Watch: Robert Plant Performs “Stairway to Heaven” for First Time in 16 Years

Robert Plant performed three Led Zeppelin songs, including “Stairway to Heaven,” as a guest performer during a benefit concert organized by founding Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor on Saturday (October 21).

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Dubbed An Evening with Andy Taylor and Special Guests, the event was held at Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, England for The Cancer Platform, an initiative launched by the Cancer Awareness Trust.

Plant’s performance, which was streamed live on Facebook, included renditions of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” “Thank You,” and “Stairway To Heaven.” His performance of “Stairway to Heaven” marked the first time Plant has performed the Led Zeppelin classic since the band’s concert at the O2 Arena in London on December 10, 2007, which was later released as the concert film Celebration Day.

Backed by Taylor on guitar, along with a number of the other performers from the evening, Plant’s set also included a cover of Donovan’s 1966 song “Season of the Witch.”

The benefit concert also featured additional guest appearances by Pink Floyd bassist Guy Pratt, Sting, Pet Shop Boys, Bryan Adams, Andrew Ridgeley of Wham!, Tom Jones, The The, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Ella Henderson, Katherine Ryan, broadcaster Nina Nannar, and drummer David Palmer, among others.

Organized by Taylor, who first revealed that he has been battling stage 4 colon cancer in 2022, proceeds from the event will benefit the Cancer Awareness Trust. Taylor, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Duran Duran in 2022 but could not attend because of his treatment, recently released his third solo album Man’s A Wolf to Man.

The performance was a rare one for Plant, who admitted his detachment from the Led Zeppelin classic, off the band’s fourth album, Led Zeppelin IV. “Of course, it was a good song,” said Plant in 2019. “The construction of the song, the actual musical construction is very, very good. It’s one of those moments that really can stand without a vocal. In fact, it will stand again without a vocal, I’m sure, because it’s a fine, fine piece of music.”

He continued, “Lyrically, now, I can’t relate to it, because it was so long ago. I would have no intention ever to write along those abstract lines anymore. I look at it and I tip my hat to it, and I think there are parts of it that are incredible. The way that Jimmy [Page] took the music through, and the way that the drums reached almost climaxed and then continued. It’s a very beautiful piece. But lyrically, now, and even vocally, I go, ‘I’m not sure about that.'”

In 2016, Led Zeppelin went to court to defend the song, following a copyright lawsuit against the band alleged that “Stairway To Heaven” was stolen from a 1968 instrumental “Taurus,” which was written by the late guitarist Randy Wolfe and performed by his band Spirit.

Member of Led Zeppelin, Plant, along with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. won the case, which was opened by Wolfe’s estate, in 2020. During the trial, Plant recalled how he and Page wrote “Stairway To Heaven” at Headley Grange, a former poorhouse in Hampshire, England.

[RELATED: The Origin of Led Zeppelin]

“One evening, Jimmy Page and I sat by the fire, going over bits and pieces,” said Plant, who added that he retreated to his bedroom to work on the lyrics, which centered around Celtic mythology and “the pastoral areas of Britain I love.”

Eventually, Plant said he came up with a “little couplet” to open the song: There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold / And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

Watch Robert Plant’s full performance at the 43-minute mark HERE:

Check out Led Zeppelin’s performance of “Stairway to Heaven” from 2007 below

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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