Robert Plant has turned down a £500 million (AU$918 million) offer from Virgin boss Richard Branson to reform rock icons Led Zeppelin. Plant reportedly said no to the offer after the remaining Led Zeppelin members had agreed to the lucrative contract.
The Mirror claim that Plant “ripped up” Branson’s proposal in front of promoters and his fellow Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Very, very rock’n’roll.
A Branson-funded tour would reportedly have netted Zeppelin members £190 million each before tax. A source close to the band has said, “They have tried to talk [Plant] round but there is no chance… His mind is made up and that’s that.”
The Mirror have noted that Branson was preparing to rebrand a jumbo jet, name it “The Starship”, name its staircase the “Stairway to Heaven”, and use it to fly the group between venues. Also very, very rock’n’roll.
An industry source has told The Mirror that Led Zeppelin were promised £250 million for 35 dates in London, Berlin and New Jersey, as well as £70 million from merchandise. There was also an option to increase the tour to 45 shows, which would have taken total earnings to over £500 million.
A band source told The Mirror that a tour will not occur without Plant. “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,” the source said. “There is no way they can go ahead without him.”
The source also revealed that Branson is disappointed by Plant’s decision. “Branson tried to pull out all of the stops. But even his money was not enough to get Plant to sign up. He is gutted,” they said. Branson was planning to sell 20 rows of “The Starship” to Zeppelin fans for £100,000 a pop.
Robert Plant completely ruled out a Led Zeppelin reunion earlier this year, and has been heavily focused on his solo material as of late.
Led Zeppelin’s last performance was at London’s O2 in December 2007. The show was recorded as a live album titled Celebration Day. Watch the band perform Kashmir, taken from Celebration Day, below.
Photos: Robert Plant – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 03/04/2013
Photos by Anwar Rizk