Classic Hits & Oldies

Watch Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, other musicians perform virtual cover of “When the Levee Breaks”

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C Brandon/Redferns via Getty Images

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones is one of more than 20 musicians from seven different countries featured in a video performing a new version of the blues song “When the Levee Breaks” that premiered this weekend at PlayingforChange.com on the Playing for Change YouTube channel.

“When the Levee Breaks,” a song written about about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, was originally recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929. Led Zeppelin’s reworked version of the tune was featured on the band’s 1971 album, Led Zeppelin IV.

The new recording and video of “When the Levee Breaks” is the latest in a series of covers of famous songs created by international musicians and put together by the Playing for Change organization, which seeks to connect people around the world through music.

The video, which features various musicians and singers performing their parts in different locations around the world, also includes Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins and ex-Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks, as well as Trucks’ wife and current band mate Susan Tedeschi on vocals, Robbie Robertson‘s son Sebastian on guitar, singer/songwriter Ben Lee on harmonica, and many others.

The clip also includes footage such natural disasters as flooding and drought.

“It seems that little has changed since 1927, or even 2005 with [Hurricane] Katrina,” Jones says on a statement regarding “When the Levee Breaks.” “It’s still a really powerful track, both musically and lyrically.”

Those who view the video are encouraged to donate money to the Playing for Change Foundation to aid its efforts raise awareness about and support organizations focused on various environmental issues.

The “When the Levee Breaks” video originally premiered in December 2021 as part of the Peace Through Music: A Global Event for the Environment virtual benefit event.

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