Tommy Shaw of Styx released a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” as a standalone single.
He said the idea came to him when he was considering a third album with Shaw Blades, the band that also included Night Ranger’s Jack Blades. Their second LP, 2006’s Influence, was a set of covers.
“After touring behind two Shaw Blades albums, we discussed a second album of covers and actually recorded a few more,” Shaw said in a statement. “But we never officially set a project into motion.”
Instead, he recorded “Going to California” with assistance from longtime collaborator Will Evankovich and left the track in his archives.
“We recently gave it a listen, and when Styx manager Charlie Brusco suggested we release it now to help fill the musical void that the lockdown had created, it suddenly had a new purpose,” Shaw noted. “We had it mastered here in Nashville and created some artwork, and got it placed on all the streaming platforms. Robert Plant’s original vocal is stellar, but I tried to make it my own while honoring its essence. I hope you enjoy it!”
You can listen to the song below.
“Going to California” appeared on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album in 1971. Plant later said it was about “reflecting on the first years of the group, when I was only about … 20 and was struggling to find myself in the midst of all the craziness of California and the band and the groupies.”
He and Jimmy Page were both impressed by the Laurel Canyon arts movement of the late ’60s, whose leading lights included Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Still & Nash.
“The people who lived in Laurel Canyon avoided us,” Plant said. “They kept clear because we were in the tackiest part of the Sunset Strip with tacky people like Kim Fowley and the GTOs.”