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Classic Rock and Jack Daniels: The ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Leads to the Kennedy Center Gala

An aging baby boomer continues her obsession with the music of Led Zeppelin, joined now by a national leader and the Kennedy Center too.

by
Myra Adams

Bio

September 22, 2012 - 8:00 am
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What is it lately with Washington types obsessing over Led Zeppelin?

The Zep boys at their peak.

First it was Congressman/VP candidate Paul Ryan exclaiming that his iPod playlist “ends with Led Zeppelin” during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC). This revelation caused a mini-ruckus and inspired the house-band to play the lamest version of the Led Zeppelin song “Rock and Roll” that I have ever heard.

Then, just last week the Kennedy Center announced the honorees for their upcoming Honors gala. This event (which I must admit I have attended several times, decades ago) affords the opportunity for Washington’s power elite to slobber all over A-list Hollywood types.

Washington Post reports:

The award is the nation’s highest honor for those who have influenced American culture through the arts. It comes with a dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a reception hosted by President Barack Obama.

So this year, honored in a group that includes Dustin Hoffman and David Letterman will be “the surviving members of the rock band Led Zeppelin.”

Washington Post continues:

The three surviving members of the Britain’s Led Zeppelin — John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant — are being honored for transforming the sound of rock and roll. They influenced many other bands with their innovative, blues-infused hits such as “Good Times Bad Times,” ‘’Immigrant Song,” ‘’Kashmir” and “Stairway to Heaven.”  The band, which has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, issued a joint statement saying America was the first place to embrace their music.

Led Zeppelin at the Kennedy Center Honors? I bet this band really did issue a “joint statement.”

These are the guys who practically invented the concept of sex, drugs and rock and roll – or at least elevated it to legendary new heights, while, along the way trashing hotel rooms and spawning several books on groupie exploits.

Does anyone remember the shark story? Now I am even more amazed to find a Wiki reference to this sordid tale.

Notice how the Washington Post mentions “three surviving members” of the band. Let’s take a moment now to remember drummer John Bonham who infamously died choking on his own vomit after 40 shots of vodka.

John Bonham at the drums.

Regular readers of this semi-absurd weekly series are now fully aware of my personal devotion (obsession?) with Led Zeppelin. But what is really getting weird is how the “universe” continues to place Led Zeppelin directly in my path.  (I know this all sounds totally “New Age” crazy but please hear me out!)

It all started while I was leaving for the RNC in Tampa and had finished writing (but had not yet sent to the editor) what was the third installment of this new series — a piece about the first Led Zeppelin album and its profound effects on the teen-age me in 1969.

Then mid-week after Paul Ryan mentioned Zeppelin during his RNC speech, the crowd went nuts, so I renamed the column and changed the ending.

Now, you could just chock that up to good timing, but stay with me here for this goes much deeper.

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