Friday, June 6, 2014

Kennedy Center Honors 2012: Some Thoughts on Heart's "Stairway to Heaven" Tribute

I Can Admit When I'm Wrong

I am not above making mistakes, but I am someone who can acknowledge when I am wrong.

I wrote a couple years ago that I thought Led Zeppelin was a horrendous choice for a Kennedy Center Honor.  I stand by that original statement.  The Kennedy Center Honors are not the bloody Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  It is suppose to be a celebration of the arts, not an acknowledgement of a band (as great as they may be). 
This was the first time the KCH had been given to an entire band (not like when Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend of The Who were honored as individuals, and I wasn't too keen on THAT either).  I have not shifted from my view that it was a desperate ratings grab for a show that isn't on anyone's Must Watch List. 

I myself did not see that year's special, though frankly seeing David Letterman honored didn't sit too well with me either...that unfunny misogynist being ranked with Johnny Carson and Bob Hope. 

As part of my diatribe against this I wrote that I wondered what band was going to subject us to an overblown version of Stairway to Heaven.  It is on that point that I must admit, if I am to be intellectually and spiritually honest, that I was completely wrong.

Heart's version of Stairway to Heaven is brilliant, especially when they got John Bonham's son Jason to play drums.  I was wrong: far from being overblown, it was an astonishing rendition.

With that, I officially retract my comments about an overblown rendition of Stairway to Heaven being played at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Led Zeppelin. 

However, I stand by my contention that under Kennedy Center Honors rules, Led Zeppelin was ineligible for honoring.  Since John Bonham is dead, we can say that "Led Zeppelin" is similarly dead.  The Kennedy Center Honors are officially reserved for living people, so in a sense, they broke their own rules. 
Just like Joy Division ceased to exist when Ian Curtis killed himself, Led Zeppelin ceased to exist when Bonham asphyxiated on his own vomit after consuming copious amounts of alcohol. 
Led Zeppelin and Heart get a Whole Lotta Love from me.
The Kennedy Center Honors gets none...unless they honor The Betty White and/or Rita Moreno this year. 

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