The old British curmudgeons in Led Zeppelin were asked to reunite for last year's star-studded Hurricane Sandy benefit concert — by former President Bill Clinton, no less — and they said no.
On Monday's episode of CBS's 60 Minutes Overtime, the Robin Hood Foundation's David Saltzman said the two bands the mega-charity really wanted to book for the concert were the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Things were looking promising: Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page were all set to receive awards at the Kennedy Center in Washington a little more than a week before the proposed benefit concert at Madison Square Garden. So Saltzman and Harvey Weinstein came up with a seemingly fool-proof plan. They'd fly to Washington and convince Clinton to approach the guys in Zeppelin with the idea. Never mind that Zeppelin hadn't played together since 2007, everyone was on board with the idea. Clinton was into it. He wanted to make it happen. He could make it happen — this guy got the Stones to play his birthday party and got Scorsese to film it, for chrissakes. But, incredibly, not even the world's most powerful ex-saxophone player could convince Zeppelin to reunite again.
Why Led Zeppelin said no, well, no explanation has surfaced yet. That they said no to Clinton is surprising, though, considering he's used to booking major bands for his benefit concerts. He organized a ten-year anniversary party for his foundation two years ago and got U2, Lady Gaga, and Usher to headline. Clinton was also involved in the major "Hope for Haiti" telethon after the earthquake there. If anyone could organize a Zep reunion after a disaster, it should have been the ban whose foundation's efforts in natural disasters is as prominent as his role with do-gooder celebrities on the global stage. And apparently the quick turnaround was as awkward for Zeppelin as a cover of "When the Levee Breaks" might have been.
Things worked out in the end, though. Saltzman "literally bumped" into Ketih Richards at the airport, he told CBS. "You can tell Harvey Weinstein to go fuck off," Richards said initially before storming off. Thankfully, Richards' publicist came up behind him and said the Stones would love to perform.