Now, we’re learning exactly what moved Plant to dust off the Led Zeppelin number after so long.
As it turns out, it was a very large sum of money — we’re talking six figures — that led to Plant’s “Stairway to Heaven” performance during Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor’s cancer benefit concert at Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, England, on Oct. 21. But it wasn’t money paid to Plant.
No, it was a donation to to Taylor’s cancer charity of choice, The Cancer Platform, that prompted the “Stairway” performance, as explained by guitarist Kenwyn House of the band Goldray, who accompanied Plant on guitar for the song that night.
“Someone bid a huge amount of money for him to sing this song,” House tells Classic Rock. “There is a good circle of karma around it. That raised a six-figure sum for the charity, that one song.”
The last time Plant sang Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” in concert was during Zeppelin’s 2007 reunion performance at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute show, subsequently released as the live album and concert film Celebration Day.
“Stairway” for First Time in 16 Years
Recalling his nerves before the playing the song, House explains, “It was a combination between uber-excitement and terrifying.”
He continues, “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. I’m in a small room with my hero playing the most famous of his songs.”
Last year, Duran Duran revealed that Taylor had been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, which has led to benefit concerts such as this. Taylor would have performed “Stairway to Heaven” with Plant on Oct. 21 but had injured his hand, leading to a last-minute call to House. (“I literally only had four days to learn everything,” he says.)
Led Zeppelin, “Stairway to Heaven” (Live at Madison Square Garden, 1973)
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Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner