Immigrant Song – Various Artists

I’ve put together my own vertical sampling of Immigrant Song. I’ve done this with other tunes unknowingly in the past, but now I’m getting organized  so be ready for occasional follow-ups. It’s great fun to mix styles and vintages for musica magnifico. I’m betting that the aficionados will find this vertical concept revolting, which is understandable. That’s fine.

This particular foray was prompted by the opening song for the US version of TGWTDT by Trent Reznor and Karen O. As I said, it’s a great tune and perfect for the film. Karen O fills Robert Plant’s vocals well. It certainly makes you notice how awesome Plant’s voice was.

Before you purist-types start tuning me out, know that I’ve had the Led Zeppelin version for a while. I’m not a huge fan of Led Zeppelin so Immigrant Song doesn’t get much air time in my world. I own it via their Remasters album, which I listen to maybe once every two or three years. Their version is clearly the best of the bunch and this little vertical foray has resulted in me listening to a lot more Led Zeppelin lately. If you need a listen, here’s a cool live version of the Led Zeppelin classic from Rhino’s official YouTube site (their label).

So let’s run through this. By default, I consider the original the best ever, so I don’t rank it. Of the others, here’s how they fall out, ordered by my own preference.

  • Trent Reznor and Karen O mentioned above.
  • Gotthard is a Swiss heavy metal band with 80s hair metal sound and style. They’ve topped Swiss charts at least 11 times. This live version has vocals that, to me, sound much like Scorpions’ lead singer Klaus Meine.
  • Adagio is French art-metal group. This is an instrumental version running about five minutes with a lot of big guitar interpretation along with some funky keyboards and stringed instruments.
  • Ann Wilson is the woman from Heart. She does a very mellow, slow-moving version which is pretty cool.
  • Stryper is a Christian rock group. They stay very true to the original in terms of time and instrumentation. However, they do some weird digital things with the lead singer’s voice. It’s still good stuff.
  • Dread Zeppelin (Dejah-Voodoo version) is a Led Zeppelin cover band. They do Immigrant Song a lot I imagine. This version uses electronica and a dance mix type of vibe, with some harsh vocals tossed in. Odd, but it works.
  • Great White is the 80s hair metal band famous for Once Bitten, Twice Shy. This is a passable live version.
  • Dread Zeppelin (Un-Led-Ed) also did a version in what I’ll call Elvis Mode. They evidently have an Elvis impersonator in the band and he does the vocals. It’s really strange, paced like Ann Wilson’s version but with a reggae feel and Elvis voice. I can’t get behind this.

I’m not sure if I’ll buy any albums of the above groups. Gotthard and Adagio probably have the most potential. I’ll get around to listening to more samples for each this year. We’ll see.

All of these have been in the rotation for weeks now. It probably won’t be long before I’ve had my fill of the song. Be sure, this little exercise has introduced me to a bunch of new music and re-introduced me to some old stuff.