Led Zeppelin Receive Kennedy Award From Obama

Led Zeppelin Receive Kennedy Award From Obama

British rock band Led Zeppelin have received a prestigious award from Barack Obama for their significant contribution to American culture and the arts.

Dressed in black suits and bow ties, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page were among a group of artists who received Kennedy Centre Honours at a dinner event at the White House.

Frontman Plant said he was flattered and overwhelmed by the award, adding that he was glad to see Jones and Page using "good table manners".

In his tribute to the band, Mr Obama said: "When Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham burst onto the musical scene in the late 1960s, the world never saw it coming.

"There was this singer with a mane like a lion and a voice like a banshee, a guitar prodigy who left people's jaws on the floor, a versatile bassist who was equally at home on the keyboards, a drummer who played like his life depended on it.

"And when the Brits initially kept their distance, Led Zeppelin grabbed America from the opening chord.  We were ready for what Jimmy called songs with "a lot of light and shade".

"It's been said that a generation of young people survived teenage angst with a pair of headphones and a Zeppelin album ... but even now, 32 years after John Bonham's passing - and we all I think appreciate the fact - the Zeppelin legacy lives on."

The president drew laughter from guests when he thanked the former band members for behaving themselves at the White House given their history of "hotel rooms being trashed and mayhem all around".

He ended his speech saying: "We honour Led Zeppelin for making us all feel young, and for showing us that some guys who are not completely youthful can still rock!"

Led Zeppelin, whose songs include Stairway To Heaven, Rock And Roll and Whole Lotta Love, broke up in 1980 following Bonham's death.

With the exception of a one-off tribute concert for Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun at London's O2 Arena in 2007, Jones has largely been estranged from Plant and Page.

Plant has been concentrating on other projects, including work with bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, chat show host David Letterman, blues star Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Makarova also received Kennedy Centre Honours at the event on Sunday night.