It seems rather ridiculous to give bands shit for ripping off Led Zeppelin, given that most of Zep’s early output was an inch away from outright thievery (ask Robert Johnson & Willie Dixon). But Led Zeppelin was about more than the riffs– Led Zeppelin was a sound and an attitude, and that is what other bands have been trying to recapture for forty years.

Let’s take a look at five extremely blatant attempts to capture that Zeppelin mojo!

Little Queen

Heart: “Barracuda” (Ann Wilson/Nancy Wilson/Roger DeRosier/Roger Fisher)

From the album Little Queen

Portrait Records, 1977

Barracuda

Ann & Nancy Wilson have never attempted to hide their love for Led Zeppelin. Heart has always covered Zeppelin songs in their encores, and earlier this year the band toured with John Bonham’s son Jason and played a set loaded with Zep classics.

“Barracuda” was the lead single from “Little Queen,” Heart’s second album. Without question, the galloping guitar rhythm pays homage to the Zeppelin epic “Achilles Last Stand.” It also proves beyond a doubt that the Wilson sisters could rock as hard as any band out there. A classic.

 

Zebra

Zebra: “Who’s Behind The Door” (Randy Jackson)

From the album Zebra

Atlantic Records, 1983

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

Who’s Behind The Door?

“Who’s Behind The Door?” was a huge AOR hit from Zebra’s 1983 debut record. The band had been playing together since 1975, and had frequently incorporated Zeppelin songs into their set. I suppose if you have a voice as high as singer/guitarist Randy Jackson, you are required to sing like Robert Plant. Note that Zebra released its albums on Atlantic Records, meaning they never had to worry about being sued by Zeppelin’s record company. The Discovery Channel is right: zebras are very intelligent.

 

Don't Say No

Billy Squier: “Lonely Is The Night” (Billy Squier)

From the album Don’t Say No

Capitol Records, 1981

Lonely Is The Night

Don’t Say No had bigger hits, but “Lonely is The Night” is its centerpiece. Drummer Bobby Chouinard lays down a monster Bonham groove, and the song oozes that Zeppelin swagger I was talking about earlier. Squier made a living cranking out pseudo-Zep anthems, and “Lonely Is The Night” is easily the best of a fine lot. Thankfully, Billy didn’t put on a pink shirt and dance around a loft in the video.

 

Slide It In 1

Whitesnake: “Slow An’ Easy” (David Coverdale/Micky Moody)

From the album Slide It In

Geffen Records, 1984

Slow An’ Easy

Like Squier, Whitesnake built an entire career on Zeppelin-esque riffs. The chorus on “Slow An’ Easy” kinda kills the Zep vibe, but the beginning is so Plant-like that I had to include it here. I suppose it’s no shock that David Coverdale eventually made an album with Jimmy Page, and it’s also no shock that I can’t remember a single song on it.

 

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come: “Get It On” (Lenny Wolf /Marty Wolff)

From the album Kingdom Come

Polydor Records, 1988

Get It On

Without question, Kingdom Come wins the prize for most blatant Led Zeppelin rip-off of all time. They were essentially a Led Zeppelin tribute band that didn’t play any actual Zeppelin songs. I hated this on principle in 1988, but in 2013 I have to give it a little respect. Kingdom Come didn’t hide what they were trying to do, and they hired producer Bob Rock to make sure that they did it very well.

I can think of at least ten other songs that could have easily made this list. What songs make YOU think of Zeppelin? Let me know in the comments section!

___________________________________________________________________

Bonus Tracks!

The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.

Presence

Led Zeppelin: “Achilles Last Stand” (Jimmy Page/Robert Plant)

From the album Presence

Atlantic Records, 1976

Achilles Last Stand

About The Analog Kid

"I'm 5-foot-8, 123 pounds. I have, uh, brown hair, blue eyes. I enjoy surfing, backgammon and men who aren't afraid to cry."

19 responses »

  1. Mark says:

    OK, I’ve meant to reply to several of your posts, might as well make it this one.

    I think the Zebra one is by far the biggest stretch of them all. Yeah, he could sing in a high voice, but I don’t think the song is any more Zeppelin than Frankie Valli’s Sherry.

    What’s weird is I like four of the songs and can barely tolerate the blatant rip-off by Kingdom Come.

    • MaxHorn says:

      Your Frankie Valli reference cracked me up, because it’s totally true! Randy Jackson does sing with that Jersey Boy helium voice! But I still think the song is very Zep, especially the beginning and when the vocal first comes in…

      • Mark says:

        It’s hard to argue too much when they started as a Zep cover band, but I’ll say it’s been sanitized and popped up so much that I think the resemblance is faint.

        I did own it on cassette and liked it enough to buy it as a CD. I almost got in a fight with a co-worker over whether the high parts were the same singer. Good times.

  2. WTF Pancakes says:

    Here’s a pretty obvious one for ya:

    (playing with the embed codes, so bear with me if this doesn’t display properly)

  3. WTF Pancakes says:

    Aaaaand….even more obvious:

    • smokezilla says:

      I was doing perfectly fine in my life without ever hearing that heaping pile of garbage. Pancake…you owe me a beer.

      • WTF Pancakes says:

        Don’t blame me. I didn’t say it was good. I just think it’s interesting the way Spirit blatantly ripped off “Stairway to Heaven” 3 years before Stairway was released.

  4. Wheeler says:

    The entire first Zebra album was a massive Zeppelin ripoff, and I loved every minute of it. Randy Jackson is going to be in Dallas soon and he’s going to do Zebra and Zep.

    And y’all missed the most blatant ripoff of all time; Bonham’s “Wait for You”. Great song anyway… I’m also partial to Fastway’s “Say What You Will”, which might as well have been called “Say What Zeppelin Would Have”.

    • MaxHorn says:

      Nice, Wheeler! I thought about “Wait For You” but left it off simply due to the family connection. Fastway is a great one. I recently ripped the “All Fired Up” LP to mp3 format.

      • Jodie says:

        Exactly. How could they possibly miss the band Bonham, when they sound just like Led Zeppelin. Also “Guilty”.

  5. […] 5 Led Zeppelin Songs That Are Not Led Zeppelin Songs (theanalogkidblog.com) […]

  6. […] 5 Led Zeppelin Songs That Are Not Led Zeppelin Songs (theanalogkidblog.com) […]

  7. puzzud says:

    I want to mention a song called Mind is Not Brain by Mock Orange. When I listen to it, I hear Bonham on drums, Houses of the Holy / Physical Graffiti double guitar scaling licks, and howls similar to Robert Plant (though not sounding like Plant). It really sounds like it was mixed like something off of Houses of the Holy.

  8. Jeez! It’s pretty shocking that Kingdom Come never got sued.

  9. Leo O'Sullivan says:

    “Lonely Is The Night” is the song that won me over to Billy Squire. I have this weird theory that radio stations and record labels often push certain tracks on air, but in the end it’s the true classic that wins out. Squire’s a case in point. “The Stroke” was a big hit and got played night and day when it came out, but “Lonely Is The Night” was on far lighter rotation. I could never understand why since ‘Lonely’ blew the other song away. The same thing with The Romantics. “What I Like About You” came out roughly at the same time as “Talking In Your Sleep”, but it was the lame-ass ‘Talking’ that got all the airplay initially while their far greater song was rarely heard. Flash forward ten years and both “The Stroke” and “Talking In Your Sleep” are the ones rarely played (thankfully) while “Lonely Is The Night” and “What I Like About You” are now staples. Sometimes the industry doesn’t catch up to what the fans know for a few years, I guess. *But that still doesn’t explain why “Roxanne” remains the legendary Police track from that first album while the masterpiece “So Lonely” is still rarely ever played. So there goes THAT theory.

  10. Koshka42 says:

    I think you could add almost everything off Rush’s first album to this list – the ‘we want to be Zeppelin’ vibe was huge on that album! They didn’t really start being themselves until the second album and addition of Neil Peart (and removal of John Rutsey)…

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