There are many musical moments that are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and among those are the 50th anniversaries of Led Zeppelin I and Led Zeppelin II. In recent years, the Zeppelin catalog has received a massive reissue campaign, and in honor of their big 5-0, the band, as a brand, has expanded to include various partnerships from Vans to Burton Snowboards.
But if there’s one thing that shouldn’t happen along with Zeppelin’s golden anniversary, it’s a reunion.
Robert Plant has been a hold-out for a full-fledged Zeppelin reunion for years now. In 2014 when Zeppelin’s reissue campaign started, Plant told Rolling Stone about a reunion tour, “You’re going back to the same old s—. A tour would have been an absolute menagerie of vested interests and the very essence of everything that’s s—-y about big-time stadium rock. We were surrounded by a circus of people that would have had our souls on the fire. I’m not part of a jukebox!”
One person that happens to admire Plant for not wanting to take part in a reunion tour is Sammy Hagar. In a recent interview on The Howard Stern Show, Hagar gave Plant some major props, and inadvertently, offered the best reason why Zeppelin shouldn’t reunite.
“How many fighters, heavyweight champs, came back one too many times?” said Hagar. “We’re seeing so many people dying like flies in our business. …I’m looking around me, thinking there’s gotta be a time [when] I’m not gonna do this anymore. I respect Robert so much for doing that.”
Even though Hagar would go on and say he’d love to see a Zeppelin reunion, not enough is really said about knowing when to “hang ’em up.” Frankly, it’s a reality many of our still-touring icons need to face. We’ve seen headline after headline recently about artists needing to postpone tour dates due to health reasons.
Ozzy Osbourne has had a string of awful luck that’s included multiple staph infections and a bout with pneumonia, all of which resulted in hospitalization. Osbourne most recently experienced a nasty fall at home that was so catastrophic that he has postponed his 2019 farewell tour dates until 2020.
Mick Jagger recently underwent heart valve surgery, which resulted in the postponement of The Rolling Stones‘ upcoming North American tour dates. Fleetwood Mac had to postpone their remaining North American tour dates due to Stevie Nicks having the flu. Oddly enough, one of the dates they had to back out of was a set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in which they were filling in for the originally booked Rolling Stones.
James Cleveland of Classic Rock magazine recently pondered whether fans continuing to pack venues for these legacy acts is “killing our rock stars.” It’s an interesting, yet debatable, point. One could argue that natural aging, along with the lingering effects of hard partying from years past, would have led to the aforementioned health-related postponements anyway. As for putting the blame on fans for continuing to show up to these tours, that’s really a two-way street. Some of the onus should be on the acts themselves.
All of this is something Led Zeppelin and their fans really need to think about. Would seeing Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham perform together again be cool? Yes, but in light of seeing the acts above tough out a tour, do we really want to potentially risk a similar situation with Zeppelin? The band’s final performance together in 2007 at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert was an absolute triumph. It was the perfect ending. Let’s keep our memories of Led Zeppelin that way, shall we?
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.