When Jimmy Page’s John Bonham Tribute Was Vetoed By Robert Plant
In a journey through Led Zeppelin’s archival treasures, one might wonder why the live album, ‘The Song Remains The Same,’ hasn’t found its place in the band’s boxed sets. Jimmy Page previously discussed this mystery, their desire to create a chronological live album as a tribute to John Bonham, and the unexpected obstacle preventing its release.
Following the release of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Led Zeppelin — Boxed Set 2’ and ‘Led Zeppelin — The Complete Studio Recordings,’ Page sat down with Guitar World in a May 1993 interview, and was asked why ‘The Song Remains The Same’ was not part of the band’s boxed sets. The guitarist shared their plans for it and Robert Plant’s reaction, saying:
“That will be done in the future. I would not mind paying some attention to the laserdisc and video, s sell. In fact, I remember seeing part of the video and noticing a horrendous edit in it. We also have live tapes going back to 1970 that go all the way through Knebworth in 1979. But I don’t think Robert is very keen on it coming out.”
Page’s Vision For A Live Album Tribute
Revealing how he wanted to honor Bonham after his death, Jimmy continued:
“In fact, right after we had lost Bonzo, I wanted to do a chronological live album because I knew how good his drumming was, and I thought it would be a great tribute. Most of our songs were designed for live performances, and it is great to hear them in that setting.”
How Plant Reacted And The Challenges Faced
However, Plant wasn’t enthusiastic about this idea, as Page further explained:
“Also, it is interesting to see how the songs evolved and changed in concert. But Robert has never been keen on doing it. You can not very well do it if someone is vetoing the bloody thing. It is a lot of work to go through all these tapes, and I am not going to do it if he is going to stop it.”
Page and Plant’s Tributes To John Bonham
Although they didn’t release it as an album, both Page and Plant have paid tributes to the late drummer in several interviews and social media posts. In 2021, three days after the anniversary of Bonham’s death, the frontman shared a photo of himself visiting the statue of the musician in his hometown of Redditch on his Instagram and wrote:
“Still the best by far!”
Jimmy also paid his respects to John with an Instagram post in 2020. On the 40th anniversary of Bonham’s passing and the 52nd anniversary of the recording of the band’s first album, the guitarist shared the cover of ‘Led Zeppelin I,’ talked about its making process, and wrote his words on Bonham through the end of his post:
“The opening track of ‘Led Zeppelin I,’ ‘Good Times Bad Times,’ changed drumming forever with the glorious technique of John Bonham. Sadly, this day is 40 years since his passing. He left a heroic musical legacy.”
Led Zeppelin performed their first full concert since Bonham’s death at the Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert at London’s O2 Arena on December 10, 2007. In the one-time reunion, Jason Bonham, John’s son, played the drums and provided backing vocals for two songs during the performance.