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In a story that will only add to the legend of Led Zeppelin, the band’s lead singer, Robert Plant, reportedly turned down the chance for the surviving members to bank a staggering $800 million for a reunion tour.
The Daily Mirror reported that Virgin boss Richard Branson, a life-long Zeppelin fan, proposed a contract of a 35-date three-city tour that would have made Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones just over $300 million each before taxes. The report, however, was deemed “rubbish” by the band’s publicist, who debunked the report to The Guardian.
Drummer John Bonham, whose death in 1980 effectively ended Led Zeppelin, would also have been represented through his son Jason, who would have been paid a wage to perform.
Needless to say, the prospective tour would have been the most lucrative for any artist or act in the history of live music, and the Mirror‘s source says Page, Jones and Jason Bonham all eagerly signed up.
However, the implacable Plant wasn’t so keen and reportedly tore up the contract in front of shocked promoters, as he felt it was the right thing to do.
“Jimmy, John and Jason signed up immediately,” said the Mirror‘s source, adding, “It was a no-brainer for them, but Robert asked for 48 hours to think about it. When he said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given, there was an enormous sense of shock. There is no way they can go ahead without him.”
Plant’s refusal was absolute, and there is no going back said the report. “They have tried to talk him round, but there is no chance. … His mind is made up, and that’s that,” said the source.
The failure to agree to the megatour sunk Branson’s grandiose plans, which included rebranding one of his Virgin jets as “The Starship” to fly the band to venues in London, Berlin and New Jersey. Branson also offered the band an option to do 45 more gigs in five venues.
“Branson tried to pull out all the stops. But even his money was not enough to get Plant to sign up. He is gutted,” said the source.
Since their split in 1980, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin have only performed together briefly four times, the last occasion being a one-night-only gig at London’s O2 on Dec. 10, 2007, to celebrate the life of record executive Ahmet Ertegun.
3:52 pm, Nov. 10 Updated with quote from Zeppelin publicist to The Guardian
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