[Reunited Zeppelin: (L-R) Jones, Plant, Page.]
So, the entertainment media has been buzzing for the last few days with news of Robert Plant rejecting his share of a purported $800 million Led Zeppelin reunion payday, offered by Virgin’s Richard Branson. The vocalist’s publicist is on record calling the news item “rubbish”.
For the undetermined amount of reunion shows, Plant, along with guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones would each be paid an equal amount, while drummer Jason Bonham, son of the late John Bonham, would receive a fee. Use of a Virgin Airways airplane to travel from gig to gig—in the spirit of Zep’s legendary plane The Starship—would be among the perks enjoyed by the reunited hard rock legends. All this comes from an unnamed source—which has been the main basis of information for this development—who further stated Page, Jones and Bonham all signed up immediately, whereas Plant asked for 48 hours to consider, after which time he purportedly tore up his contract, pointedly refusing to participate and squelching the reunion, much to Branson’s dismay.
Now, we don’t have any inside track on any of this. But we are not one bit surprised Plant turned down the reunion. And anyone who has paid attention to his career over the last 30+ years since Zeppelin ceased to exist shouldn’t be either. As a solo artist—with the exception of his debut album, Pictures at Eleven [Swan Song-1982]—Plant has forged a deliberate path of renewal; his every musical statement a move away from the sound that brought him fame and fortune. Except to kindly mock it, of course.
The Ahmet Ertegun Benefit Concert in 2007 was a different thing; it was the band paying tribute to the deceased musical benefactor who, as Atlantic Records head honcho, took them under his wing and into the stratosphere, with Plant more than willing to pay his respects. But aside from not needing or wanting to revisit past glories, for a 66-year-old individual who is set for life—Plant is allegedly worth more than $150m—money seems not to be a determining factor at this point. And there is also, quite possibly, the desire to not be compared with one’s iconic 20-something self, for fear of inevitably coming up rather short.