I Listen to Things: Led Zeppelin Since Led Zeppelin

I was that kid in high school who knew that Led Zeppelin was originally called the New Yardbirds (and that Jimmy Page had, with Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, been a member of the Yardbirds). When I got my first iPod in 2007, one of my first purchases was the complete Zeppelin catalog—a bargain at $99 and including, among other things, Mothership, How the West Was Won, and The BBC Sessions. Here are a few things that Led Zeppelin has done post-Led Zeppelin.

Celebration Day. A recording of a 2007 concert at London’s O2 Arena with John Bonham’s son Jason taking the place of his deceased father. It’s a surprisingly good live album, though it’s soft in spots and Robert Plant clearly had to change the way he approached some of their standards. It’s not just a “hey, remember how awesome these songs are?” compilation as they perform “For Your Life” live for what I think is the first time.

Coverdale/Page. I agree with one YouTube commenter: it’s the best thing Page had done since Led Zeppelin. It’s a collaboration with David Coverdale, former lead singer for Deep Purple and Whitesnake. The story is that Robert Plant was not amused, calling Coverdale—who looks and sounds a lot like Plant—“David Cover-version”—and indeed, the story I’ve heard is that the collaboration was motivated in no small part by Coverdale’s resemblance to Plant. It’s a pretty good album for a failed experiment, and it holds up surprisingly well.

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, No Quarter. Page & Plant getting together was was one of the most important events of my high school career. I still to this day don’t know why they didn’t bring in John Paul Jones (and haven’t taken the time to Google it). I don’t know why it isn’t on Apple Music. I just picked it up on iTunes, though. It’s an interesting and eastern-influenced take on a lot of Zeppelin standards and a few new things.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand (2007). Talk about your (seemingly) unlikely collaborations. This is simply a beautiful album featuring two very different musicians from two very different traditions. My only regret: they don’t include this incredible version of “When the Levee Breaks.”

Robert Plant, Carry Fire. Plant turns 70 this year. It’s a mature musical statement from one of the late twentieth century’s most recognizable voices. Plant has made it clear that Led Zeppelin is behind him. I’m sure that makes a lot of people sad and I know (and I’m sure they know) they could practically print as much money as they wanted to make with a world tour, but again, Plant turns 70 this year, Jimmy Page just turned 74, and John Paul Jones just turned 72. Of course, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards both turn 75 this year, and the Stones are touring Europe this summer…

All are available on Apple Music except for Page & Plant, which can be purchased from the iTunes store or Amazon. Subscribe to Apple Music here.

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