Robert Plant hates most covers of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” as he feels most artists ‘murder’ it, according to Heart’s Nancy Wilson. Robert Plant Replacement ‘Felt Like I Won Lottery.’
Nancy told the Eddie Trunk Podcast, “We had to fly from another show, and we only had one rehearsal because we were playing a show the day of the first rehearsal, but we were traveling to get there then, but it was cold as heck in Washington D.C.
“My hands were freezing when we finally got into the practice room with all the choirs and all the players and everybody in there. My hands were so stiff and frozen. It was December, it was Christmas time.
“So it’s like, ‘OK, go, let’s just play ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ you start.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my god…’ I’m trying to play this beginning, and I’m just barely getting it together – because it was just a cold, drafty old place.
“So the guys in the house band were like, ‘Oh, well, we could just shadow you, you just kind of play along, kind of behind, just shadowing the part a little bit.’
“It’s like, ‘No, no, seriously, I got this, don’t worry about me. My hands are very cold right now, and please don’t worry, I’ve got this. I’ve been playing this all my life.’
“The next day I was really making sure – the show day – that my hands were ready for it. And I put my hands in my hubby’s armpits, you know, hand warmers.
“I walked out there, took a really, really deep breath, just looked them in the eye and had a very big exhale and started.
“It went off really great, and even afterward, the Zeppelin guys each came back individually and said, like, [bassist John Paul] Jones was like, ‘Wow, you did a great job.’
“And Robert Plant goes, ‘Whoah, I learned to just hate that song because everybody murders it, but you did it justice, way to go.’ And Jimmy Page goes to me, he goes, ‘You played that great, just lovely.’
“And I’m like, ‘Oh my god!’ So, yeah… I think the reason they were kind of emotional too when we finally saw later after it was edited was the fact that [drummer] Jason Bonham, John Bonham’s son was there playing the drums with all the great reveals that happened throughout the song.
“He was the little kid, scampering around the practice areas in their rehearsal spaces and their studio space or wherever they were recording, and running around outside when they were recording outside.
“He was the little kid that grew up with them, like his uncles, so I’m sure that was a lot about the emotional reaction that they got, that they were surprised to have during that song.” Ultimate-Guitar transcribed her comments.