Join 3,554 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The tune will come to you at last.
December 28, 2012 10:52 AM   Subscribe

At the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on December 2nd, the Kennedy Center honored Led Zeppelin, with an introduction by Jack Black, a nod from President Obama, and a tribute from the Foo Fighters. But the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Heart, a choir and a small orchestra covering Stairway to Heaven while Led Zeppelin watched from the front row.
posted by Lutoslawski (138 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn. Anne Wilson sounds amazingly like Robert Plant.

I know that song is sort of cliché now but it is just about the most fun thing in the world to play.
posted by bondcliff at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oooh oooh oohh! Thank you! I love this.
posted by arcticseal at 11:03 AM on December 28, 2012


Who asked Kid Rock to participate in the Led Zeppelin tribute? Because that happened, and the only good part was the cut to Michelle Obama shaking her head.
posted by sallybrown at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


Thankyou.
posted by infini at 11:05 AM on December 28, 2012


Robert Plant is not a man that is easily impressed, but you can see in this instance that he's really digging what the Wilson sisters are doing. He's even moved to tears.

I'm kind of hot and cold on Heart overall but I think Ann Wilson is one of the greatest singers in rock. She's fantastic.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:09 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


Lindsay: What's the matter?
Nick: John Bonham died.
Lindsay: Yeah. I know. Last week.
Nick: He's dead. You know? It's like he's dead. And as a result there's no more Led Zeppelin.
Lindsay: Well why don't they just get a new drummer?
Nick: Are you— ? Just forget it.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:10 AM on December 28, 2012 [33 favorites]


The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

And so why not award them to a British band that is infamous for shamelessly plundering from American artists?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:11 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whoa. Is that Carl Kasell doing the introductions? Awesome.

Seriously though, watching John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page look positively beatific and proud throughout -- and Plant trying so hard to remain absolutely cool until he simply cannot help but smile -- is just the best thing. Thank you.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:14 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Led Zeppelin was watching from the balcony, not the front row, thus your argument is invalid.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:14 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


that Heart clip is like a Simpson's parody.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


And so why not award them to a British band that is infamous for shamelessly plundering from American artists?

Because they are performing artists who have made significant contributions to American culture over their lifetime.
posted by bondcliff at 11:18 AM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Robert Plant is not a man that is easily impressed, but you can see in this instance that he's really digging what the Wilson sisters are doing. He's even moved to tears.

The Kennedy honorees often do cry. I remember Julie Andrews tearing up, and fellow honoreee Jack Nicholson pulling out his breast pocket handkerchief and offering it to her with his usual air of insouciance and Cheshire cat grin, and her graciously thanking him and daintily dabbing at her eyes. Luciano Pavarotti, was also honoured that night, and put his hands to his face while his shoulders shook, but Jack did not offer him his handkerchief. Though it's fair to add that Luciano did have his own.
posted by orange swan at 11:20 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no idea how much Jimmy Page resembles Joe Biden these days.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anne Wilson sounds amazingly like Robert Plant.

Be careful what you say about her, she'll go crazy on you, cray-yazy on yuooooooo.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2012 [25 favorites]


Also, great to see Dave on the skins as always.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:23 AM on December 28, 2012


Later, it's revealed that Jack Nicholson has a vast collection of women's tears in an atmospherically controlled secret vault beneath his homelair.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:25 AM on December 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


I was glad to see him on drums, too, because lord knows he and Taylor really fucked up their earlier attempt at covering Led Zep in their traditional FF roles.
posted by drlith at 11:27 AM on December 28, 2012


God, is there anything more painful than someone trying to perform your most famously cliched product in front of you? And yet somehow I think they managed to do it: just the right mix of spot-on re-creation (Ann Wilson, yes please) and some additional ante-upping from the choirs.

The clip is worth it for the spots of Yo-Yo Ma rocking out and the Obamas trying emphatically not to. To their credit, though, I believe they rocked out to the Emily Post-appropriate amount.
posted by Madamina at 11:28 AM on December 28, 2012 [15 favorites]


I saw Heart in 96 at a two-day event in Moncton, NB. Thy did a zeppelin cover then and it was one of the most memorable parts of the concert.
posted by Brodiggitty at 11:30 AM on December 28, 2012


I think the Wilson sisters, Grohl, et. al. did the tune justice, and I loved the reaction shots of Page, Plant, and Jones. They did seem genuinely touched. I wasn't overwhelmed by the lead guitarist's take on this, but he seemed intent on not trying to do Page's greatest-guitar-solo-of-all-time note for note, so his effort was tasteful if somewhat reserved. it was still well done.

Short of inventing a time machine and/or reanimating Bonzo's corpse, I'm not sure what else you can do with this tune.

Overall: better and more convincing than I was expecting.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by mosk at 11:40 AM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reanimate Bonzo! Reanimate Bonzo! Reanimate Bonzo!
posted by mannequito at 11:41 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just watched the clip. It's awesome that Led Zeppelin really seemed to enjoy the performance, and be all, "This is the Best Damn Cover of Stairway to Heaven *ever*".

The drummer's little homage to Led Zeppelin at the end was adorable. I bet he'll consider that one of the highlights of his career.

Also, that must be the first time I ever saw Jack Black look clean.
posted by orange swan at 11:43 AM on December 28, 2012


I love that it took a woman to finally capture and project the power that those songs need to work. The other covers were kinda... meh.
posted by klanawa at 11:46 AM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whole thing was kind of a smack in Buddy Guy's face, I thought.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:47 AM on December 28, 2012


Also, great to see Dave on the skins as always.

Grohl was also so freaking great with the living remainder of Nirvana + Sir Paul on SNL a few weeks ago. Absolutely blew away my expectations (which, granted, were so very low).

I'd post the link here if I could find a good one but NBC makes this really hard to do. Find it if you can, it was a great performance.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:50 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whole thing was kind of a smack in Buddy Guy's face, I thought.

He got a pretty great tribute of his own, just earlier in the night (at least as it was edited for broadcast). Tracey Chapman, Jeff Beck, Beth Hart (with an interesting cover of "I'd Rather Go Blind"), and the ever-awesome Bonnie Raitt.
posted by sallybrown at 11:51 AM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


101 Stairways to Heaven. I highly recommend the Leningrad Cowboys with Red Army Men's Chorus (direct mp3 link) version. It's blissfully absurd.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


The drummer's little homage to Led Zeppelin at the end was adorable. I bet he'll consider that one of the highlights of his career.

The drummer was Jason Bonham, John Bonham's son. He was the drummer for their one and only reunion concert in 2007.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:52 AM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dang, I misted up a little bit at that. Awesome.
posted by darkstar at 11:55 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you for not linking up the Kid Rock tribute in all of this, because I was really disappointed that there wasn't more flashing lights during his performance. I'm sure others would have been too. You did us all a great service. Thank you again.

(since someone is undoubtedly going to ask: here.)
posted by mrzer0 at 11:56 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was Jason playing on his dad's original drum kit or is it some kind of tribute set?
posted by wabbittwax at 11:57 AM on December 28, 2012


I love how in so many reaction shots of the Obamas (at this event and elsewhere), the President has his goofy grin while Michelle is laughing, I assume at something he just said. They always seem to have such fun with each other all the time, it's really wonderful to see. (For instance, check out ~17 seconds into the Foo Fighters video.)
posted by LooseFilter at 11:59 AM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is Kid Rock still around?
posted by bondcliff at 12:00 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


How big would your balls have to be to play Jimmy Page's guitar solo while he watched?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:04 PM on December 28, 2012 [34 favorites]


Jack Black's eulogy was short and sweet, but the rest of the funeral dragged on endlessly.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Having just watched the Stairway to Heaven tribute, I was prepared to hate it, but I was impressed. Just enough embellishment with all the extra musicians and singers, and enough note for note transcription, just what a tribute should be. It shows the respect that the musicians know they can't do what Zeppelin did, but maybe they can pay tribute and show their respect. It must be weird to be an iconic rock and roll star from one of the biggest, most influential bands, and to sit and watch someone else play your biggest song. It's not my favorite song of theirs, but it's definitely pretty special as far as popular music goes, and they knew it when they recorded it. So, it just must be strange to be honored in that way. Then imagine being the musicians in this case knowing that you're playing this huge hit song in front of the band that originated it for their honor. Takes pantalones, that's for sure.
posted by Eekacat at 12:13 PM on December 28, 2012


Choirs always up the ante. :)
posted by LN at 12:17 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is Kid Rock still around?

This is why. You're welcome.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:19 PM on December 28, 2012


I saw Heart in 96 at a two-day event in Moncton, NB. Thy did a zeppelin cover then and it was one of the most memorable parts of the concert.

Was it "Battle of Evermore"? That song was included on the Singles soundtrack, where they are credited as The Lovemongers.
posted by terrapin at 12:20 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


More Heart (d.b.a. The Lovemongers) doing Led Zep.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oops, jinx.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


*hands tonycpsu a cola drink*
posted by terrapin at 12:22 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love that Page can't help but get dragged into the feel of the song. You can almost see how badly he seems to want to grab a guitar and jump right in there. Brilliant.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 12:23 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why is Kid Rock still around?

This is why. You're welcome.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot


Seriously? Wow. The biggest wanker of TV food with one of the biggest wankers of music. All in one place. How quaint!
posted by Eekacat at 12:24 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It took me about as long as Robert Plant to warm up to it. "Damn it, Metafilter" I thought. "I'm on metered bandwidth here, I can't be wasting it on tepid tributes!" Then finally Ann Wilson brought it.

I was waiting for her to bring it.
posted by annathea at 12:26 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


A gospel choir in bowler hats. Your argument is invalid.

The first time I saw this, I was kinda meh. On subsequent viewings, the small details really drew me in:

Robert mouthing "my God" when the choir was revealed, as well as the tears in his eyes. -- Jimmy's smile. -- Jason's look upward near the very end and his point out to his dad's mates. -- How damn happy Lenny and Dave look applauding them.

Oh shit; I guess this means I still have a heart. Don't tell my old man, 'k?
posted by xena at 12:31 PM on December 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


"Rock and Roll" was a staple of Heart concerts for years - frequently the encore.

I've been listening to a lot of 70's era Heart lately and remembering how few women there were in rock back then (and how its still lopsided male now). The Wilson sisters broke ground and wrote some fantastic songs. I don't care for their 80's output (which was written by other writers), but "Magic Man," "Barracuda," and "Crazy On You" are some of the better staples of classic rock radio.

Also, until watching this, I was unaware that Jimmy Page had the muscles that allowed him to smile, so it was a pleasure seeing him beaming.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:32 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, and this needs to be said every time it can possibly be said, Pat Smear (guitarist in the Foo Fighters performance in case you don't know) is the coolest man in the entire world.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I had no idea how much Jimmy Page resembles Joe Biden these days.

Whatever. Let's just say I'm not chucking Jimmy Page out of bed for eating crisps.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


God, is there anything more painful than someone trying to perform your most famously cliched product in front of you? And yet somehow I think they managed to do it: just the right mix of spot-on re-creation (Ann Wilson, yes please)

historic note: I was lucky enough to have Heart play my high school back in around 1974 (while they were still a bar band, albeit a strong one, before they'd recorded their first album). They played Stairway at that gig, did a damned good job of it, as I recall. Better than any other local band of the era ever managed. They also did a kickass version of Yes's Roundabout. Hot band.
posted by philip-random at 12:37 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I had no idea how much Jimmy Page resembles Joe Biden these days.
posted by entropicamericana


Also, when did Robert Plant turn into Kurt Vonnegut?
posted by COBRA! at 12:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Inconvenient truth.
posted by punkfloyd at 12:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this. I watched it on TV and I was floored. Funny how time is the great equalizer. I was standing 3 feet from Robert Plant at the Austin Music Awards this year and I didn't realize who he was until my friend smacked me and clued me in. He seemed so calm and old.
posted by PuppyCat at 12:45 PM on December 28, 2012


Page now looks like a cool old hippie science teacher.
posted by davebush at 12:49 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Whatever. Let's just say I'm not chucking Jimmy Page out of bed for eating crisps.

Resembling Joe Biden isn't meant as an insult. At least I hope not, lest Leslie Knope hear that sacrilege.
posted by kmz at 1:03 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tracey Chapman, Jeff Beck, Beth Hart (with an interesting cover of "I'd Rather Go Blind"), and the ever-awesome Bonnie Raitt.

Honestly, if Jeff Beck played during the part of the concert for Buddy Guy, that seems like way more of a compliment to Guy than anything Zeppelin got: Jeff Beck is one of the Jimmy Page's contemporaries, and he's playing in the concert for Guy. (He's also played with Guy.)
posted by kenko at 1:07 PM on December 28, 2012


Pat Smear...is the coolest man in the entire world.

Exhibit A: as a teenager, he was an extra in Prince's video for "Raspberry Beret." The director tried to toss him out because he couldn't dance, but as was trudging off, Prince himself called him back because he liked Pat's style (at the time, dreads).
posted by Beardman at 1:11 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Loved this video.

I felt a mixture of "awesome" and "sad" that reminded me of another video I found on Metafilter back in the day: Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nail's Hurt.
posted by jragon at 1:15 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


CBS Sunday Morning interviewed the band two weeks ago (w/ video): Reliving the epic rock of Led Zeppelin.
posted by ericb at 1:23 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is Kid Rock still around?
Who?
How big would your balls have to be to play Jimmy Page's guitar solo while he watched?
...hold my beer.

Having just watched the Stairway to Heaven tribute, I was prepared to hate it, but I was impressed.

I agree. Too many people think of brevity as uncreative. But if you have a way with ... talk ... good... you can do the thing with speaking short n'whatnot.
And Jack Black no less. And it's got a nice 70's feel to it. Although I'm getting a Robert Evans vibe from Jack Black.
Which, actually is probably appropriate.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:28 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pat Smear...is the coolest man in the entire world.

Exhibit A: as a teenager, he was an extra in Prince's video for "Raspberry Beret." The director tried to toss him out because he couldn't dance, but as was trudging off, Prince himself called him back because he liked Pat's style (at the time, dreads).


I beg to differ, Exhibit A should really be this.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


As others have noted, so many fine little moments: David Letterman's wife exclaims something when the choir behind the drum riser kicks in, Plant wiping away the tears, a look between Jones and Plant when the Wilsons hit their groove, the gospel choir wearing bowler hats, Yo-Yo Ma tripping out during the solo.

Ann Wilson really brought it. Nancy didn't have much to do, other than play one of the most famous intros in rock in front of its composer and the President of the United States, so no big deal there. And Jason, damn. You can talk about Grohl, or say Jimmy Chamberlin, and all the current greats, but no one can channel rock's greatest drummer like his own flesh n' blood.

For the record, Robert Plant looks most like King Theoden.
posted by Ber at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Squeeze my lemon, indeed.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:38 PM on December 28, 2012


Dave Letterman had Led Zeppelin on Late Night to talk about the Kennedy Center Honors and other things: clips - 1 | 2 | 3.
posted by ericb at 1:43 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine told me the other night, after watching this, that he thought Jimmy Page looked like Michio Kaku.
I scoffed.
Watching just now, I kinda see what he's talking about.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:50 PM on December 28, 2012


Ann Wilson really brought it.

She sure did, and I say that as someone who's never been a fan of hers or of Heart. I actually got teary-eyed listening to her.

Ann Wilson was a good and unusual choice to sing that song. I would have expected to see someone like Adam Levine.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:55 PM on December 28, 2012


President Obama's tribute to Led Zeppelin at the White House. [on preview -- see that this video clip is in the FPP. Ooops.]
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on December 28, 2012



Also, great to see Dave on the skins as always


Am I misunderstanding? Jason Bonham was on drums not Dave Grohl.

Also: Zeppelin rules!
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:03 PM on December 28, 2012


Ann Wilson was a good and unusual choice to sing that song. I would have expected to see someone like Adam Levine.

The Kennedy Center Honors always has an interesting mixed bag of performers in their tributes; some I'd never think would be good matches to the material, but do brilliantly, and some who, welp, don't. The year Bruce Springsteen was honored saw his songs performed by Melissa Etheridge, Eddie Vedder, and Sting, among others (I've purposefully skipped the others here; you can find them all on YouTube).

Jon Stewart's intro to that one won't be topped in the near future, I think.

And everything works better with a gospel choir.
posted by tzikeh at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Am I misunderstanding? Jason Bonham was on drums not Dave Grohl.

Grohl was on the drums when the Foo Fighters were performing, not during "Stairway to Heaven."
posted by tzikeh at 2:06 PM on December 28, 2012



And so why not award them to a British band that is infamous for shamelessly plundering from American artists?


Oh for fux sake not this Freshman tirade.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:08 PM on December 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


And everything works better with a gospel choir.

No. This cliched award show staple normally makes things worse. It's a crutch that doesn't work, especially within a rock and roll context.
posted by davebush at 2:14 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The drummer was Jason Bonham, John Bonham's son. He was the drummer for their one and only reunion concert in 2007.

He's also currently touring/performing with his tribute band: Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience.
posted by ericb at 2:15 PM on December 28, 2012


I'm so depressed at how old and frail these men have become. I kind of fixed them in my mind as sort of 40ish.
posted by humanfont at 2:19 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love this and I hate this, because they are old now, and so am I. My favorite band of ever.
posted by little mouth at 2:22 PM on December 28, 2012


Was that Lou Marini on sax?
posted by datawrangler at 2:25 PM on December 28, 2012


I'd written Heart off as '80s cheese... and then this. Holy shit. That was amazing. Respect.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:30 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm so depressed at how old and frail these men have become.

Well, to be fair (or at least honest), I think Page looks healthier now than he did near the end of Led Zep's run as a band. His skin certainly has more color now (or colour, if you prefer). Frankly, I think it's a miracle Page is still with us. But there's no question that Plant's face is wearing his years, whereas Jones still looks like Jones. Of course, they packed a lot of living into their 20's and early 30's, and that's bound to catch up with you.
posted by mosk at 2:33 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


> I'm so depressed at how old and frail these men have become. I kind of fixed them in my mind as sort of 40ish.

That's how I felt during their appearance on Letterman, which was preceded by Dave's endless rambling about the day's events. All that was missing was talk of onions and belts.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


That fill at 2:55 is damn tasty.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:36 PM on December 28, 2012


Shit, that reference is almost 20 years old. *sigh* So it goes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:38 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's how I felt during their appearance on Letterman, which was preceded by Dave's endless rambling about the day's events. All that was missing was talk of onions and belts.

I would say that David Letterman has become a parody of himself, except that David Letterman has made a career of being a parody of himself. So I guess that David Letterman has become a sincerity of himself. Which is sad.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:39 PM on December 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's Jason Bonham's little look upward right toward the end that gets to me. It's as if he's thinking, "This is for you, dad." Made me teary-eyed.
posted by jessian at 2:51 PM on December 28, 2012


I'm so depressed at how old and frail these men have become.

Frail? They don't come across as such in their CBS Sunday Morning interview (posted above).
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would say that David Letterman has become a parody of himself, except that David Letterman has made a career of being a parody of himself. So I guess that David Letterman has become a sincerity of himself. Which is sad.

I think it's more like Dave was a parody of himself because he wanted to be an entertainer, but was uncomfortable in his own skin. Now that he has aged and mellowed, he is comfortable being himself and is finally letting some of the real out. But I'm a fan, and I've really enjoyed seeing him mature over the years.
posted by gjc at 3:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who was the lead guitarist? He seemed pretty obscure to be given that gig. I wish Prince had been available.
posted by Balok at 3:25 PM on December 28, 2012


Who is doing the guitar solo in the Stairway tribute? Not Nancy Wilson, but the electric guitar. I am always so nervous for the performers at these sorts of things, the guts it takes to perform someone's biggest sings back to them. Ann Wilson's incredible rock voice was so perfect for this.
posted by marylynn at 3:27 PM on December 28, 2012


Shayne Fontane. That's who they let play the solo to Stairway to Heaven in front of Jimmy Page?

Better choices, obviously:

Prince
Jeff Beck
Jack White (he was there!)
Eric Clapton
Slash
Alex Lifeson
Dave Gilmour

or they could have gotten a great blues guitarist like
Robert Cray
BB King
Buddy Guy (he was there!)

The list goes on and on...this was a case of playing it way too safe. Maybe they didn't want the solo to overwhelm the song. Still. I wish Prince had been there.
posted by Balok at 3:36 PM on December 28, 2012


I'm still partial to Rolf Harris's wobble board and diggeridoo version. Get ready for the good bit at 1:13.
posted by Paul Slade at 3:36 PM on December 28, 2012


Wow - thank you. That was an awesome rendition of an awesome song.

I have had a mad crush on Ann Wilson for some time now. This video just made it even worse :)
posted by jammy at 3:41 PM on December 28, 2012


Sorry, meant to hyperlink Prince, from his immortal performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction of George Harrison.
posted by Balok at 3:46 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


For the record, Robert Plant looks most like King Theoden.

You have to think that if you could travel back to 1970 and tell the young Plant that this is where he was headed, he'd be pretty enthused.

Also: Cameron Crowe must be in the crowd totally shitting his pants during that performance.
posted by COBRA! at 3:47 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every goddamn time I watch one of the Kennedy Center Honors clips, I just can't help but cry a little at some point. That's not just a mark of my enjoyment of the pieces, it's just so goddamn emotional. There's the fucking President of the United States and the First Lady and who knows who else with a room full of people all gathered to honor a particular artist who is sitting right there just watching it happen, soaking in the affection and respect and love from their entire culture for a life's work of creative majesty. I just can't help it, nor do I want to. Makes me cry. Thanks for reminding me of the Stewart / Springsteen / Sting one, tzikeh.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:51 PM on December 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


When my young, Broadway/classical/R&B/jazz-influenced self first heard Ann Wilson's incredible singing way back in the day I wished I could also hear her try other styles. Cos she really is an incredible voice. That said, I wasn't super wild about this performance.
But yes, Heart's covers of "Rock and Roll" are great. [And then there's AW's hairs-on-your-neck-standing-up take on another rock/R&B classic, http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5G5_ULLmzOY ]
posted by NorthernLite at 3:53 PM on December 28, 2012


They should have done the Stairway to Heaven Jimmy Page solo on harmonica.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:01 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to read the comments about how the Led Zep boys look really old, and how some people never realized that Heart was anything more than the schlock they produced in the 80s.

Robert Plant and Ann Wilson are contemporaries. He is 64 years old, she is 62. I'd be surprised if Led Zeppelin and Heart never shared a stage in their heydays.

I've got to echo wabbitwax here. Ann Wilson is one of rock's all-time great singers. And she just keeps on rocking.
posted by Balonious Assault at 4:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Boy, Anne sure didn't stray far from the studio cut of that song. I dunno, maybe that was appropriate for the occasion, but I think she has the chops to do a little more with it.
posted by klarck at 4:16 PM on December 28, 2012


Boy, Anne sure didn't stray far from the studio cut of that song. I dunno, maybe that was appropriate for the occasion, but I think she has the chops to do a little more with it.

No, the chops are in keeping up with it. You try to follow Plant's vocals. Ann did fantastic - no surprise, though. You cannot talk about 70s classic rock without Heart; Magic Man in particular is just a tour de force.

It is very odd to look at Plant now, weathered and wise. I always wished I had just an ounce of his confidence and strut when I was younger.

I feel very old now.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:23 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm still partial to Rolf Harris's wobble board and diggeridoo version...

The best cover version of this song (from Australia, or otherwise) is by The Australian Doors.
posted by ovvl at 4:28 PM on December 28, 2012


I wasn't all that impressed with the performance, what I dug was the vibe.

It was like there.
posted by Mike Mongo at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2012


Quite the compliment to play one of a band's most well-known songs, and have them smile and nod along with the music. That, right there, is awesome.
posted by mrbill at 4:45 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah. When I played it for them, they were all: Who the Hell are you? Let us go! Constable! Nary a smile or a nod in the bunch.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


When my young, Broadway/classical/R&B/jazz-influenced self first heard Ann Wilson's incredible singing way back in the day I wished I could also hear her try other styles.

Well then I wish you could’ve experienced my evening a few years back as Ann Wilson serenaded me with a sultry, bluesy, cabaret version of “The Man That Got Away.” She was an original cast member at Seattle’s Teatro ZinZannia part vaudevillian circus/part dinner theater performance—playing the Chanteuse, a role she developed for the troupe. One does not soon forget a roomful of guests in amusement and awe as I, in full blush under Wilson’s feather boa wrapped around my head, was privy to a full verse from that Voice (oh, what a voice) whispered seductively into my ear. Wilson embodied her role so well, and clearly was in love with the music and venue.

Here’s a clip of Wilson singing “God Bless the Child” at Teatro ZinZanni.
posted by prinado at 5:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, COBRA!. Sorry to break it to ya, buddy, but Cameron Crowe and Nancy Wilson are no longer married, though I suppose he could have been there as a friend of Led Zep, considering he was the only writer at Rolling Stone to take them seriously during their heyday.

Also, re: playing Jimmy Page's most famous guitar solo back to him note for note. I wonder if Jimmy Page knows that solo as well as freaks like me that quite literally worshiped Zeppelin in their formative years. Sure, he recorded that solo, and has played it in one form or another hundreds of times, but I don't think it's at all a stretch to say that he hasn't _listened_ to the original recording anywhere near as many times as the freaks aforementioned.
posted by eric1halfb at 5:16 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked it despite Annie Wilson, whose voice to my ears, sounds unauthentic, overly-dramatic and arty. Her enunciation on "buying" at the end of the song? Gimme a break!

Anyway. Jimmy Page had that look where he wanted to be sent back into the game. He's one of my top guitarists: Allman, Page, Garcia...

What do the kids listen to for the final prom dance these days?
posted by noaccident at 5:17 PM on December 28, 2012


Also: Cameron Crowe must be in the crowd totally shitting his pants during that performance.

Because Nancy isn't his special lady anymore? (on preview, jinx eric1halfb!)? That right there was pretty much my favorite couple ever...

I guess now I'll just let Plant and Nancy Griffin take the lead in that contest. No big deal.
posted by youandiandaflame at 5:18 PM on December 28, 2012


Loved it. Still love Dolly Parton more, though.
posted by PapaLobo at 5:21 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Who was the woman behind Page? He's no longer married and I was surprised to see him there with a woman his age.
posted by Ber at 5:24 PM on December 28, 2012


mcstayinskool: "Leningrad Cowboys with Red Army Men's Chorus (direct mp3 link) version. It's blissfully absurd."

Oh my god. I almost pissed myself.
posted by notsnot at 6:12 PM on December 28, 2012


The Kennedy honorees often do cry. I remember Julie Andrews tearing up, and fellow honoreee Jack Nicholson pulling out his breast pocket handkerchief and offering it to her with his usual air of insouciance and Cheshire cat grin, and her graciously thanking him and daintily dabbing at her eyes.

I remember when they inducted Steven Spielberg - they had a choir come out and sing "Make our Garden Grow" from the show Candide for him, not because it was featured in anything, I guess it was just one of his favorite songs or something - and he was misty-eyed throughout the song, trying to keep a stiff upper lip. But then, at the very end of the song - the choir was holding the final chord, the orchestra was rising to a finale - they lowered a cutout of the moon with the ET-on-a-bike silhouette in front of it onto the stage. And when he saw it, Steven Spielberg completely lost it and so did I.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:12 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do you need the choir? Because even with Ann Wilson's impressive performance, there's still room for them to fill the aural real estate of Robert Plant's voice.

This is as good a place as any to link to my favourite YouTube clip: Foo Fighters performing Rock and Roll at Wembley WITH Jimy Page and JPJ. Now that's a good time.
posted by dry white toast at 6:45 PM on December 28, 2012


dry white toast: I think USAians are blocked from that link.
posted by artdrectr at 6:51 PM on December 28, 2012


Zep is trying not too look like they're completely digging it. But at 4:20 Plant says "my god"...and Page says "wow! fuck!"
In fact, they are seeing Stairway performed in a way, possibly better, than they could ever perform it themselves.

Kudos to the music director. Who is?
posted by artdrectr at 7:14 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, yes, Ann's vocals are amazing, especially on the last verse, but am I really the only one who's scandalized because they skipped a bit, the bit which includes my favorite lines in the song, "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now, it's just a spring clean for the may queen"?

Those are the first lines I ever learned in the song, unlike most everyone else who just mumbles past that part because it seems to consist of a bunch of gibberish syllables. Even knowing the words, I didn't actually understand their meaning for years, until one day the visual with the hedgerow and the mayqueen and everything suddenly dawned on me (I was maybe 16 when this happened, sue me!)
posted by lesli212 at 7:33 PM on December 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Props to the Wilsons, but I got to say that Lenny Kravitz and the guitar lead for Whole Lotta Love were amazing. You can just tell the difference of presence between the various performers.
posted by jadepearl at 7:50 PM on December 28, 2012


Oh for fux sake not this Freshman tirade.

Well, either you're bothered by the fact that Led Zeppelin outright stole huge chunks of material and passed it off as their own (until they were sued by everyone under the sun and made to give credit where it was due), or you're not. It's still a fact.

Granted, when they stole those songs, they at least made them awesome.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:56 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


King Theoden, Biden, y'all are all wrong. Robert Plant has been replaced with Kyle McLachlan.

And Ann Wilson is maybe the only person alive who could have pulled that off. I know for certain no man alive could have done it.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:29 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


GAH! I mean Jimmy Page is Kyle McLachlan!

I'm sorry. I'm the worst...
posted by Navelgazer at 8:35 PM on December 28, 2012


His name is a killing note.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:46 PM on December 28, 2012


Sys Rq: "Granted, when they stole those songs, they at least made them awesome."

Yes. There's no defending their lack of attribution, but hearing the source songs followed by the Led Zeppelin versions is like looking a landscape painted by a folk artist and then one by Thomas Cole.
posted by absqua at 8:52 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brief aside: Lez Zeppelin (all female Zep cover band) kicks serious ass.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:44 PM on December 28, 2012


Tracy Chapman's performance of Hound Dog was pretty damn good.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:46 PM on December 28, 2012


Here's Lenny Kravitz's "Whole Lotta Love" from the tribute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


but hearing the source songs followed by the Led Zeppelin versions is like looking a landscape painted by a folk artist and then one by Thomas Cole.

they made them their own
posted by philip-random at 11:02 PM on December 28, 2012


Bonzo bowler hat | Jason was wearing one... when the bowler behatted choir was revealed, it was at that moment tears spilt from Plant's eyes. Mine, too.
posted by maggieb at 11:05 PM on December 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


It was okay. It just makes me want to go back and listen to the studio version, which can't be improved. I don't care how uncool or supposedly overplayed it is - I could listen to that song over and over and over again. Such a beautiful song.

(On the other hand, Heart are good Led Zeppelin interpreters, though. I became familiar with their version of 'The Battle of Evermore' (on the Singles soundtrack) years before I heard the original, and I still think it's an improvement.)

Eh, the whole thing is weird, looking at all those people in tuxedos nodding along to Led Zeppelin. A choir. There's something wrong with that picture. Rock and roll wasn't supposed to be so respectable. But I guess that's what happens when the original fans age. A few more years and we'll be treated to footage of the elderly tapping their feet to NWA.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 11:28 PM on December 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody riots to "Rite of Spring" anymore...
posted by Navelgazer at 1:04 AM on December 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do the kids listen to for the final prom dance these days?

According to my sources, Whole Lotta Wub (wub wub).
posted by ersatz at 6:36 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


HAVEN'T SEEN ALL THE VIDEOS BUT OMFG THAT HEART RENDITION OF STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN HAD ME SCREAMING ALL THROUGHOUT IT'S SO FUCKING FLAWLESS I CAN'T DEAL *faints*
posted by liza at 8:21 AM on December 29, 2012


In fact, they are seeing Stairway performed in a way, possibly better, than they could ever perform it themselves.

I tend to agree. Much as I've loved a lot of the live Zeppelin I've heard over the years, I've generally felt underwhelmed by their takes on Stairway -- Plant's tendency to get lost in the "oooh"s and "oh-ooh-oh"s, Page's extension of the solo that only makes it longer, not better, an overall failure to not-be-as-good as the the original studio production.

Of course, I've also grown tired of the original over the years -- just overexposure, an allergy. But watching this clip was a joy, particularly that look on Jimmy Page's face as the solo kicks in ...

Almost like he wishes he was up there. And then the bowler hat choir rises up and the song has conquered even him, the guy who did the biggest part of creating it. Great stuff.
posted by philip-random at 8:51 AM on December 29, 2012


All these years and I.had no idea thatLovemongers/Singles sndtrk cover was Heart. Makes perfect sense though.
posted by mannequito at 9:58 AM on December 29, 2012


Dolly's Parton's Stairway is a little slice of heaven. Thanks for posting!

I think today is the day for the Haaj.
posted by muchalucha at 10:00 AM on December 29, 2012


As long as we're talking about KILLER Zep covers: please allow Tina Turner to get deeply, deeply sexy with her rendition of "Whole Lotta Love".
posted by Help, I can't stop talking! at 10:13 AM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody walks on stage but that his talent rests on other shoulders--all those hours and hours. Yet every performance stands alone.

Anyhow, you go stand up in front of Jimmy Page and do Stairway. It ain't the same as impressing the staff down at Guitar Center. Made me all teary-eyed, too.
posted by mule98J at 10:13 AM on December 29, 2012


Shit, that reference is almost 20 years old. *sigh* So it goes.
I think you mean "dickety" years old. 'Cause the Kaiser stole our word for "twenty."
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:07 AM on December 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's my least favorite Zep song. And yet I enjoyed that tribute thoroughly. The line to leave my lawn forms to the left.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:48 AM on December 29, 2012


My favorite moment? When Jason does the little heart hand symbol to Plant, Page and Jones like he's Taylor Swift or something. And they all smile like proud Dads at him. And the choir! Oh this is beautiful.
posted by 8-bit floozy at 1:58 PM on December 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just found a higher quality (w/ HD) version (truncated, though) of Heart's performance of Stairway to Heaven.
posted by ericb at 2:14 PM on December 29, 2012


« Older You'd be amazed at the kinds of things that folks ...  |  Front Row (BBC Radio 4), 28/12... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments