Heartbreaker

What’s in a name? Last Saturday in Azerbaijan, Gerry Dorsey returned to the international stage to represent England at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Of course, he performed under the more familiar moniker of Engelbert Humperdinck and did just enough to finish second last. Even though it sounds completely fabricated, there was a 19th century German composer who actually had that name. Perhaps Engelbert would never have become as famous if he’d remained as just plain old Gerry, but he’s one of numerous entertainers who have decided to use a pseudonym instead of their given name. It’s not as common for music fans to use an alias, but this week I read about one who did just that

Last year, a resident of Illinois decided to change his name from George Blackburn to that of his favourite album. This mightn’t have proved too problematic if he’d picked the titles of the debut albums by the likes of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan or Franz Ferdinand, though that might have been a bit cheeky. He could even have picked a couple of albums named after people who may not be that well known in the States: George Best (by The Wedding Present) and Marcus Garvey (by Burning Spear). However, George’s favourite album was the sophomore effort by an English rock band from 1969, so he legally changed his name to Led Zeppelin II less than a year ago. A big fan of the band, George had wanted to change his name for years and he finally did it following his third divorce. Sadly, he died from a heart attack last week at the age of 64. So, as a tribute to Mr Zeppelin, here are half a dozen interpretations of six classic Zeppelin tracks

Led Zeppelin were pretty good at choosing the right opening tracks for their albums and their second LP begins with one of the best intros in rock music. Whole Lotta Love has been covered many times, though it was never recorded by Elvis. However, a guy called The King does a fine impersonation of Mr Presley on his Return to Splendour record from 2000. Good Times Bad Times originally appeared on Zep’s debut long-player and this acoustic take is available free from Canadian Reid Jamieson‘s website. Jake Shimabukuro from Hawaii performs his instrumental version of Going to California from IV with just four strings on his ukulele album, My Life (2007). All My Love appeared on 1979′s In Through the Out Door and is one of the songs by British bands that Bettye Lavette sang on her 2010 Interpretations album. Immigrant Song was on Led Zeppelin III and this version by Karinne Keithley originally appeared on her website in 2006. The final song below was also the final song on side one of Led Zeppelin II and was one of three rock songs that Tori Amos turned into piano ballads on her 1992 Winter EP. And that leaves me with a big “thank you” to George Blackburn for changing his name to Led Zeppelin II and giving me the idea for this post

Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin cover) – The King

Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin cover) – Reid Jamieson

Going To California (Led Zeppelin cover) – Jake Shimabukuro

All My Love (Led Zeppelin cover) – Bettye LaVette

Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin cover) – Karinne Keithley

Thank You (Led Zeppelin cover) – Tori Amos

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