It’s been 16 years since Robert Plant last sang ‘Stairway To Heaven,’ but over the weekend, the Led Zeppelin frontman performed the epic song during a benefit concert.
The charity gig, “An Evening With Andy Taylor And Special Guests” was organised by former Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, who was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in 2018.
Despite last singing “Stairway” during Led Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion tour, 75-year-old Plant sounded as good as ever.
Guitarist Kenwyn House, who played alongside Plant, revealed what motivated the former Led Zeppelin frontman to perform the song after so long. “Someone bid a huge amount of money for him to sing this song,” House divulged to Led Zeppelin News. “There is a good circle of karma around it. That raised a six-figure sum for the charity, that one song.”
He also described what it was like to share the stage with such a legendary singer. “It was a combination between über excitement and terrifying,” House said. “I literally only had four days to learn everything.”
“When Robert Plant walked into the room and I had to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ with him for the first time in a small, enclosed environment, that was probably the most pressured professional situation I have ever, ever come across,” he confessed. “I’m in a small room with my hero playing the most famous of his songs.”
Last year, Plant reflected on the track, admitting it makes him feel “overwhelmed.”
“When I hear it in isolation, I feel overwhelmed for every single reason you could imagine,” he said at the time.
“There was a mood and an air of trying to make it through. The world is a different place. Everybody was reeling from Vietnam and the usual extra helping of corruption with politics. There were people who were really eloquent who brought it home far less pictorially and did a much better job of reaching that point. But I am what I am, and as my grandfather said, ‘I can’t be more ‘am’-erer.’”
He also touched on whether or not he believed people ever got the point of the song.
“I have no idea. I mean, it was such a long time ago,” Plant said.
“I used to say it in Zeppelin, ‘This is a song of hope.’ And it’s crazy, really, because it was gargantuan at the time. The musical construction was, at its time, something very special, and I know that Jimmy and the guys were really, really proud of it, and they gave it to me and said, ‘What are you going to do about this?’ So I set about trying to write something which I suppose drops into the same idiom as something like ‘The Rover’ later on, or maybe ‘Rain Song,’ something where there’s some optimism and reflection from someone who was really not [old]. I was 23 or something like that.”