Make Your Minds Up, Led Zeppelin!

Led Zeppelin (l-r John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page – AP Images)

Hey, you know us. We try not to get involved in too many of those ‘he said, and then I said’ showbiz stories, because they’re often blown up from cryptic comments issued from the side of a star’s mouth in an unguarded moment, and more often than not, the truth is the exact opposite of whatever the speculation claims it to be.

The frustrating thing is that sometimes, just sometimes, the truth is the exact thing the speculation claims it to be, so it doesn’t do to be entirely dismissive either.

Where was I? Oh yes! So Led Zeppelin. They’re never (ever) getting back together, right? Robert Plant is too much of a free spirit, a questing minstrel, to allow himself to be wholly defined by his past, and he’s clearly uncomfortable with the fact that his voice doesn’t swoop up to those astronomical heights any more. All he can do, faced with a global demand for MOAR ZEP PLEEZ is maintain his enigmatic silence on the topic, point out that their 2007 reunion only happened because they wanted to pay tribute to their former record label boss Ahmet Ertegün, and deny that he feels any embarrassment about the music itself.

Which is what he had been doing until this week. It was well understood, from all the former members of the band, that the reason Led Zeppelin did not tour after that last reunion was the success of Raising Sand, Robert’s collaboration with Alison Krauss. That’s been the party line until now, and of course it firmly puts the focus of fan frustration on Robert’s shoulders.

So it’s a little odd to hear that Robert, ever the quixotic interviewee, has been telling the Australian TV show 60 Minutes that he’s cleared his calendar for next year, and it’s Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones that are holding things up.

According to Bang Showbiz, he said: “They don’t say a word. They’re quite contained in their own worlds and they leave it to me. I’m not the bad guy… You need to see the Capricorns – I’ve got nothing to do in 2014.”

Now, whether this means there will be a Led Zep reunion next year or not is hard to fathom. It’s possible Robert is just seeking to share the blame a little.

Or possibly he’s just tired of asking that same question and has decided to have a little fun with it. But if he has softened his position on the idea, and the others are still amenable, could they please just cut to the chase and admit it? A whole year of rumors scooting across the internet would be very gratifying for their egos, I’m sure, but it’s going to be phenomenally irritating compared to, y’know, just getting on with it.

In any case, Led Zep fans would do well not to count their chickens until the band are actually in front of them, “hello Cleveland!”-ing and counting off the intro to “Black Dog.”

Yeah, just like that…

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 13 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Music.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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