Why Robert Plant Never Thought Much of Led Zeppelin Covers

Robert Plant performs in 1993.Robert Plant performs in 1993.
Robert Plant performs in the Netherlands, June 1993. | Rob Verhorst/Redferns


When Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980, Robert Plant had just turned 32. If things worked out, the majority of his career in music would still be ahead of him. So Plant went about trying to escape the massive shadow cast by his former band.

After Pictures at Eleven (1982), The Principle of Moments (1983), and that ’84 Honeydrippers album, Plant had made his point. Though he joined his old bandmates Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones for a partial reunion at Live Aid ’85, Plant didn’t have the patience for much more Zep afterward.

By the time he released Fate of Nations in 1993, Plant felt like he’d left those Zep days behind once and for all. “I was determined to grow up, to finally shed all the last remnants of ‘The Lemon Song,’” Plant said on his Digging Deep podcast.

And while Plant wasn’t listening to “Stairway to Heaven” in his free time, he also didn’t want to hear other bands’ takes on the Zeppelin catalogue. When interviewers asked, Plant told them just that.

Robert Plant has been clear about his distaste for Led Zeppelin covers over the years

Robert Plant performs in the Netherlands, June 1993. | Rob Verhorst/Redferns

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On Fate of Nations, Plant included the gorgeous “29 Palms,” which made some noise on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart in summer ’93. As he prepped for the tour in support of the album, Plant performed the track in a Late Show with David Letterman appearance.

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After the performance, Plant sat down to chat with Letterman for a few minutes. And as the commercial break ended, viewers saw the Late Show band paying tribute to Plant with a rendition of “Misty Mountain Hop” off Led Zeppelin IV (1971).

When Letterman asked Plant if he liked hearing Zep songs as played by other bands, he was his usual candid self. “Not if I can help it, no,” Plant said with a laugh. Asked if any bands have mastered the Zep feel, Plant was equally frank. “I hear a lot of people trying,” he said.

During that same tour, an Independent reporter asked Plant felt flattered by an Australian release of an entire album of “Stairway to Heaven” covers. Plant told the reporter he should ask Howlin’ Wolf if he was flattered by Zep’s version

Source:: Showbiz Cheat Sheet


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