Bassist of legendary band recently re-recorded “When The Levee Breaks.”
John Paul Jones revisited the song “When The Levee Breaks” as part of the climate advocacy of Playing For Change. Jones, along with 17 musicians from around the world contributed to said track.
“When The Levee Breaks” was covered by the legendary hard rock band for their “Led Zeppelin IV” album. The original was written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie two years after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.
The 2022 version includes Jones, with ace guitarist Derek Trucks, singer Susan Tedeschi, drummer Stephen Perkins, harp player Ben Lee, guitarists Sebastian Robertson, Native American Keith Secola, singer Buffalo Nichols and a diverse lineup of musicians from around the world.
This includes vocalists Elle Márjá Eira of Norway and Mihirangi of New Zealand. Guitarist Pete Sand of Utah USA. Percussionists Sikiru Adepoju of Nigeria, Nakieltha Campbell and Davey Chegwiddin of Topanga, California. Guitarist Jason Tamba and harp player Mermans Mosengo of Congo. Flute/woodwind musician Alfredo Arce of Argentina and the Drums of the Pacific.
Guitarist Sebastian Robertson and Mark Johnson produced the new version and the accompanying music video for Playing For Change’s Song Around the World Initiative.
In a Rolling Stone interview, Robertson said, “We started the process with the locomotion of Stephen Perkins on the drums which was an incredible energy to get rolling.” Then “John Paul Jones hipped us to the remarkable singer Elle Márjá Eira in Norway. Mihirangi, the Maori powerhouse who takes some of the vocals, was brought to my attention by Playing For Change producer Robin Moxey,” Robertson added.
Vocal duties were shared between Buffalo Nichols, Elle Márjá Eira, Mihirangi and American blues rock singer Susan Tedeschi. Tedeschi’s husband, Derek Trucks played the slide guitar solo.
For his part, John Paul Jones said “It’s always interesting to hear what other musicians do with a piece. Obviously I had no idea what the other parts would sound like as we each recorded remotely, so it was a real thrill when I finally got to see and hear all of these incredibly talented musicians in the finished video.”
“It’s a great cause, and I really liked what Sebastian and the team are doing. The videos are all so well put together, and a joy to watch,” Jones said to Rolling Stone.
The music video for “When The Levee Breaks” alternated between scenes of calamity from floods and forest fires in America, to calving glaciers and drought. It also featured stunning landscapes from ancient terrains of Utah, Norway, New Zealand and the pacific.
“Producing a song to raise awareness for key environmental organizations truly felt like a plea for climate justice,” Robertson told Rolling Stone, adding, “The wailing guitars, harmonica and vocals, all in harmony for Mother Earth.”