing through his veins.

And he’s not the only one. The influence of Led Zeppelin is immense, if not immeasurable, and can be heard in the music of countless acts and artists who have followed over the years, every rocker from Lenny Kravitz to Train. It’s even more evident when you hear the convincing

Zeppelin covers those acts and others have turned in over the years.

Here is a collection of some our favorite covers, some of which you’ve probably seen and others, like the first one, that you might not have yet. Check out these choice covers and then head down to the Strip to see Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience on Thursday at Brooklyn Bowl, the same venue that, coincidently, Robert Plant played this time last year with the Sensational Space Shifters.

‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Prince, Aladdin Theatre, 2002

The most compelling cover is also the latest one to be posted online. Clocking in at slightly less than five minutes, the clip — which found its way online after Prince’s death — appears to have been recorded at the Aladdin in Las Vegas in 2002.

It’s not accompanied by any sort of description. We’re guessing that’s because words probably failed the person who posted the footage. Not only does Prince rock the ever-loving hell out of the cut, but he takes the Zeppelin classic to places no one ever imagined.

While there’s a much cleaner audio recording of another rendition recorded sometime that same year that can be found on the web, it’s worth seeking out if only to see Prince shred the solo live.

‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Heart, Kennedy Center Honors, 2012

Anytime the Wilson sisters are together onstage, it’s pretty much guaranteed that they’re going to tear down the house. Likewise, it’s always a treat to hear them take on Zeppelin.

The band does a version of “Battle of Evermore” that’s particularly enjoyable. Here, though, they bested any previous renditions with their tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2012, with Page, Plant and Jones in the audience, Ann and Nancy presented the iconic Zeppelin tune accompanied by Jason Bonham on the skins, with a mini orchestra providing swelling strings and backing vocals from a massive choir.

If by some chance you missed it, it’s every bit as mesmerizing as it sounds.

‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Lenny Kravitz, Kennedy Center Honors, 2012

There were a few other performances that night, but the other one that captured everybody’s attention was Kravitz doing “Whole Lotta Love.”

You know it was good when even he was moved by it, which he clearly was, as evidenced by the description he included on the video posted on his YouTube channel: “I finally received the unedited Led Zeppelin tribute performance from The Kennedy Honors. I really wanted you to see this. It truly was an honor. Love, Lenny.”

‘How Many More Times’ by Alabama Shakes, London 2012

Anybody who’s ever heard the Alabama Shakes already knows that Brittany Howard has a ferocious set of pipes. But this point couldn’t be made any more powerfully or pulverizing than by hearing her and her bandmates just crush it with their version of “How Many More Times.”

This is another tune in which you can find a much cleaner audio recording (search for the band’s World Cafe performance on YouTube), but there’s just something about seeing her sing this one live.

‘Ramble On’ and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Train

While the vintage of this footage is uncertain, whenever it was filmed, Train frontman Pat Monahan was clearly in top form. If you haven’t heard Monahan and company cover Zeppelin, it’s worth dialing up on YouTube. They do the songs justice.

Polarizing pundit Bob Lefsetz wasn’t out of his mind a few years ago when he pointed out that Monahan might make a good replacement should the band ever decide to tour without Plant (something the guys apparently considered at least briefly when John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page got together and jammed with singer Myles Kennedy in 2008).

At a festival in upstate New York next month, Train is slated to perform “Led Zeppelin II,” an album that the outfit is also said to be recording.

‘Kashmir’ by Alice in Chains, Seattle 2007

Another Seattle band does justice to the music of Led Zeppelin with the help of an orchestra. If you haven’t seen it yet, Alice in Chains does a completely killer version of “Kashmir” backed by the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. The clip is taken from a benefit show at Benaroya Hall in Seattle in November 2007.

‘Rock and Roll’ by Van Halen and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by Paul Stanley

These last two clips are worth seeking out mainly because of who’s doing them. The first one features Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen doing “Rock and Roll.” Here Hagar has the range and offers up a respectable rendition, while Eddie Van Halen runs Page’s riffs through the ringer, adding the kind of flair that only he can. The other footage features Paul Stanley in full makeup pulling off a surprisingly soulful rendition of “Whole Lotta Love.”

Read more from Dave Herrera at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at dherrera@reviewjournal.com and follow @rjmusicdh on Twitter.

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