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Richard Branson’s £500 million plan to reform Led Zeppelin scuppered by Robert Plant

By | Published on Monday 10 November 2014

Led Zeppelin

In 2012, you might remember, Gene Simmons claimed to have been given “a few hundred million dollars” to give to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page as payment for a Led Zeppelin reunion. The scheme failed, said Simmons, because “Robert just doesn’t want to do it”.

Then earlier this year, Page claimed that Plant was “holding up” plans for a reunion of the surviving members of the band by “playing games”. Plant responded in The Daily Express by saying: “I feel for [Jimmy]. He knows he’s got the headlines if he wants them. But I don’t know what he’s trying to do. So I feel slightly disappointed and baffled”.

So those are some things that people have said. And now The Mirror is saying some things too, bringing those ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ back into the equation again. And it’s being quite specific as to how and by whom that money would be paid. According to the tabloid, Richard Branson offered Plant, Page and bassist John Paul Jones £190 million each to reform the band for 35 shows, but Plant refused.

An unnamed source told the paper: “Jimmy, John and Jason signed up immediately. 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”.

Now, at this point you might be wondering how anyone – even Branson – could ever make their money back on that kind of project paying those kind of fees. It’s alright, I will tell you. As you may be aware, the Virgin chief owns some aeroplanes. And he had hatched a plan, so the story goes, to put the band on one of those aeroplanes to get them from concert venue to concert venue. The empty seats on said plane would then be filled with wealthy Led Zep fans, all paying £100,000 each for their seats.

It would be a bit like that thing Rihanna did, but on a commercial rather than promotional basis, and perhaps less disastrous. Or maybe more so. I guess we’ll never know. And we’ll probably never know if these hundreds of million related to Gene Simmons’ hundreds of millions. Or, indeed, if there were any hundreds of millions of pounds/dollars being thrown around anywhere at all. Still, it was a fun story, right?

UPDATE 10 Nov 2014, 16.00: A PR rep for Robert Plant has told The Guardian that this story is “rubbish”. So there you go.