The 10 best Led Zeppelin songs that aren’t by Led Zeppelin

Greta Van Fleet’s Josh Kiszka, Rush’s Geddy Lee, Whiitesnake’s David Coverdale and Heart’s Ann Wilson
(Image credit: Kravitz/Paul Natkin/Ross Marino/Richard McCaffrey/ Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

As great as they were, Led Zeppelin weren’t above borrowing from other people’s songs, as old bluesmen such as Willie Dixon and Chester Burnett could have vouched. So Jimmy Page and co could have no complaints when other bands ripped off their sound – and there have been a lot of them over the years. Some have been subtle nods and sly winks to the masters, while others are brazen rip-offs, cheekily plundering the Zeppelin formula. Still,  many of them have certainly been memorable – as these memorable Led Zeppelin songs not by Led Zeppelin prove.

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10. Heart - Barracuda (1977, Little Queen)

Barracuda is Heart’s daring raid on the Zeppelin vault, where Ann Wilson channels Robert Plant's banshee wails and the guitar riffs slice through the air with Jimmy Page-like precision. Released in 1977, it vividly recalls the Zeppelin aesthetic, bearing a striking sonic resemblance to Achilles Last Stand in its relentless, driving rhythm and the way it layers its instrumentation to create a sense of epic, almost mythic urgency.

9. Rush - Working Man (1974 (Rush)

With visionary drummer Neil Peart not yet in the fold, Rush’s lacklustre debut saw the band taking a joyride in Zeppelin’s hot rod, blending hard rock posturing with bluesy undercurrents. On Working Man, Geddy Lee's vocals soar with a Plant-like fervour, while the guitars do a high-wire act reminiscent of Page. One year later, with Peart on board, they released Fly By Night and commenced their ascendancy into the Pantheon of Prog.

8. Bonham - Wait For You (1989, The Disregard Of Timekeeping)

Bonham’s Wait For You is like a hard rock séance, invoking the spirit of Zeppelin through Jason ‘Son Of John’ Bonham’s royal bloodline. Bonham hammers the drums with a ferocity that would have done the ol’ man proud, while the late vocalist Daniel McMaster demonstrates a jaw-dropping familiarity with Robert Plant’s vocal style. Released in 1989, it bridges classic rock with the polished sheen of the late '80s, a nostalgic nod with enough original sinew to stand on its own.

7. Zebra – Who's Behind The Door (1983, Zebra)

In the post-Zeppelin wasteland of 1983, Zebra emerged like a wild-eyed beast, galloping across the ashes of their forebears. Who's Behind The Door isn't just a nod; it’s an awkwardly-long hug, unsubtly channelling the spirit of Page and Plant with its melodic incantations and flashy guitar alchemy. Ultimately, the album’s greatest success was how effectively it highlighted the fact that the Zeppelin-shaped hole in the Universe would never be filled.

6. Cactus - Evil (1971, Restrictions)

Hard-hitting early 70s US rockers Cactus brazenly dug into Zeppelin’s blues-rock graveyard, unearthing a sound that’s as raw as it is raucous. This early '70s relic showcases the influence Zeppelin had on their contemporaries, a gritty, no-holds-barred romp in the muddy waters of hard rock and blues. The guitar riffs snarl and bite with a ferocity that might have inspired Page to nod in grudging respect, while the vocals, steeped in bluesy abandon, are a howl to the moon in Zeppelin’s dark forest.

5. Wolfmother - Woman (2005, Wolfmother)

In 2005, Wolfmother erupted onto the scene like a psychedelic tornado tearing through Zeppelin's back catalogue. This track is a frenzied homage, with guitar riffs that build to a titanic squall, while the vocals howl with a pitch and style that casts a glaring beacon on the band’s primary influence. It's a thunderous, unabashed plundering of Zeppelin's legacy, a wild, careening ride that leaves no riff unturned.

4. Greta Van Fleet - Highway Tune (2017, Black Smoke Rising EP)

Greta Van Fleet insisted that Led Zeppelin weren’t even on their radar when they were starting out. If Domino’s claimed that they invented pizza, it would be a more believable claim. Released in 2017, these young guns unleash wailing vocals and seismic riffs that scream Zeppelin from every pore. It’s a resurrection of Zeppelin’s spirit for the Snapchat generation, wrapped in vintage leather and doused in nostalgia.

3. Whitesnake - Still of the Night (1987, Whitesnake)

Whitesnake's MTV-era anthem raised more than a few eyebrows with its overt similarities to Zep. Here, David Coverdale's vocals aren't just reminiscent of Plant; they're a full-throttle reincarnation, dripping with raw, unbridled power. The guitar work, steeped in Page's dark magic, weaves a spell of hard-hitting riffs and melodramatic solos. It’s a brazen, unapologetic echo of Zeppelin's thunder, a howling tribute to rock's golden gods.

2. Billy Squier - The Stroke (1981, Don’t Say No)

Boston’s Billy Squier channels his inner Zeppelin demon, crafting a sound that’s as subtle as a sledgehammer. The track’s thunderous guitar riffs and pounding drums could wake Bonham from his grave. Released in the neon haze of 1981, it’s a testament to Zeppelin’s lingering spectre in the realm of hard rock, meshed with the era’s burgeoning new wave sensibility.

1. Kingdom Come - Get It On (1988, Kingdom Come)

The big dog of Zeppelin rip-offs. Get It On cut so close to the bone that when it was first released, loads of people — destined for crushing disappointment — assumed that it was the product of a reunited Zeppelin. These Teutonic rockers raid Zeppelin's sacred temple with a zeal that borders on religious fervour. Lenny Wolf’s vocals echo Plant's haunting wails and the guitar work is a surgically-precise replication of Page’s style. It's a brazen heist of Zeppelin's sonic identity, paraded with an audacity that's almost commendable.

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Joe Daly

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.