US President Barack Obama hailed Led Zeppelin for “making us all feel young” as Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones received Kennedy Center Honors at the White House on Sunday.
The official video below shows Obama joking with the band about their rock’n'roll past, while acknowledging their contribution to popular culture.
The president said: “I’ve worked with the speechwriters – there’s no smooth transition from ballet to Led Zeppelin.
“When the Brits initially kept their distance Led Zeppelin grabbed the US. It’s been said a generation of young people survived teenage angst with a pair of headphones and a Zeppelin album.
“They redefined the rock’n'roll lifestyle. We do not have video of this, but there were some hotel rooms trashed. So it’s fitting we’re doing this in a room with windows three inches thick – and secret service all around. So, guys, just settle down. These paintings are valuable. They look very calm though, don’t they?
“Tonight we honour Led Zeppelin for making us all feel young.”
Meanwhile, Jason Bonham has revealed how he surprised his bandmates by appearing at the concert in their honour.
The drummer, who replaced his father John at the band’s 2007 reunion, performed with Heart as part of a tribute show that also featured Dave Grohl, Kid Rock and Lenny Kravitz.
Bonham said: “It was so incredible to see their faces, sat there next to the president, and I walked on stage and played Stairway with an all-star band.
“The guys knew who was playing – but they didn’t know I would be on drums. Their faces lit up, and the smiles and tears… Well, you can see it on December 26. It was fantastic. What a way to close the show!”
Yes indeed. The performance was so moving made Robert Plant cry tears of joy.