1982-84 saw Plant forging ahead with his solo career. Then, in 1984, he teamed up with Page for a one-off project produced
by Nugetre (Ahmet Ertegun), and
the Fabulous Brill Brothers. The EP,
The Honeydrippers: Volume One, featured a
band of mystery musicians
including Jeff Beck and Nile Rodgers.
It was released on Plant's Es Paranza
label and though commercially successful Page
revealed the following year that he and Plant
hadn't been on speaking terms since the
fateful day the previous summer
when the guitarist had overdubbed
his part on the Honeydrippers'
unsolicited hit, Sea of Love.
The differences were patched up as on 13 July 1985
Led Zeppelin reunited at the Live Aid
concert at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. Page, Plant
and Jones, with drummers Tony Thompson
and Phil Collins (who had actually toured
with Plant on his 1983 The Principle of Moments tour)
standing in for the late John Bonham, and Paul Martinez
(from Plant's touring band) performed a lousy
twenty minute set featuring Rock and Roll, Whole Lotta Love
and Stairway to Heaven. Plant had just done three
gigs on the trot resulting in his voice being shot; Page's
roadie handed him a completely out of tune guitar
on which to play Stairway to Heaven, which didn't help.
Peter Grant, now no longer acting as manager for any of them, summed it up best:
'It was diabolical ... it was absolutely horrendous'.
So bad, in fact, that when Live Aid
was released on a four-set DVD in
late 2004, the group unanimously
disallowed usage of footage from their performance
though Page and Plant
donated all proceedings from their Unledded
DVD to the Live Aid charity, and Jones donated a portion of the profits from his US tour with the Mutual Admiration Society toward the charity as well.
In 1986, Page, Plant and Jones
gathered near Peter Gabriel's home at Bath,
England for rehearsals with Thompson
with a view to play again as a group. Thompson
had a car accident so one of Plant's
roadies played drums. For whatever reason (and each
band member has different views) the idea
of reforming quickly fizzled out.
However, Zeppelin did reunite again in
1988 for Atlantic Records' 40th Anniversary concert
for only their second public performance after
Bonham's death. They performed a 31-minute
set, with Jason Bonham (sitting in for his
father, John) joining the remaining three.
The three original members also played with Jason
at Carmen Plant's (Robert's daughter)
21st birthday party, and at Jason's wedding.
1990 came with a new release. The Led Zeppelin four-CD box set collection,
released in November, contained 54 tracks
including two previously unreleased tunes
culled from 1969 BBC broadcasts. The set was remastered by Page.
1990 also saw Plant and Page
play a brief set together at the Knebworth music festival,
which included a rarity from Coda, Wearing and Tearing.
Then it happened. Page and Plant, without Jones,
reunited in 1994 for an MTV Unplugged
performance (dubbed Unledded) which
eventually led to a world tour with a
Middle Eastern orchestra, and an album entitled
No Quarter. 'Page and Plant are Led Zeppelin', John Paul Jones observed in 1998, 'in everything but name'. Why they did it without him has never been satisfactorily explained. It seemed unfair and just plain wrong, and
neither Page or Plant came out of it looking great.
Led Zeppelin's strength was that all
members played a precise and integral part
in the mechanics of the band, and to strip it of
one member meant it just wasn't the same.
Nevertheless, the tour was deemed a success
if success can be only measured by bums on seats.
1995 saw the band inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
It also saw the death of one many saw as the fifth member of
the band, the ex-manager, Peter Grant.
The BBC Sessions followed in 1997.
This release was the first Led Zeppelin album in
more than 15 years and the two-disc set
included almost all of the band's
recordings for the BBC. Atlantic
also released a single edit of Whole Lotta Love
making it the only
Led Zeppelin CD single.
Page and Plant continued their
collaboration with Walking into Clarksdale the following year, the pair's first album-length collaboration on all-new material since
2003 saw a live album and video collections featuring material from the band's
heyday. By the end of the year, the DVD had sold more than 520,000 copies, easily making the list of the most popular DVDs of the year.
Finally, in 2005, Led Zeppelin received a
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. It was the first Grammy the band had received.
1 | 2 |
Led Zeppelin: From Early Days to Page and Plant - Ritchie Yorke