Idina Menzel Explains Covering Led Zeppelin, Talks Her Younger Sister's Memoir

Idina Menzel
Max Vadukul

Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel has a whole lotta love for Led Zeppelin. Who knew?

The Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer/actress has included Led Zep's "Black Dog" in the set of her 2017 World Tour, pairing it with "Cake" from her 2016 album Idina. "('Cake') always reminded me having a little Zeppelin in it," Menzel tells Billboard, "so I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool to maybe segue into a (Zeppelin) song I love. The funny thing is it's hard to find Zeppelin tunes, lyrically, that fit 'cause they were so high all the time and always talking about meadows and weird, hippie kind of lyrics. 'Cake' is a sexy kind of song, so 'Black Dog' seemed to fit the best. The band was like, 'Who cares? We'll put in a Zeppelin song that fits the groove,' but to me the lyric has to make sense, too."

Menzel's version of "Black Dog" currently lives online, but if the singer has her way there will be some sort of document of the tour that will include it. "I always think 'live album' and they always tell you they don't sell very well," Menzel says. "I love live albums, so it's possible. Or it might be more I go into the studio and record one of the covers I've been doing that people have really been digging. But I'd love to televise (the show) and record it, but it's very expensive, and you don't make a lot of money on (recorded) music these days."

Menzel's latest trek follows her first world tour in 2015 -- featuring, of course, more original music thanks to the Idina album. The tour wraps on Sept. 3 in Phoenix, and Menzel will also take part in the All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers' Farewell Concert Celebration on Oct. 25 in Nashville. Engaged to actor Aaron Lohr, she's planning to "take a little break" but will be doing a non-musical play next year in New York. Her next project is promoting Voice Lessons, a memoir by her younger sister about growing up with a singing star. Menzel wrote the foreword and will be making appearances around the book's fall publication. 

"She wrote this beautiful, poignant book about growing up in her older sister's shadow," says Menzel. "It's not salacious, not that kind of book. She just follows our lives, the trajectory of my career and the different milestones we both had. You hear things about my experiences in different shows I was in and about when I was little, cultivating my voice and how I made my sister eat dirt and taught her about boys. I'm really excited for it to come out."