Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Kansas Joe McCoy

When the Levee Breaks

First recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy & Memphis Minnie (1929).
Hit album version by Led Zeppelin (1971).

From the wiki: “The blues song ‘When the Levee Breaks’ was written and first recorded by husband and wife Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929, in reaction to the upheaval caused by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 that ravaged the state of Mississippi and surrounding areas. The flood destroyed tens of thousands of homes and devastated the agricultural economy of the whole Mississippi Basin, forcing people to flee to the cities of the Midwest in search of work and contributing to the ‘Great Migration’ of African Americans to the industrial North in the first half of the 20th century.

“The song was re-worked in 1971 by UK rock group Led Zeppelin, and released as the final track on Led Zeppelin IV. According to Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page, the famous drum performance of John Bonham was a happy accident:

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