For as long as anyone could remember, Led Zeppelin had been notorious for not licensing their music to film or advertising. When their anthem “Rock and Roll” was used in a car commercial in the early 2000s, fans were practically stunned. Then, for Jack Black‘s blockbuster film School of Rock in 2003, the band’s remaining members—Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page—allowed the use of another Zeppelin anthem, “Immigrant Song” in the film. It turned an entire generation of kids on to Zeppelin, essentially keeping the torch burning for the greatest rock and roll band of all time (and maybe the single will too?).
In a new interview with Vulture, Plant explains why it was the right decision to license the track for use, and one observation of his remarks are they add interesting context to Zeppelin‘s earlier reluctance and today’s new paradigm, which essentially poises sync licensing to be the way of the future for music marketing.
As for allowing the use of “Immigrant Song” in School of Rock, Plant told Vulture, “Why not? Our songs didn’t come from Valhalla [and that’s] not a preferred destination, either. I like the idea of taking the hammer to another time.
“Jack Black made a magnificent meal of it. It’s a killer guitar riff. What a shame ‘Immigrant Song’ isn’t easy for kids to play, by the way. Everyone gets it, young and old. It’s a great song. Not only slightly ridiculous but ridiculous. Considering that we wrote it in midair leaving Iceland — a fantastically inspiring gig and an adventure, beyond which there will be no books written.
“To give it to the kids is important…. Send it up, send it down, and just keep sending it. Just dig it because there’s no hierarchy,” Plant continued.
“So to give it to the kids, it’s great. I mean, Jack Black‘s got it right down…. All of my grandkids have all been able to play Jack Black‘s riffs.” We’re assuming Plant means Black‘s work in Tenacious D, which—if that’s the case—Plant has some pretty amazing grandkids. No wonder he wants to hand the Zeppelin reign off to future generations!
“I think it was exactly the right thing to do, with School of Rock, to blow our myth up into the sky for a while. Because it’s all myth. It doesn’t matter.”
You can read the full interview with Robert Plant in Vulture here.
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