Happy Birthday Robert Plant: 5 ‘Good Times Bad Times’ Covers
Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant celebrates his 72nd birthday today. While the iconic band is currently in retirement, Plant maintains a steady performance career with his various solo project, though like everyone else his touring has been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Plant’s voice – albeit speaking – can currently be heard on his podcast Digging Deep With Robert Plant that examines songs from his back catalog.
One Led Zeppelin classic yet to be featured on Plant’s podcast is band’s original “Good Times Bad Times.” For many, the first time hearing Led Zeppelin was Plant singing the song’s opening verse, “In the days of my youth, I was taught was it means to be a man,” after drummer John Bonham and guitarist Jimmy Page’s call-and-response count-off. “Good Times Bad Times,” also served as both Zeppelin’s first single and the lead track on the band’s 1969 self-titled debut album.
“Good Times Bad Times” was scarce when it came to Led Zeppelin concerts in the 1960s and 1970s, often partly played as an introduction to “Communication Breakdown” or inside of a medley. Despite its rarity status among Zeppelin setlists, “Good Times Bad Times” has been performed live by countless other musicians influenced by the rock ‘n’ roll legends. Below are five live covers of “Good Times Bad Times” performed by Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Umphrey’s McGee and Marcus King & Billy Strings.
Phish | April 5, 1991 Shared by Cleantones
According to Phish.net, “Good Times Bad Times” has been covered by Phish at least 225 times since its debut during the second set at The Ranch in Shelburne, Vermont on December 6, 1986. Only “Hold Your Head Up” and “Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)” have been covered by Phish more times than “Good Times Bad Times.” The majority of its appearances on Phish setlists have come during the encore. This footage comes at the end of the second set on April 5, 1991 when the band played at Starry Night in Portland, Oregon. Listen for guitarist Trey Anastasio‘s teasing of Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker.”
Dave Matthews Band | June 29, 2013 Captured by ChesterCopperpot5
According to DMBAlmanac.com, Dave Matthews Band debuted their cover of “Good Times Bad Times” on June 24, 2011 during the first night of the inaugural Dave Matthews Band Caravan stop at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey. DMB covered “GTBT” three more times that summer. There was then a 134 show gap between performances of “Good Times Bad Times,” when it was “liberated” at the concert held on June 25, 2013 at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York. Three shows later, Dave Matthews Band covered “Good Times Bad Times” on June 29, 2013 at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey, which was the last time they played it.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | March 10, 2018 Captured by LazyLightning55
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead focuses primarily on covering the songs from the Grateful Dead’s repertoire but the group made up of drummer Joe Russo, keyboardist Marco Benevento, bassist Dave Dreiwitz and guitarists Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton, will at times branch out beyond the Dead’s music. JRAD wrapped a version of the Dead’s “Throwing Stones” performed on March 10, 2018 by segueing into “Good Times Bad Times.” Showing off their range outside of the Grateful Dead, “Good Times Bad Times” then transitioned into The Band’s classic “Chest Fever.” The footage of this sequence appears to show the Zeppelin cover was somewhat unplanned, but given the fact that everyone in the band except for Hamilton is also a member of the instrumental Led Zeppelin tribute band Bustle In Your Hedgerow, the seemingly impromptu performance holds up.
Umphrey’s McGee | March 1, 2019 Captured by Must Have Media
“Good Times Bad Times” entered the Umphrey’s McGee lexicon when the band linked up with drummer Jason Bonham — son of John Bonham — at the 2018 LOCKN’ festival. The performance was the only UM debut during the set with Bonham that also featured covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Dancing Days,” “When the Levee Breaks” with Taylor Hicks on harmonica, “The Song Remains the Same” and “Whole Lotta Love” with Derek Trucks on guitar. UM has since covered “Good Times, Bad Times” two more times, once in October 2018 and again on March 1, 2019 at The Fox Theater in Oakland, California.
King & Strings | May 25, 2018 Captured by pieceofwork35
Guitarists Marcus King and Billy Strings had not yet met in-person when their debut collaborative King & Strings live performance was announced as part of the 2018 Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival at Pop’s Farm in Martinsville, Virginia. For their covers-filled set, King and Strings were backed by drummer Jeff Sipe of Aquarium Rescue Unit fame and Strings’ band composed of bassist Royal Masat, banjoist Billy Failing and mandolinist Jarrod Walker. Meeting for the first time hours before taking the Rooster Walk stage together, King and Strings delivered an impressive set that saw Strings moving between acoustic and electric guitar. Billy also sang lead on their cover of “Good Times Bad Times.”