On the 1971 album Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin covered the blues standard “When The Levee Breaks,” and the result is probably the heaviest thing that band ever recorded. John Bonham’s bruising drum intro alone was enough to guarantee immortality; thanks to songs like the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ And Stealin’,” it’s become an iconic rap break. But the song wasn’t always going to sound like that. A new version of the Zeppelin album Coda will include an alternate version of “When The Levee Breaks” that has a considerably lighter touch. Bonham doesn’t play the intro alone, there’s more playfulness in the melodic interplay, and it no longer sounds like an angry god smashing planets together. It’s pretty weird! Listen to it at Rolling Stone.
The Coda reissue is out 7/31.