The Greatest “Next” Led Zeppelin Bands
Led Zeppelin at the Gladsaxe Teen Club in Gladsaxe, Denmark March 17, 1969 - Led Zeppelin Rarities / Youtube
There is no greater honor than to be dubbed as the next “insert big name”, especially when the big name is Led Zeppelin. Essentially pioneers of heavy rock genres including blues rock and heavy metal, Led Zeppelin’s bright but short stint on the industry left an indelible mark for their successors to emulate. Since then, their influence has been apparent on budding artists, with some notable names popping out of the hazy hinterlands with their own brand of Led Zeppelin-infused music. Here are some of the rock acts that have been dubbed with the double-edged sword of musical acclaim.
Primarily a cover band in their New Orleans homecourt, Zebra slowly inched their way to acclaim with Led Zeppelin covers. This proved to be a successful tactic, as their mainstream debut was heavily propelled by their past gigs. “Who’s Behind The Door?” was one of their most successful singles, and while the band wasn’t up there for long, vocalist Randy Jackson continued his passion by doing occasional Led Zeppelin gigs with a backing group.
Ushered by the new millennia, Wolfmother set their debut in 2005, with a hit single in “Woman”, which earned quite a comparison with the Led Zeppelin sound. Bassist Chris Ross shared his thoughts regarding the public’s opinions, “I thought people were being really generous. And then after a while some people say it like it’s a bad thing or as if we’re like plagiarizing them or trying to be them or something.” Three albums later, the band hasn’t been able to reclaim the former glory of their debut.
Blatant imitation has garnered Whitesnake the attention they never thought they’d get. Frontman David Coverdale has been often accused of being too “Robert Plant” in his performances, and their songs “Slow an’ Easy” and “Still of the Night” scream Led Zeppelin all the way. Robert Plant himself took a dig at Coverdale, referring to him as “David Cover Version”, which prompted Coverdale to say he wouldn’t even give Plant cat food if he was starving. Still, Coverdale had a fruitful touring and recording career (even recording an album with Jimmy Page), with him being Whitesnake’s only consistent member.
Just as Led Zeppelin broke up following Bonham’s death, Billy Squier’s career took off. His single “Lonely Is The Night” caught quite the airplay request numbers, and was dubbed as the one-man Zeppelin act. “I was very humbled by the ‘one-man Led Zeppelin’ comparisons. They were a band of staggering proportion and incredible vision,” Squier said in one interview.
One of the more extreme cases of Zep-ification, Kingdom Come’s debut single “Get It On” irked Jimmy Page so much, “It can get to the point where it gets past being a compliment and it can be rather annoying. When you’ve got things like Kingdom Come, actually ripping riffs right off, that’s a different thing altogether.” Often referred to as Kingdom Clone, the band was actually enthusiastic with the comparison, saying “We took it as a compliment. Every band, especially young bands, are influenced by somebody, and those influences will surface when you start writing your own stuff.” Surprisingly, the band went on to have a fruitful three-decade career, even announcing a 30th anniversary tour last year.
Greta Van Fleet
The newest kids in this block, Greta Van Fleet surfaced in 2017 with a banging “Highway Tune”. The band saw instant success, with sold-out tours in the way. When reviews came, a singular theme was heard: They sounded like Led Zeppelin. The Golden God himself praised the frontman Josh Kiszka’s abilities, saying he was pretty good. Greta Van Fleet debuted in 2018 with the album Anthem Of The Peaceful Army.