Last night at the Kennedy Center Honors, legendary classic rock band Led Zeppelin was honored with, among other things, a touching version of Stairway To Heaven, performed by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart. Response was overwhelmingly positive, and Zeppelin lead vocalist Robert Plant himself was near tears. That being said, there have been plenty of other covers of Led Zep tunes that haven’t fared so well. Here are five particularly wretched ones:
1) Black Dog : Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, featuring Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls.
This horrible piece of sports marketing, which probably got the greenlight thanks to the participation of Jason Bonham, son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, was the opening video for the 2011 NBA playoffs. It is so terrible that in my opinion, NBA basketball should be cancelled for an entire decade so they can think about what they’ve done.
2) C.S.S.: Whole Lotta Love
This cover was used as the theme music for “Top of the Pops” a British TV program about chart-topping singles. It answers the timeless question, what if instead of Robert Plant doing vocals, they just dropped in some pan flute?
3) Little Roger and the Goosebumps: Stairway to Gilligan’s Island
This one is in kind of a grey area between song parody and cover tune, but it’s included here because a) it’s so incredibly weird and b) they actually sold it as a single for a while before Zeppelin’s lawyers put the kabosh on it. Embedding is disabled, so you’ll have to watch on YouTube, but believe me, it’s worth it.
4) Iron Maiden: Stairway to Heaven
This rambing, profane cover of the classic song changes the original lyrics to a tale of a woman defecating on a cat, a decision I’d judge more harshly if the real lyrics to Stairway To Heaven made even a lick of sense. To be fair to Iron Maiden, this rare recording seems to be just good natured goofing around on a demo tape, and was never intended to be widely released. Also, when they actually try to do a good job covering Led Zeppelin, they absolutely crush it.
WARNING: LYRICS NOT SAFE FOR WORK
5) Hootie and the Blowfish: Hey Hey What Can I Do
What can you do? Uh, leave Led Zeppelin alone? How about that?
Like this blogger? Follow Ritch Duncan on Twitter