John Paul Jones’ Confession About Led Zeppelin Performing The Beatles Hits

At the beginning of their careers, almost every music band performs the classic songs of the legendary acts that came before them. So, it is not surprising that massive bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones actually started their musical journey as cover bands. In a way, this can be perceived as another way for artists to show their creativity by incorporating their own styles into those hit tracks.

Performing covers allows bands to enjoy the music they make because they mostly play from their biggest inspirations. Besides that, it also enables them to connect with their audience more easily since those classics songs are usually crowd-pleasing pieces that most people are fond of listening to.

In the music scene, finding a band that hasn’t covered the other prominent acts at some point in their careers is almost impossible. Led Zeppelin, mostly known for their composing skills and impressive original songs, also covered the Beatles in their early days.

Led Zeppelin’s self-titled debut album arrived in January 1969 while the band was on their first North American tour that had started in December 1968. They completely captured the American audience in those shows with their unique sound. Still, there was one particular gig, the one at the Boston Tea Party on January 26, 1969, signaling their future success due to the crowd’s great interest in the band.

Speaking of that extraordinary concert, Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones told NME in a 1973 interview that it was one of the critical moments in their career. The musician said, “As far as I’m concerned, the key Zeppelin gig, the one that put everything into focus, was one that we played on our first American tour at the Boston Tea Party.”

“We’d played our usual one-hour set, using all the material for the first album and Page’s ‘White Summer’ guitar piece, and by the end, the audience just wouldn’t let us offstage,” John recalled, referring to the audience’s positive reaction to their performance. He added, “It was in such a state that we had to start throwing ideas around, just thinking of songs that we might all know or that some of us knew a part of and work it out from there.”

So, when the crowd wanted to hear more from the band, Led Zeppelin started playing other songs they knew or could quickly figure out, including a few Beatles songs. Jones revealed, “So we’d go back on and play things like ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and ‘Please Please Me,’ old Beatles favorites. I mean, just anything that would come into our head, and the response was quite amazing.”

The musician added, “There were kids actually bashing their heads against the stage – I’ve never seen that at a gig before or since, and when we finally left the stage, we’d played for four-plus hours.” It seems clear that the audience was so mesmerized by Led Zeppelin’s performance at the Boston Tea Party that they didn’t let them offstage. Yet, the band had just one album at the time, so when they ran out of original material, they had to perform pieces from other bands to continue the concert.

Elsewhere in the interview, John Paul Jones also shared that their manager Peter Grant was so happy and overwhelmed by the crowd’s reaction. He began crying and hugged all the Zeppelin members. The bassist also admitted that they realized at that particular show that there was more to come.