Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones has joined 20 musicians from around the globe to record a new version of the blues classic “When The Levee Breaks.”
The song was written by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929, two years after the Great Mississippi Flood that affected 10 states, including Mississippi and Louisiana. Jones’ former supergroup introduced the song to a new generation when it covered the track on the album Led Zeppelin IV.
The new version and its accompanying music video were produced by Sebastian Robertson and Mark Johnson as part of Playing for Change’s Song Around the World initiative. Revenue generated from the song will benefit the charity partners of Peace Through Music, which the report says includes environmental organizations Conservation International, American Rivers, Reverb, the WWF and the Playing For Change Foundation.
Jones was recruited to play bass on the track while 20 other musicians from around the world also recorded their parts individually. They include guitarist Derek Trucks, singer Susan Tedeschi and vocalists including Elle Marja Eira of Norway and Mihirangi of New Zealand.
“It seems that little has changed since 1927, or even 2005 with (Hurricane) Katrina,” Jones told Rolling Stone. “It’s still a really powerful track, both musically and lyrically. … 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.”