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Music

Check out Stevie Nicks' furious cover of 'Rock and Roll' by Led Zeppelin

@SamWKemp

What’s that you say, a crossover between two of the greatest rock artists ever to grace the stage? Count me in. Back in 2007, Fleetwood Mac songstress Stevie Nicks delivered an earth-shattering cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1971 single ‘Rock and Roll’, taken from The Song Remains The Same’ an album that truly encapsulates the phrase “all killer, no filler.”

Many of us will be used to hearing Stevie Nicks‘ lending her dulcet tones to one of Fleetwood Mac’s many pop gems. Here, we see her fire up the furnace and transform into a rock and roll powerhouse, delivering soaring vocals that capture the spirit of Led Zeppelin’s original without falling into mimicry. As a pounding drum fill kicks her band into gear, Nicks begins jittering to the hum of Jimmy Page’s 12-bar blues riff while the audience begins to churn and sway below.

Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’ is the purest evocation of Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones’ musical roots. Plant wrote the lyrics to this particular number in response to a critic who argued that their previous album, Led Zeppelin III, wasn’t real rock ‘n’ roll. In a way, he was right. Aside from obvious stadium-shakers like ‘Immigrant Song’, Led Zeppelin III is much more pastoral in scope than many of the band’s fans were used to. With this track, Plant wanted to prove that they could still rock harder than any of their contemporaries.

“Speaking to Creem in 1988, Plant explained: “We just thought rock and roll needed to be taken on again. I was finally in a really successful band, and we felt it was time for actually kicking ass. It wasn’t an intellectual thing, ’cause we didn’t have time for that – we just wanted to let it all come flooding out. It was a very animal thing, a hellishly powerful thing, what we were doing”

Improvised while the band were working on ‘Four Sticks’ at their studio in Headley Grange, ‘Rock and Roll’ came about while John Bonham was trying to record an impossibly complex drum pattern. After countless failed takes, he exploded in a fit of anger and began playing a completely different rhythm based on the opening fill to Little Richard’s 1957 track ‘Keep a Knockin’. The rest of Led Zeppelin quickly picked up their instruments and started working on the new track, which they originally named ‘It’s Been a Long Time’. 30 minutes later, the band found themselves with a brand new song.