As a child, the sound of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” traveled from the Grammy-nominated vocalist Beth Hart’s neighbor’s house into her orbit.
Her brother introduced her to the heavy rock of Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, and her major-label debut came on Atlantic with the 1996 release of ‘Immortal’ – the same label that introduced Led Zeppelin to the world in 1969. Now, Hart is paying tribute to one of the most formative musical influences of her career with the release of ‘A Tribute To Led Zeppelin,’ out February 25th via Provogue/Mascot Label Group. Anchoring the nine-track album is a blistering take on Led Zeppelin’s 1971 hit “Black Dog,” the opening track of their legendary fourth studio album.
At the helm during the recording of ‘A Tribute To Led Zeppelin’ was super-producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance) and engineer Doug McKean (Goo Goo Dolls, Adam Lambert). The A-list musicians include Cavallo on guitar along with Tim Pierce (Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner); on bass was Chris Chaney (Rob Zombie, Slash);on keyboards was Jamie Muhoberac (Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones); on drums was Dorian Crozier (Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus, Joe Cocker), and Matt Laug played drums on Stairway To Heaven (Alanis Morissette, Alice Cooper). Orchestral arrangements were by David Campbell (Muse, Beyoncé). All that was left was the final piece of the puzzle…the voice.
Things clicked into place when Cavallo was producing Hart’s previous album, ‘War In My Mind’ (2019), and she did an impromptu version of “Whole Lotta Love” in the studio. He later asked about doing a whole record. Beth said, “I’m not doing this whole album. To do Zeppelin, you’ve got to be pissed off to hit that right. I can’t go there; I’ve worked years to put my rage away.”
She continues, “then the pandemic and all the things around it hit. So now I’m pissed off. I called my manager and said, have Rob and Doug send me all the music because I am ready to do this.”
If you were to rewind, you could say the story for a Led Zeppelin album started further back; in May 2004 Hart prowled the stage at the Paradiso in Amsterdam for an incendiary performance of “Whole Lotta Love”. The song became a semi-regular fixture in her setlist over the years, including a memorable performance with Slash.
Earlier on in Beth’s career, former VP of Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song label, Alan Callan, recommended Beth contact Jeff Beck to work together. Hart and Beck have gone on to form a beautiful friendship. Beck and Jimmy Page are also friends, and for a while, bandmates in The Yardbirds. After Beck’s departure from the band, they would eventually become Led Zeppelin.
After her phenomenal performance at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors for Buddy Guy, she received a standing ovation from Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones.
Talking about the music and legacy of Zeppelin, she says, “it’s so beautifully done, it’s timeless. It will go on forever. Sometimes people come along, and they’re from another planet, and they make these pieces of art which will forever be.”
Hart is recognized as one of her generation’s most talented voices. She has sold out tours worldwide, including performances at historic venues such as Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, London’s Royal Albert Hall, and the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. She’s topped the Billboard Blues charts six times, gone double platinum and had a string of Top 10 charting albums across Europe.
On a final thought, Beth pauses and reflects to say, “this Zeppelin album allowed me to get all my rage out, and for that, I’m really grateful.”