Led Zeppelin, the English rock band is considered among the progenitors of heavy metal genre of music. Hailed as the holy grail of rock music, it was hardly a surprise when the legendary musicians behind the band were nominated for Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. The award is regarded the highest honor bestowed upon performing artists for their lifetime of contributions to the American culture. The gala dinner organized on the occasion of the award ceremony, was as usual a star studded event and the guest list included the likes of American President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones, the surviving members of Zeppelin occupied the front row seats with the esteemed Obama’s donning the rainbow-colored sash. Several other celebrities – David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, ballet dancer Natalia Makarova – were also honored.
The evening started with Robert DeNiro’s opening speech paying regards to David Letterman, which ended on the note “You make me proud to be an actor.” Next in line were ballet performances to honor the noted ballerina Makarova. As an ode to blues trailblazer Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan performed “The Things That I Used to Do.” The show stopper of the night was however the tribute paid to Led Zeppelin by singers Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band, ‘Heart’. The heartfelt rendition of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ moved Robert, the Zeppelin lead singer, to tears. But it was not all, the orchestra featured late drummer John Bonham’s son at the percussion. The crowds were enthralled as the music reached the crescendo and it felt like one was back in time. After the show, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant found Anna and Nancy to tell them they captured the soul of the song like no one else. It was a moment of great pride for the Wilson sisters and surely it was one of the best covers for the epic Zeppelin track.