Music Exec Chose Led Zeppelin Reunion Over Wife’s Dead Father
July 10, 2010
Music mogul Harvey Goldsmith almost missed out on the one-off Led Zeppelin reunion he helped stage in 2007 – because his father-in-law died as the supergroup were about to take the stage.
The British promoter put the Ahmet Ertegun tribute show together in London after meeting with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page at the label boss and producer’s memorial.
Goldsmith introduced the show at the O2 Arena and then heard his wife Diana’s father had died as he left the stage.
He tells CelebrityAccess.com, “It was very difficult. Very difficult. It was quite odd really. I went onstage and introduced the show. As I was walking offstage, my phone kept ringing. I kept switching it off. It’d ring again. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I picked up the phone, and there was a call saying that my father-in-law had just died.
“I had to go and find my wife and tell her the news. She was upstairs watching the show. You can imagine the decision: ‘Do I go? Do I stay? What do I do?’ Fortunately, my wife is quite strong. She said, ‘You have to stay here, I’ll go.’ My head was all over the place, as you can imagine.”
But he’d already achieved the near-impossible – by persuading Led Zeppelin to reform.
He adds, “I have a belief in life that if something is meant to be, it will happen. This was meant to be, and that was it. I was very close to Ahmet. (His widow) Mica asked if I would do something in London with all the British acts, so I set about… putting a show together. The original idea was to do two days and to reflect all of those British acts (Ertegun had worked with at Atlantic Records), from The Rolling Stones to Phil Collins to Cream to Eric Clapton. We even looked at ABBA. All sorts of things.
“When I went to the memorial service (in New York), I saw all three of the Zeps there. I went up to them and I said, ‘You are the only guys who didn’t perform at this.’
“Then we got back (to London), and we talked about it… I suddenly thought, ‘This is ridiculous. The one act that Ahmet adored was Led Zeppelin. He loved the Stones and he loved other acts, but Led Zeppelin was his love. So I just dropped them all a note and said, ‘Forget about what everybody has said about touring and just do this one (show) for Ahmet.’ All I asked them to do was to play for 15 minutes or a half-hour.
“One after another, they came back immediately and said, ‘We should do this.’ Then, they said, ‘Well, we don’t know if we can play yet. We’re going to go away for two or three days of rehearsals without anybody else with us. No management. Nobody. Secretly. Just to see if we can play.’ A week later they called me up and we had a meeting. Everybody was there.
“Jimmy (Page) came into the room, and he said, ‘Well, we tried it out, and we’ve thought about it. We decided… we want to do the whole show.’ I just looked at him, aghast. Thereafter, the rest of it (a bigger artist tribute) didn’t make any sense. Everybody had seen everybody else. It wasn’t that those other acts weren’t important, but it just didn’t make any sense because it would be such an anti-climax. So that’s how it came about. It was as simple as that.”
But fans’ hopes that the reunion would spark a full tour have never materialized and the bandmates remain fixed that a full get together is unlikely.