Led Zeppelin: Our music was pretty radical says Jimmy Page
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Queen’s Live Aid performance has gone down in history as their greatest show, but across the pond, Led Zeppelin’s 1985 reunion is not so fondly remembered. Following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones decided to disband. But when the American Live Aid charity gig came up five years later, a reunion was planned.
However, Led Zeppelin’s three-song set at the JFK Stadium in Philadelphia ended up being a bit of a disaster.
Both Tony Thompson and Phil Collins were recruited on the drums but struggled due to a lack of rehearsal, while Plant somewhat lost his voice on stage.
And now Page has admitted his regrets over the long-awaited Led Zeppelin reunion.
According to The Times, the 77-year-old said at Cheltenham Literature Festival that the band only had two hours to rehearse Rock And Roll, Whole Lotta Love and Stairway To Heaven.
Page said: “The drummer couldn’t get the beginning of Rock and Roll, so we were in real trouble with that, that was really not very clever.”
Last year Collins opened up on the disastrous Live Aid performance and his feud with the Led Zeppelin guitarist.
Speaking with Classic Rock, the Genesis drummer said: “By the time I got there, me and Robert and Jimmy playing together had become The Second Coming Of Led Zeppelin – John Paul Jones was there too.
“Jimmy says, ‘We need to rehearse.’ And I said: ‘Can’t we just go on stage and have a play?’”
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Collins said how he didn’t rehearse when he got there but had listened to Stairway To Heaven on Concorde.
The drummer continued: “I arrived and went to the caravans, and Robert said, ‘Jimmy Page is belligerent.’
“Page says, ‘We’ve been rehearsing!’ And I said, ‘I saw your first gig in London, I know the stuff!’ He says, ‘Alright, how does it go, then?’
“So I sort of… [mimes the Stairway To Heaven drum part], and Page says, ‘No, it doesn’t! It doesn’t go like that.’”
Collins added: “So I had a word with [co-drummer] Tony Thompson – cos I’ve played as two drummers a lot and it can be a train wreck – and I say, ‘Let’s stay out of each other’s way and play simple.’
“Thompson, rest his soul, had rehearsed for a week, and I’m about to steal his thunder – the famous drummer’s arrived! – and he kind of did what he wanted to do.
“Robert wasn’t match-fit. And if I could have walked off, I would have done, cos I wasn’t needed and I felt like a spare part.”
Asked if he could tell the Led Zeppelin reunion was going badly, Collins didn’t hold back.
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Collins said: “Yeah, frankly. But we’d all have been talking for thirty years about why I walked off stage if I’d done it, so I stayed there.
“Anyway, we came off, and we got interviewed by MTV. And Robert is a diamond, but when those guys get together a black cloud appears.
“Then Page says, ‘One drummer was halfway across the Atlantic and didn’t know the stuff.’”
“And I got p***ed off. Maybe I didn’t know it as well as he’d like me to have done, but… I became the flagship, and it looked like I was showing off.”
SOURCES: THE TIMES, CLASSIC ROCK
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