Isn't it interesting that nearly all of the Led Zeppelin news coverage anywhere on Thursday was centered on Robert Plant's declaration that there was "zero" chance of another Led Zeppelin reunion? In case you missed it, that's what he told the BBC in the very last second of a six-minute chat aired on BBC radio Wednesday morning and was available online for listening all over the world.
It's what he said in the very last second, the "zero" chance comment, that stole the headlines. Because there's always been an interest in a Led Zeppelin reunion, no matter when the last one was, or how discouragingly bad the last one was, or how astonishingly good the last one was. But Robert's closed the door.
Jimmy admitted, in his separate interview, also broadcast April 23, that he's more surprised than anyone there's not been a reunion. Furthermore, he's not the one to ask about a Led Zeppelin reunion. He's only the guitar player. He's not the singer. You should ask the singer. And so they did, and the singer said no. It was an outright no. And as Brian Gardiner astutely observed on his site, this is exactly what he could have said a long time ago and saved us all some agony.
I'm feeling really badly for Jimmy now. I think he put a whole lotta stock in the inevitability that Robert would change his mind once again. It's possible Jimmy didn't want to get any kind of a studio or live project going again unless Robert was going to be the frontman. Luckily, John Paul Jones doesn't feel that way, and we've gotten Them Crooked Vultures, Seasick Steve, Minibus Pimps, I won't repeat myself...
What was really cool is the fact that neither of the two Led Zeppelin bonus tracks premiered by the BBC at the same time was anything ardent fans have ever heard before. (Correct me if I'm wrong!) Jimmy truly dug into boxes of tapes, and took two years doing it, to arrive at the best stuff there is. And so far, this is stuff that never leaked to the masses.
We've now heard a minute's worth of the Led Zeppelin III outtake "Key to the Highway" (none of the "Trouble in Mind" portion expected later) and learned it was recorded 30 minutes after "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper." It features Robert Plant singing through the same reverberating filter also heard on another studio outtake already distributed and well known among bootleg collectors. But it's a totally different melody, and the chord progression features a nice two-five turnaround seldom heard in the blues.
Representing Led Zeppelin II's bonus disc is a rough mix of "Whole Lotta Love" with an alternate vocal. This is nothing that came out with the multitracks when they leaked online in February 2012. Hmm, just over two years ago, which we can now surmise is when Jimmy started working on this remasters-plus-bonus project taking advantage of technological advancements of the past two decades since the first remastered Led Zeppelin CDs ...
And this is all in addition to the sweet first track of the live CD accompanying the Led Zeppelin remaster, which we can stream on Spotify now whenever we want.
Also, it was fun hearing Robert admit he was imitating the stylings of Steve Marriott on "Whole Lotta Love." Isn't it funny how Jimmy wanted Steve Marriott as the singer and instead got a Steve Marriott imitator? Not that Robert was a Steve Marriott imitator all the time. He says he was this for one three-minute song, then onto something else entirely different for another. Great point!
It sure would be nice hearing from John Paul Jones on these matters. I wonder why not.
Anyway, now that Robert closed the door to any future Led Zeppelin reunions, what impact will that make on whether Jimmy picks up a guitar again, in his 70s, and goes out there with somebody else?