Robert Plant Explains Why He Agreed to Let ‘School of Rock’ Use “Immigrant Song”

Robert Plant is the legendary frontman for the British-born rock band Led Zeppelin, which is notoriously selective about who gets to use their songs.

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In a new interview with Vulture, Plant talked about why he and the band allowed one of their most prominent tracks, “Immigrant Song,” to be used in the 2003 movie School of Rock, which starred rocker and comedian Jack Black.

The track was used in a scene when Black, playing teacher Dewey Finn, is driving his students and talking about the iconic song. All the while he and his student band have come up with a plan to play terminally ill children to get into a Battle of the Bands contest.

When asked about the usage of the song, Plant said, “My response is, ‘Why not?’ Our songs didn’t come from Valhalla. It’s not a preferred destination, either. I like the idea of taking the hammer to another time.”

He continued, “Jack Black made a magnificent meal of it.” He said that the song has a “killer guitar riff,” but it’s not an easy one to play, for adults or kids. “Everyone gets it, young and old. It’s a great song. Not only slightly ridiculous but ridiculous.

“Considering that we wrote it in midair leaving Iceland—a fantastically inspiring gig and an adventure, beyond which there will be no books written,” Plant added. “To give it to the kids is important. Send it up, send it down, and just keep sending it. Just dig it because there’s no hierarchy.”

The LZ frontman shared that letting the film use the song was a risk that was “immediately attractive.” Plant gave props to Black, saying, “All of my grandkids have all been able to play Jack Black’s riffs. I think it was exactly the right thing to do, with School of Rock, to blow our myth up into the sky for a while. Because it’s all myth. It doesn’t matter. I’ve watched the film and find it funny.”

Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham. More recently, songwriter Dolly Parton has talked about wanting to get the band back together for her forthcoming rock and roll album.

Photo by Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

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