In 2007, the Grammy Awards opened with a performance from the Police. The British rock band launched the gala with a rendition of "Roxanne," which set the stage for what would be a wildly successful tour.
Earlier this year, at its 50th anniversary party, the Grammys began with R&B mega-star Alicia Keys, who performed Frank Sinatra's "Learning the Blues." But a current star and a departed legend may not have been the first choice of Grammy producers, at least not when there are '70s rock bands to try to have reunite on national television.
Visitors to the Grammy Museum, which opened this weekend in downtown Los Angeles, will get a glimpse of what could have been. In a short film that provides a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals between Beyonce and Tina Turner, who teamed up for a rendition of "Proud Mary," it's revealed that Grammy had designs on Led Zeppelin.
No surprise, as only a few weeks before the February Grammy Awards the band had reunited to perform at a London tribute to honor the late Ahmet Ertegun, the co-founder of Atlantic Records. Zeppelin, of course, didn't perform on the Grammys, but the act's presence was still felt.
The Grammys gave an award to one Zep in Robert Plant, who won with Alison Krauss for best pop collaboration with vocals for "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)." And another Zep, John Paul Jones, was tapped to conduct an orchestra behind the Foo Fighters.
As noted in our story on the new facility, the Grammy Museum puts the emphasis on listening to music rather than admiring rare artifacts. It's offerings also extend well beyond those artists who won a trophy. But there are plenty of Grammy tidbits and rarities for the awards buffs, one of them being the brief -- very brief -- glimpse of Led Zeppelin's name crossed-out on a white-board during a rehearsal meeting.
A Grammy Museum spokeswoman confirms that the meeting in the video was the Recording Academy's "TV planning committee." It took place in late 2007, she added, and Zeppelin was indeed listed as a possible performing act -- the suggestion, apparently, of the museum's executive director Robert Santelli. In the clip, the meeting is being led by Recording Academy head Neil Portnow. Of course, whether the inclusion of Zep was just a pipe dream, or involved serious discussions, is unknown.
As far as looking ahead to 2009, expect at least one Zep member to be performing, as Plant and Krauss received an album of the year nomination for their "Raising Sand." In concert, the pair have even dusted off some Zep tunes, including "Black Dog" and "Black Country Woman."
And perhaps Plant's nomination will ignite another round of rumors that Zep will reunite for the Grammys. But although stranger things have happened in rock 'n' roll history, such as politically-infused electronic artist M.I.A. getting nominated for record of the year, don't bet on it. Led Zeppelin has reportedly been considering a tour without Plant, who has stated that he will not be touring with his former bandmates anytime soon, if ever.
Photo credit: Associated Press
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