Led Zeppelin Series Revisit “When The Levee Breaks”

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Led Zeppelin Series Revisit “When The Levee Breaks” | Society Of Rock Videos

via The Playlist / Youtube

On the eight episode of Led Zeppelin‘s 50th anniversary video series, the band revisits “When the Levee Breaks” on their 1971 album Led Zeppelin IV.

“‘When the Levee Breaks’ was a giant step,” says Robert Plant, “Nobody other than John Bonham could have created that groove, and many have tried.”

Bonham’s drums were recorded in a stairwell at Headley Grange with the microphones planted three stories up. The drum sound echoed skyward and was captured on the mics, creating a very innovative and distinctive sound.

After a supposedly disastrous mixing job in the US, the rest of the tracks were mixed again in England. But this song was the only one on the album that was not remixed and was kept in its original form.

Plant added to the original lyrics. The song was recorded at a different tempo and was slowed down. Plant then sang in the sort of in between key the song was now in, particularly on the harmonica and guitar solos.

“When the Levee Breaks” from Led Zeppelin IV found the band returning to their passion for Delta blues. The track was originally written in 1929 and recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie.

The song reflected on the aftermath of the then-recent Great Mississippi Flood, a devastation that led to death by hundreds of people. In the summer of 1926, a heavy rainfall started causing the river flood and levees to break in more than 100 places over the following year.

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