When the Levee Breaks

From Academic Kids

"When the Levee Breaks" is a blues song by Memphis Minnie, famously covered by Led Zeppelin as the last song on their fourth album.

The Led Zeppelin version features a distinctive and often-sampled pounding drum beat by John Bonham, driving guitars and a wailing harmonica, all presumably meant to symbolize the relentless storm that threatens to break the levee, backing a powerful vocal performance by Robert Plant. The best-known song on the album may be "Stairway to Heaven", but "When the Levee Breaks" makes for a memorable finale.

The famous drum performance was actually recorded by placing the drumkit and drummer at the bottom of a stairwell, and recording it using a microphone at the top, giving the distinctive resonant but slightly muffled sound.

The song was also covered by A Perfect Circle on their third album eMOTIVe.

Led Zeppelin
John Bonham - John Paul Jones - Jimmy Page - Robert Plant
Original albums: Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin III - Untitled - Houses of the Holy - Physical Graffiti - Presence - The Song Remains the Same - In Through the Out Door - Coda
Other albums: Boxed Set - Profiled - Remasters - Boxed Set 2 - The Complete Studio Recordings - BBC Sessions - Early Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin Volume One - Latter Days: The Best of Led Zeppelin Volume Two - How the West Was Won
Films: The Song Remains the Same - Led Zeppelin DVD
Songs: "The Battle of Evermore" - "Dazed and Confused" - "Stairway to Heaven" - "When the Levee Breaks"
Other: Peter Grant - Swan Song Records

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