“I think when you’re writing songs, when I’m writing songs, it’s really easy to find my real voice, because that’s the voice that I write the lyrics in and come up with the melodies and all that, and it’s just an extension of my speaking voice,” the Heart singer recently told Forbes. “But when people cover your songs that’s the tricky thing, like I’ve heard people cover Beatles songs and I always cringe because it doesn’t matter who it is, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, it never sat right with me, it just didn’t because it wasn’t the authentic, it wasn’t John Lennon.”
Wilson has covered a variety of other artists over the years, both with Heart and on her own solo records. But the important thing, she’s learned, is not straying too far from the song’s original identity.
When Heart Covered Led Zeppelin
She went on to recall when Heart covered Led Zeppelin‘s “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. Following their performance, she got some encouraging words from Robert Plant himself.
“Plant told me, ‘I usually hate when people do ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ I just hate it, because it’s just always wrong but I liked your version,'” she said. “And that was enough said for me, I just thought, ‘Okay, we didn’t blow it, we kept true to the nature of the song. We didn’t try and bend it and make it a big jazz song or something like that.’ It just, although I’ve heard really cool versions of people covering Joni Mitchell songs that go way off, so I just think it varies with the artist.”
Watch Ann and Nancy Wilson Perform ‘Stairway to Heaven’
44 Famous Records You Probably Didn’t Realize Were Covers
Bet you didn’t know somebody else recorded these songs before they got popular.