This one just popped up on my facebook feed and it’s a glorious cover. Not just because it’s a classic piece of music being covered by one of the longest-running (and deservedly-so) rock bands out there, but the situation in which the performance is taking place.
On December 2nd, 2012, President Obama decided to honor Led Zeppelin (as well as Dustin Hoffman and David Letterman) at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. As such, the three surviving members of Led Zep – Page, Plant and Jones – were in attendance.
So first of all, you have a classic song being covered by one respected artist in front of the song’s creators. And it is a classic song; one of the classics. “Stairway to Heaven” has been covered as much as any song of its high standing. Some covers have been good, some have been awful and some have pretty much got by on being so bad they’re good (Rolf Harris – when you’re not in custody for allegedly fiddling with your juvenile fanbase, I’m looking at you).
Hell, there are many bands who’ve had an album or two dedicated to covers of their songs. “Stairway” is the only song I’m aware of that’s had a whole album of covers of itself.
This is a great video to watch. A classic song in an unusual setting with an atypical audience. But the crowd shots towards the end are great. People in penguin suits and frocks nodding their heads, one or two obviously wishing they were utterly rocking out. There’s one black woman near the end who’s holding her hands up in a very “gospel” manner as she sings along – and when you see the way the song’s been interpreted you’ll understand why.
It’s a fantastic song being enjoyed by a huge array of people, who I’m sure have widely differing musical tastes. Oh, and it even makes Robert Plant cry. It’s that good.