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Watch Sammy Hagar and the Circle Cover Little Richard’s ‘Keep a-Knockin”

Former Van Halen frontman honors the rock pioneer — and sprinkles a bit of Led Zeppelin into the mix with help from Jason Bonham

Sammy Hagar and the Circle’s newest Lockdown Sessions video is a cover of Little Richard’s 1957 classic “Keep a-Knockin,’” which they recorded as a tribute to the late rock & roll pioneer.

“I had the hardest time with this one because every time I came in singing, I started singing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll!’” Hagar wrote. “It took me three damn takes. My favorite drummer and my favorite singer of all time — love this one hope you do too. Long live the music of John Bonham and Little Richard!”

As Hagar indicates, the drum intro to the song is practically identical to John Bonham’s intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll.” His son, Jason Bonham, plays in the Circle. “Jason knows, everyone knows, that John Bonham stole that from Little Richard,” Hagar told Rolling Stone earlier this month. “He’s playing on drums what Little Richard is singing. Our version is fun shit, man. We’re doing it in honor of Little Richard.”

Hagar and the Circle — which also features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and guitarist Vic Johnson — have been posting weekly Lockdown Sessions videos over the past two months. Previous songs include the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and Van Halen’s “Good Enough.”

“What I like about them more than anything is it’s not a whole performance,” Hagar said. “You don’t have to be in physical shape like you do for a two-hour show. I couldn’t do that now, but I could do one song. And my voice is strong. We can get so creative. There’s no pressure. Nobody paid for anything.”

Hagar and the Circle originally planned on touring this summer with Whitesnake and Night Ranger, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to change their plans. Hagar has no idea when they’ll be able to reschedule, but he recently told Rolling Stone that whenever concerts start happening again, he hopes that Van Halen will invite him and Anthony back into the fold for a reunion tour.

“I know that Eddie and I are not done,” he said. “If enough water goes under the bridge before we die, it’ll happen. It has to. God is going to slap us both around if he has to.”