Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones has led an all-star cast of musicians to record his former band’s legendary Led Zeppelin IV cut ‘When the Levee Breaks’. The re-recording comes as part of the charity Playing for Change’s Song Around the World initiative. All funds generated will benefit the charity partners of Peace Through Music, including Conservation International, American Rivers, WWF, Reverb and the Playing For Change Foundation.
Jones is joined by a number of famous musicians from around the world, including former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks, Janes Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Tedeschi Trucks Band singer Susan Tedeschi, and American blues singer Buffalo Nichols.
The Americans are joined by a long list of foreign musicians as well, including Māori singer Mihirangi, Norwegian vocalist Elle Márjá Eira, Congo guitarist Jason Tamba, Argentinian pipe player Alfredo Arce. The arrangement also comes with duelling harmonica lines courtesy of America’s Ben Lee and Congo’s Mermans Mosengo.
“Looking at ‘When The Levee Breaks’ through the lens of producing a song to raise awareness for key environmental organizations truly felt like a plea for climate justice,” says Sebastian Robertson, the song’s producer who also plays guitar on the track. “The wailing guitars, harmonica, and vocals all in harmony for Mother Earth.”
“It’s a great cause, and I really liked what Sebastian and the team are doing,” Jones says in a statement to Rolling Stone. “The videos are all so well put together, and a joy to watch. It seems that little has changed since 1927, or even 2005, with [Hurricane] Katrina. It’s still a really powerful track, both musically and lyrically.”
Check out the performance of ‘When the Levee Breaks’ down below.