Those hoping for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour will have to work harder to convince lead singer Robert Plant. The 66-year-old rock star reportedly turned down a staggering $800 million offer from Virgin Records founder Richard Branson, a lifelong fan of the band, to reunite the group for a 35-concert tour, according to NPR.
Founding members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were supposedly on board from the start, but Plant was strongly against getting the rock group together again, the Mirror reported. “He said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given,” a source told the Mirror. “There was an enormous sense of shock” among the promoters in the room, the source said. “They have tried to talk him 'round, but there is no chance... His mind is made up and that’s that.”
Had Plant accepted the offer for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour, it would have been the most lucrative for any artist in live music history. The three musicians would have received a whopping $300 million apiece before taxes, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Led Zeppelin’s isn’t the largest contract ever turned down in music history. In 2000, 1970’s Swedish pop group ABBA rejected a $1 billion offer to reunite after 17 years apart. The four-member band’s Bjorn Ulvaeus said the group thought that not doing a comeback tour had helped their music stay popular.
Since Led Zeppelin’s formation in 1966, the band has sold more than 300 million albums worldwide. The British rock band, widely considered one of the most influential and successful rock bands in history, broke up in 1980 after the death of its drummer, John Bonham. Bonham died on Sept. 24, 1980, when he asphyxiated on his own vomit after a night of heavy drinking. His son, 48-year-old Jason Bonham, would have been hired as the band’s drummer had Plant accepted the reunion offer.
Plant, Page and Jones have occasionally worked together since splitting in 1980, however the three have rarely been seen together on stage. They last performed as a group in 2007 during a tribute concert in London.
Branson’s reunion offer was part of the billionaire investor’s plan to rebrand one of his Virgin Galactic jets as “The Starship,” the name given to a former United Airlines Boeing 720 passenger jet that was leased to Led Zeppelin in the 1970s for North American concert tours. Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company founded by Branson in 2004, has run into trouble recently after one of its test rockets crashed in the California desert, killing one pilot and injuring another. An investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing.