1. Jack White
Remember when “Icky Thump” came out and The White Stripes did that whole quiet-loud-quiet-rip-rip-rip thing? Robert Plant totally set the stage for that exact song structure with “Black Dog,” but White kept the same spirit alive even beyond the Stripes with The Raconteurs and his solo material.
2. Queens of the Stone Age
Led Zeppelin made it possible for bands to sound equally upbeat and freewheeling but totally sinister at the same time. This mix of overtones is totally embodied by Queens of the Stone Age today, especially when Josh Homme’s baritone is crooning above it all.
3. Thee Oh Sees
Zeppelin were also predecessors to approachable punk rock when their songs were straight shredders, influencing The Ramones pretty heavily on their records. The same uptempo chords are manifested best today by San Francisco quartet Thee Oh Sees, down to the unwieldy vocals and guitar of band leader John Dwyer.
4. Kings of Leon
All of Jimmy Page’s guitar ratcheting up the movements of “The Song Remains the Same” are nearly identical to the ones punching up the choruses within Kings of Leon’s “Slow Night, So Long” — the opening track to the record that arguably made them: Aha Shake Heartbreak.
Epic rock bands can make you just as emotional as they can empower you at other times. Zeppelin’s “Rain Song” is a perfect musical foil and frame to one of Radiohead’s most sweeping moments — “Subterranean Homesick Alien” — simulated string arrangement and all.
6. White Denim
One of the things Zeppelin did that perpetually threw listeners for a loop was their seamless shift through random time signatures, as if you were tumbling through a song, but with tact. There’s no one today that embodies this better than White Denim, the four-piece from Austin, Texas whose palette of influence, and daringness to shift the sound of rock, is as rich as this British quartet that precedes them.
7. My Morning Jacket
Zeppelin and MMJ each brought a flavor of reggae to their signature-ripping reverb by a certain point in their careers, creating unexpected moments that reliably fit in with their greater catalogs.
8. Jake Bugg
This baby Brit is stealing hearts worldwide with the same kind of blues-infused countryside stomp in songs that embodied Zeppelin’s lighter side. You can hear the roots of “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” all over Bugg’s “There’s a Beast and We All Feed It.”
9. Fleet Foxes
All it takes is enough layers of acoustic beauty and a ringing echo to transport you without moving. Where Zeppelin established “That’s the Way” is where Fleet Foxes picked up with “Blue Ridge Mountains” decades later.
10. J. Roddy Walston and the Business
The later works of Zeppelin proved that pianos can be as heavy as Jimmy Page’s double-neck guitar. Today, J. Roddy Walston and the Business are keeping the tradition alive of not tickling, but rather slamming on the ivories to drive their rock ‘n’ roll sound.
11. Tame Impala
Tame Impala’s major burner “Mind Mischief” would be nothing without its spaced-out interlocking guitar in a perfect third. Same goes for Jimmy Page’s best parts of “The Ocean” that really pick up just before the song’s two-minute mark.
12. Kurt Vile
This Philadelphian wunderkind singer-songwriter has lighter Zeppelin songs to thank for the wealth of his finger-picked melodies and flowing acoustic atmospheres. That, and the growing legacy of his own incredible long hair.
13. The Mars Volta
We never would have had a screaming, soaring epic like “The Widow” without the groundwork of “Dazed and Confused” — let alone an epic progressive journey on an album like Frances the Mute without Zeppelin daring to take those sonic trips first. We also wouldn’t know how to cope with a band retiring before their time if Zeppelin hadn’t tapped out the way these two did, too.
14. Gary Clark Jr.
Led Zeppelin spent tons of time laying down traditional blues, but only sliding loudly through their own signature wall of fuzz — sounds like something Gary Clark Jr. is certainly used to.
15. The Black Keys
Both these bands are plenty full of iconic riffs that get impossibly stuck in your head more easily than any lyric — riffs so good that other pieces like vocals and organs get locked up right in step. These two tracks do that same exact thing and stick with you at the same time.