The former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant shocked fans over the weekend by performing the iconic song “Stairway To Heaven” for the first time in sixteen years.
Plant Performs ‘Stairway To Heaven’
Robert Plant performed Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” for the first time in 16 years during a charity concert in the UK over the weekend. pic.twitter.com/w3nNe6ieUC
— CONSEQUENCE (@consequence) October 23, 2023
The Huffington Post reported that Plant, 75, performed the song on Saturday night in the United Kingdom at a benefit for Cancer Awareness Trust that was organized by the Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor, who is in the midst of a battle with Stage 4 prostate cancer. Plant made the lyrics even more poignant for the occasion by changing up the final verse of the song.
Check out his full performance in the video below.
Plant’s History With ‘Stairway To Heaven’
Plant hadn’t performed “Stairway To Heaven” publicly since December 10, 2007, when he joined the surviving members of Led Zeppelin for a one-off reunion show in London. While he’s performed other Led Zeppelin songs in the years since then, he’s avoided “Stairway To Heaven,” and he’s long been open about having issues with the song. In 1988, Plant told The Los Angeles Times that he would “definitely not” sing “Stairway to Heaven” on tour.
“I’d break out in hives if I had to sing that song in every show,” he said at the time. “I wrote those lyrics and found that song to be of some importance and consequence in 1971, but 17 years later, I don’t know. It’s just not for me.”
“It’s not that I don’t like that song,” Plant later added at the SXSW music festival in 2005, according to The Oregonian. “It’s just that I’ve heard it before.”
Plant further opened up about his feelings about “Stairway To Heaven” in an interview with Rolling Stone last year.
“When I hear it in isolation, I feel overwhelmed for every single reason you could imagine,” he said. “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,” Plant continued. “But I am what I am, and as my grandfather said, ‘I can’t be more ‘am’-erer.’”
Watch Plant talk more about this in the video below.
Taylor’s Cancer Battle
Taylor, 62, addressed Plant’s mixed feelings about “Stairway To Heaven” after his performance on Saturday.
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“Bet I enjoyed that more than him,” Taylor said.
Plant undoubtedly decided to perform the song to show support for Taylor, who revealed back in July that he is treating his stage 4 prostate cancer with “nuclear therapy,” a new form of treatment that is currently only available in the U.K.
“Essentially it’s a nuclear medicine,” Taylor explained to Daily Mail. “It’s put into your body and it detects the cancer on the outside of the cells and it only hits cancer cells in your bones, which is mainly where it is with me, and zaps them. But if there’s a healthy cell next to it, it doesn’t touch it.”
“So it’s not curative, but it can knock out and then it’s got to start again and from what was kind of – I’ll not even say the term they used to have on the thing – but I can get back full fitness,” he added. “I’ll be fine for five years.”
— Robert Plant (@RobertPlant) October 16, 2023
While performing “Stairway To Heaven” may not be Plant’s favorite thing to do, we applaud him for singing it in support for his dear friend. Please join us in saying a prayer for Taylor as he continues his cancer battle!
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