The (In)Complete Roots of Led Zeppelin

Before I post this one, I need to put a disclaimer:

I will NOT tolerate any comments that bash LZ for being an “unoriginal cover band”.

For one thing, if you do the math on how many of the songs they recorded (in the studio or at the BBC) are original and how many are covers, you find that the majority of their songs are, indeed, mostly or completely original (they recorded, both in the studio and for the BBC, a grand total of 79 songs; out of that 79, 27 are covers/steals, and 52 are originals; that means that around 66% of Zeppelin’s music is original, while only around 34% are covers/steals).

For another, Led Zeppelin are just members of a very long tradition in music that continues to this day. After all, there’s a reason for the cliché “good musicians borrow, great musicians steal”. The stealing of music goes back to even before Mozart! Zeppelin just happens to be the most popular band to do it. I hate that they’re singled out for doing something nearly every musician does. Led Zeppelin simply followed the rules; not the laws, mind you… the rules. And even worse, many of the artist’s that sued Led Zeppelin for stealing from them had themselves also stolen from others, making them hypocrites!

So you wanna scream and cry about how Led Zeppelin are an evil cover band? Sorry, but you’ve come to wrong blog. This is my all-time favorite band/musicians/artists we’re talking about, here. You’re not going to change my mind because you’re ignorant enough to think that Led Zeppelin were the only ones to do it.

And without further ado, “The (In)Complete Roots of Led Zeppelin”:

Volume 1 (LZ I):
01. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Joan Baez – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
02. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 1)
03. You Shook Me (Muddy Waters – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
04. You Shook Me (Jeff Beck – Truth)
05. I Need You (Elmore James)
06. You Shook Me (Led Zeppelin – I)
07. Dazed and Confused (Jake Holmes – Jimmy Page Session Man vol. 1)
08. I’m Confused (Live! Yardbirds)
09. Think about It (Yardbirds – Little Games)
10. Dazed and Confused (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 1)
11. Blackwater Side (Bert Jansch – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
12. Black Mountain Side (Led Zeppelin – I)
13. Nervous Breakdown (Eddie Cochran)
14. Communication Breakdown (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 1)
15. I Can’t Quit You, Baby (Otis Rush – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
16. I Can’t Quit You, Baby (Led Zeppelin – I)
17. How Many More Years (Howlin’ Wolf – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
18. The Hunter (Albert King – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
19. How Many More Times (Led Zeppelin – I)

Volume 2 (LZ II & III):
01. You Need Love (Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
02. You Need Loving (Small Faces)
03. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin – II)
04. Killing Floor (Howlin’ Wolf – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
05. Crosscut Saw (Albert King – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
06. The Lemon Song (Led Zeppelin – II)
07. Bring It on Home (Sonny Boy Williamson – The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin)
08. Bring It on Home (Led Zeppelin II)
09. Carry On (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Deja Vu)
10. Mars – The Bringer of War Excerpt (Gustav Holst – The Planets)
11. Friends (Led Zeppelin – III)
12. Never (Moby Grape – Grape Jam)
13. I Woke Up This Morning (Ten Years After)
14. New York City Blues (The Yardbirds – Shapes of Things)
15. Since I’ve Been Loving You (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 1)
16. Gallis Pole (Leadbelly)
17. Gallows Pole (Led Zeppelin – III)
18. Gallows Pole (Page & Plant – No Quarter)

Volume 3 (LZ III & IV):
01. Knowing That I’m Losing You (The Yardbirds – Cumular Limit Sessions)
02. Tangerine (Led Zeppelin – III)
03. The Waggoner’s Lad (Bert Jansch and John Renbourn)
04. Jennings Farm Blues (Led Zeppelin – Mock Official Version)
05. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp (Led Zeppelin III)
06. Bron-Y-Aur (Coheed and Cambria – tribute to Led Zeppelin)
07. Shake ’em On Down (Bukka White)
08. Shake ’em On Down (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
09. Lone Wolf Blues (Oscar Woods)
10. Help Me (Sonny Boy Williamson)
11. Blues Medley (Led Zeppelin)
12. Hats Off To Roy Harper (Led Zeppelin III)
13. Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac)
14. Black Dog (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 1)
15. Keep A’ Knockin’ (Little Richard)
16. Rock And Roll (Led Zeppelin – IV)

Volume 4 (IV & Houses of the Holy):
01. And She’s Lonely (The Chocolate Watchband – One Step Beyond)
02. The House on the Hill (Audience – House on the Hill)
03. Summer Rain (Johnny Rivers)
04. Taurus (Spirit)
05. Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 1)
06. Go Your Way my Love (Bert Jansch)
07. Going to California (Led Zeppelin – IV)
08. When the Levee Breaks (Memphis Minnie)
09. When the Levee Breaks (Led Zeppelin)
10. Something (The Beatles – Abbey Road)
11. The Rain Song (Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy)
12. Get up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine (James Brown – Sex Machine)
13. Mr. Pitiful (Otis Redding – I’ve been Loving You too Long)
14. The Crunge (Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy)

Volume 5 (Physical Graffiti):
01. I Want Some of Your Pie (Blind Boy Fuller)
02. Drop Down Mama (Sleepy Joe Estes)
03. Shake ‘Em On Down (Bukka White)
04. My Mama Don’t Allow Me (Arthur Cudrup)
05. Drop Down Mama (Tom Rush)
06. Drop Down Mama (Mississippi Fred Mcdowell)
07. Put on Your Nightcap (Big Joe Williamson)
08. Put on Your Nightcap (Big Joe Williamson)
09. Custard Pie (Led Zeppelin)
10. Jesus Is a Dying Bed Maker (Charley Patton)
11. In My Time of Dying (Blind Willie Johnson)
12. Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed (Josh White)
13. In My Time of Dyin’ (Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan)
14. In My Time of Dying (Led Zeppelin)
15. Terraplane Blues (Robert Johnson – The Complete Recordings Disc 1)
16. Superstition (Stevie Wonder – Talking Book)
17. Trampled Under Foot (Led Zeppelin – Mothership Disc 2)
18. Down by the River (Neil Young & Crazy Horse)
19. Down by the Seaside (Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti Disc 2)

Volume 6 (Physical Graffiti, Presence, Coda [+ Bonus Tracks], & BBC Sessions):
01. Ooh! My Head (Ritchie Valens)
02. Boogie with Stu (Led Zeppelin)
03. Cissy Strut (The Meters – The Very Best of)
04. Chicken Strut (The Meters – The Very Best of)
05. Royal Orleans (Led Zeppelin – Presence)
06. Nobody’s Fault but Mine (Blind Willie Johnson)
07. Nobody’s Fault but Mine (John Renbourne)
08. Nobody’s Fault but Mine (Led Zeppelin)
09. Nobody’s Fault but Mine (Page & Plant)
10. She Likes It (Owen Hand)
11. Prodigal Son (The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet)
12. Poor Tom (Led Zeppelin – Coda)
13. The Girl I Love (Sleepy John Estes)
14. The Girl I Love (Led Zeppelin)
15. Traveling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson)
16. Kindhearted Woman Blues (Robert Johnson)
17. Come On In My Kitchen (Robert Johnson)
18. Traveling Riverside Blues (Led Zeppelin)
19. Somethin’ Else (Eddie Cochran – Best of)
20. Somethin’ Else (Led Zeppelin – BBC Sessions Disc 1)
21. Baby Come on Home (Bert Berns, Hoagy Lands, and Bert Jansch)
22. Baby Come on Home (Led Zeppelin)

Of course, it isn’t entirely complete.  Sadly, some songs were impossible to get in a lossless format without spending more money than I have ever had, and I wanted to avoid all MP3 for posterity reasons (I’ll blog in the future about why I dislike MP3). And more roots are being discovered (you’ll notice “Moby Dick”, which does indeed have some direct inspirations, is not here; that’s because I didn’t know about it’s roots at the time). What this means is that I will very likely have to redo this set in the near future… in fact, I may do just that… a 2.0, if you will…

My goal with this project was to bring together all (or as much) of the music (as possible) that inspired Led Zeppelin and put it along with the related Zeppelin songs.  I used the same format as “The Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin” that circulated not too long ago and is still circulating in some circles.  I also used the entirety of that set, along with Mojo’s “The Roots of Led Zeppelin” and Catfish’s “The Early Blues Roots of Led Zeppelin” to help compile this, as well as the brilliant site “The Roots of Led Zeppelin” for all my references.

Now, my next goal is working on all the songs Zep covered live.  The way I intend to do this set is this:

Each volume will be a song used as a medley.  One volume will be “Whole Lotta Love”.  Another will be “How Many More Times”.  Another will be “As Long as I Have You”.  Yet another will be “Communication Breakdown”.  And any other medley I’m missing (feel free to tell me).  Then I will have a volume (it will probably be small… an EP, most likely) for just the few songs Zep did on their own (Train Kept-A Rollin’, Money, etc).  Now, the medley volumes will not include the live medleys… simply the studio versions of those songs (“Whole Lotta Love” will be the BBC version, “Communication Breakdown” will be one of the BBC versions, “How Many More Times” will be the studio version, etc).  The only exception here will be “As Long as I Have You”, which I’ll probably make an edit of with just “As Long as I Have You” live. Led Zeppelin Reference will be my reference site, though it appears not to have been touched (aside from spammers) since May 2012…

Now there will be disagreements here.  I myself am skeptical of some of these being roots for Zep songs.  The most contentious one is, obviously, Neil Young’s “Down by the River” for “Down by the Seaside”.  Beyond the title and maybe a nod to Neil Young’s usual style, I don’t really see how this particular Neil Young song inspired “Down by the Seaside”.  But I did not discriminate against what I found to be iffy claims at best.  If it was a claimed “root”, and I could get it in a lossless version, I used it.

I am doing this because no set, official or otherwise, has done this to my liking.  It is an on-going and potentially never-ending project. If you really really want this set, message me privately and we’ll work something out. But don’t get your hopes up; everything on here, except for “Jennings Farm Blues”, is officially released, and I don’t fancy getting sued by the RIAA. As much as I hate them, I don’t have the money or connections to win or settle such a lawsuit.

About Nathan Hevenstone

I'm an SJW, Socialist, Jewish Agnostic Atheist, Foodie, and Guitarist. Hi!
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1 Response to The (In)Complete Roots of Led Zeppelin

  1. Daz says:

    Re: Ooh My Head. Going one step further back, so to speak, the Valens song owes a lot, I think to Little Richard’s Ooh! My Soul. Not sure how inclusive you want the list to be, but I thought it worthy of mention.

    That’s a good resource you’ve put together. Thank you.

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