This news originally appeared in an edition of the newsletter "On This Day In Led Zeppelin History."
The Led Zeppelin reunion rumors are fast and furious again. But could the rumors be true for once? Here's my perspective.
On this day in 1998, the Reading Festival was held in England, with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant playing a triumphal set. Little did anybody know that soon the Page/Plant tour would be through.
Led Zeppelin classics such as "How Many More Times" and "Black Dog" were joined in Page and Plant's set list with scarce cuts from their new album, such as "Burning up" and "Heart in Your Hand."
Page and Plant's fans had come from various corners of the world to see the duo headlining its last European date for two months. Nobody knew time was running out on the reunion.
After this date, Page and Plant returned to North America to begin the second leg of their Walking Into Everywhere tour, followed quickly by a third leg of touring in Europe by the end of the year. With the prospect of further tour dates extending into 1999, hitting Japan and South America, Plant withdrew from the Japanese tour just days in advance.
So far, Page and Plant have not toured together since December 1998. For more than a year, Plant did not make any public comment to explain why he be'd broken things off with Page. The year of waiting to hear from Plant was an eternity in fans' eyes and also in the eyes of Page, who contacted Plant often to pitch various project ideas. Plant just wouldn't commit to anything and never explained why.
Page took his desperation to the press in March 2000. He told Canada's Jam Music:
"I have been trying to motivate something, even just (Page and Plant) together, for like the last 15 months. If I can't manage to pull that off ...When Plant finally broke his silence, beginning in April 2000, to comment for the first time on his departure from Page, he revealed that he'd been tired of touring for the last 30 years. However, comments made in 2002 provided even further insight.
"I have employed every scenario that I thought somebody could respond to, like writing new material, to having a vehicle to just go and play, which was Net Aid, to doing this, doing that, proposing this, proposing that. It just wasn't to be, for Robert. He just couldn't see a way to do anything. I don't see how it is going to come together."
An interview published at Playboy.com in July 2002 quoted Plant as saying, "If you ever have the inclination to chuck a TV set out the window, it would be because you'd been to Japan for any period of time and have to deal with the psyche of playing our kind of music in that environment."
That's why his tour with Page ended prematurely. "I just couldn't hack it, really," Plant explained. "So I said, 'Look, it's a long time to be away. Spring's coming. There's some beautiful stuff going on.'" Plant took the opportunity to go out on his own and rediscover his own tastes in music, while setting himself in the proper direction for his vocal abilities.
Have Plant's views on reuniting with Page and perhaps Jones changed at all in the past two years? Although Plant's latest trend in interviews is mentioning he hopes to reconcile with Jones at least personally, it's doubtful that a Led Zeppelin reunion is in the works, as reports have once again been stating in print and on the radio for the last few days in August 2002.
Even looking just at Plant's quotes, it's doubtful. A report by Gary Graff at Launch.com quotes Plant as telling WCSX-FM that he might consider reuniting with Page for a lunch. The likelihood of a concert tour between them doesn't sound very promising to me.
Plant will be answering questions from fans by phone and e-mail tonight on the radio program Rockline; see their Web site for information on how you can contribute your question to the program. Don't worry; I think at least one person will ask the inevitable "Will Led Zeppelin get back together?" question, so try to think of something original!