It has been said that great artists know they have left an indelible mark on the world when their fans sing their words back to them. Surviving members of Led Zeppelin had that happen, in spades, Dec. 26.
Kennedy Center honors were bestowed upon some deserving folks last week as the president and his wife turned out to drape the rainbow-colored ribbons around the necks of some of the most accomplished actors, comedians, and dancers of our day. It’s a high honor for those singled out, but there was a special treat in store for Mssrs. Page, Plant and Jones (nee Baldwin) as a couple of rocking women, the son of original drummer John Bonham, a symphony and a heavenly choir turned out to sing a seminal piece of rock music back to its creators.
It was nice to see the usually implacable Plant well up and Jimmy Page react so enthusiastically to the tribute, and then there was Jason Bonham (and the whole choir, to boot) wearing a bowler hat in tribute to the hard-drinking, hard-drumming Bonham.
Rock survivors honored with a special treatment of a landmark piece of music. Great fun, even if it did inspire music stores around the country to hang “No Stairway to Heaven” signs in a vain attempt to keep thousands of newbie Zep fans from playing the much-admired work in their music rooms – over and over again.
The band will probably never play together again so we’ll take this moment to appreciate their accomplishments and the music they’ve given us… as well as the depth of this tribute from their peers.