MUSIC MONDAY: “AfroZeppelin” – A Rhythm & Blues-Filled Led Zeppelin Collection (LISTEN)

by Marlon West (FB: marlon.west1 Twitter: @marlonw IG: stlmarlonwest Spotify: marlonwest)

Happy Labor Day, y’all! It is no toil for me to offer up another playlist on this holiday Monday.

After June’s AfroBowie collection, our editor-in-chief, Lori Lakin Hutcherson, suggested a few more in a series of collections of rock musicians inspired by and in collaboration with Black artists.

So here is the second offering: AfroZeppelin. While David Bowie championed and collaborated with Black music-makers throughout his long career, Led Zeppelin’s connections were not as overt.

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Outselling the Beatles and toppling them as icons of a new era of rock and roll, Zeppelin was the perfect combo of the Delta blues, London’s swinging scene and the myriad of cultural influences.

The influence of the street-tough Chicago blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf taught them much about swinging boogie. Over the decades many of their famous riffs and lyrics would come under fire. The allegations have brought several lawsuits as well, most of them settled out of court discreetly.

In the case of “Whole Lotta Love”, the song credits were later amended to include Willie Dixon, who claimed Robert Plant used his lyrics from “You Need Love”.

“The Lemon Song” is an expansion of a musical phrase featured in Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues”.

I’ve gathered many of the songs covered and referenced by Led Zeppelin, and their own versions of said tracks. Of course, they have been covered many times themselves.

I’ve included Zeppelin covers by Mary J. Blige, Lizz Wright, and Stanley Jordan. You’ll also find many classic cuts that feature Led Zeppelin samples too.

Here’s Beyoncé, Ice T, Jurassic 5, D12, Dr. Dre, Beastie Boys and many others.

This collection of great tracks stands as another example that no artist creates in a vacuum. Whether the influences are readily acknowledged, each creator makes offerings informed by what came before.

Do enjoy! Until next month! Stay safe, sane, and kind.

Marlon West (photo courtesy Marlon West)