We put together the ultimate Led Zeppelin IV covers album

Images of Heart’s Ann Wilson, Van Halen and Henry Rollins onstage
(Image credit: Al Pereira/Paul Natkin/Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Whether you call it ‘Led Zep IV’, ‘Zoso’, or ‘that one with Stairway to Heaven on it’, Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album is not only an all-time classic, it’s also become part of the cultural landscape. From the pummeling opening groove of Black Dog through the majesty of Stairway… to John Bonham’s widely sampled opening on their version of When the Levee Breaks, the multi-million selling monster is chock-full of indelible musical moments. It’s no surprise, then, that the songs on this album have been covered by a diverse range of artists. Here are eight of the best and most interesting takes to make the ultimate Led Zeppelin IV covers album…

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Beth Hart – Black Dog (A Tribute to Led Zeppelin, 2022)

If you’re going to take on such an iconic part of rock history, you can either radically reinvent it to make it your own or play it straight and make sure you absolutely nail your rendition. Beth Hart takes the latter option, which is arguably more difficult when dealing with Led Zeppelin’s already perfect delivery. Her backing band capture the groove more than adequately but it’s the singer’s power-packed delivery that takes this light years beyond standard cover band territory.

Van Halen  – Rock And Roll (Live Without a Net, 1986

From one classic rock band to another, as Van Halen tackle a song “written by some old friends of ours” to close out their 1986 live video album Live Without a Net. Sammy Hagar had just joined and, even if you’re staunchly Team Roth, it’s difficult to deny that their poodle-permed new recruit had a better set of pipes for a song like this. Eddie is clearly having fun ramping up the solo and the result is an enjoyable and exhilarating romp.

Jaz Coleman and the London Philharmonic Orchestra – The Battle of Evermore (Kashmir: Symphonic Led Zeppelin, 1997)

Jaz Coleman had already made Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd in 1995 before turning to the works of Led Zeppelin. The Killing Joke frontman arranged all the music, which was performed in an instrumental format by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The sprawling, Lord of the Rings-inspired The Battle of Evermore was certainly suited to this reworking. It could perhaps stand to be a little less restrained, sounding more mystical than epic and bombastic, but it does make for a uniquely intriguing reworking.

Heart – Stairway To Heaven (Live at the Kennedy Center Honors, 2013)

Heart have always had a penchant for throwing out the odd Led Zep cover but Ann and Nancy Wilson’s 2012 live version of Stairway To Heaven (subsequently released as a single the following year) was an absolute tour de force. It was performed with Jason Bonham on drums in front of the surviving members of the band who were receiving a Kennedy Center Honors from then-US president Barack Obama. So no pressure, then. Poignant and powerful, it visibly moved Robert Plant to tears. “That was one of the most unforgettable nights of my life,” Ann told Classic Rock Revisited. “We weren’t nervous when we were doing it, but afterwards our nervous system came back to life and it all kicked-in.”

4 Non Blondes – Misty Mountain Hop (Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin, 1995)

Often dismissed as 90s alt-rock one-hit wonders due to the huge success of What’s Up?, 4 Non Blondes were a lot more talented than they were generally given credit for – as this cover amply proves. Linda Perry provides a superb rasp-to-wail rock vocal while the rest of the band maintain the groove while adding their own little touches. It’s also worth checking out the video for the way it plays around with the Led Zeppelin IV and Physical Graffiti album artwork.

Rollins Band – Four Sticks (Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin, 1995)

Appearing on the same Led Zeppelin tribute album as 4 Non Blondes’ Misty Mountain Hop, former Black Flag frontman and punk icon Henry Rollins flexed his own suitably muscular take on Four Sticks. The Rollins Band always brought elements of hard rock into their post-hardcore noise and it’s actually not that strange of a fit – although there will definitely be those who don’t care for Hank’s strained, neck vein-busting vocal style in this context.

Amy Lee – Going to California (Recover, Vol. 1, 2016)

The most laid-back and wistful moment on Led Zeppelin IV is a song that has passed through generations for Evanescence singer Amy Lee. “Listening to mommy sing usually helps get [son] Jack into that elusive sleepy place, and this song has been a regular rotation nap-time hit around our house,” she wrote on Facebook. She recorded Going To California for a solo EP but has since played it live with Evanescence and does the song justice with faithful instrumentation and a beautiful vocal performance.

A Perfect Circle – When the Levee Breaks (Emotive, 2004)

When The Levee Breaks was a cover of a 1929 song by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoyin the first place and A Perfect Circle’s version is so different to Led Zep’s that you have to consider it a complete reinvention of the  original. The song is given a dreamy, psychedelic makeover while still retaining a mournfulness suited to its subject matter of displacement and loss following a great flood.

Paul Travers has spent the best part of three decades writing about punk rock, heavy metal, and every associated sub-genre for the UK's biggest rock magazines, including Kerrang! and Metal Hammer