Cameron Crowe Recalls Rare LED ZEPPELIN, ELVIS PRESLEY Meeting

December 2, 2007, 13 years ago

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Hollywood director Cameron Crowe continues the countdown to the LED ZEPPELIN reunion on December 10 by recounting a tale where the band met ELVIS PRESLEY:

It's hard to believe that they were ever in the same room, but in 1972 the two diametrically opposed corners of the music world came together. Led Zeppelin met Elvis Presley.

The matchmaker was their mutual promoter, Jerry Weintraub (later to produce the Ocean's 11 series with George Clooney and Brad Pitt), who took Jimmy Page and Robert Plant up to Presley's Las Vegas hotel suite.

Zeppelin's music then permeated the airwaves. They were enormously popular, an enigmatic force of hard rock. Presley had already reinvented himself as the jump-suited King of Vegas, and an "honorary drug-enforcement" pal of Richard Nixon's.

For the first few minutes of the summit meeting, Elvis ignored Led Zeppelin. The room was filled with an awkward silence. Bodyguards monitored the temperature. Jimmy Page - who had first picked up a guitar after hearing Elvis singing Baby Let's Play House on overseas American radio - began to fidget. What was going on? Did Elvis really want to meet them? Was this a big misunderstanding?

Finally Elvis turned to his guests. His first question had nothing to do with Zeppelin's music. It was their roguish reputation that interested him. "Tell me," asked Elvis, "is it true, these stories about you boys on the road?"

For a surreal moment, they found themselves staring at the three-dimensional embodiment of their own youthful rebellion. Plant spoke first, without cracking a smile. "Of course not," he said. "We're family men. In fact, I get the most pleasure out of walking the hotel corridors, singing your songs." Plant leaned forward, and offered his own best Elvis Presley impersonation. "Treat me like a foooool, treat me mean and cruuuel, but loooooove me…"


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