Phil Collins Had A Very Different Feeling About Playing With Led Zeppelin At Live Aid
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The highly-anticipated reunion of Led Zeppelin legends was unforgettable for all sorts of different reasons. 5 years after the death of their drummer and friend, John Bonham, it was a mistake for the remaining members to try and pick up where they left off in Live Aid– especially without practice and with a drummer they barely knew of.
That’s not to discredit Phil Collins as a magnificent prog-rock musician who helped in catapulting Genesis to even greater heights of fame. No, this is to address that the reunion + Collins was a mismatch and that they should’ve done everything to make this a special one.
Before the event, lots of fans were excited to see the icons returning onstage for the first time and to see if Collins could replace Bonham, at least for the event. But Bonham was a tough one to replace, so Collins joined Paul Martinez as one of the two drummers for the Led Zeppelin reunion at the charity feast. They played three fan favorites— “Rock and Roll,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Stairway to Heaven,” but was received with intense backlash. However, Collins’ drumming, nevertheless, received the most feedback from listeners as being the worst out of all the elements.
Collins told Classic Rock what he remembered about the show and how he felt like “a spare part” back in 2020. He listed the lack of a dress rehearsal and technical difficulties as reasons for the show’s failure.
“I didn’t rehearse when I got there,” Collins recalled. “But I listened to ‘Stairway to Heaven on Concorde. I arrived and went to the caravans, and Robert said: ‘Jimmy Page is belligerent.’” When Page asked him to play the drum part of this classic, he was extremely dismayed.
The drummer also took a spat out of Robert Plant, whose voice wasn’t performance-ready during this time.
“Robert [Plant] wasn’t match-fit. And if I could have walked off, I would have done, ‘cause I wasn’t needed and I felt like a spare part.”
Watch the band’s performance of “Stairway to Heaven” below inside 1985 Live Aid.