Led Zeppelin reform for one-off show

Rockers Led Zeppelin today announced a one-off comeback gig in memory of “a giant of music”.

Rockers Led Zeppelin today announced a one-off comeback gig in memory of “a giant of music”.

The band will perform for the first time in 19 years in tribute to the late founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, who signed the band in 1968.

The group’s three original members, singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist John Paul Jones, will headline the November concert at The O2 arena with late drummer John Bonham’s son, Jason, on drums.

The Who’s Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings, rock band Foreigner and Scottish 20-year-old star Paolo Nutini, will also play on the tribute night.

Plant, 59, said: “During the Zeppelin years, Ahmet Ertegun was a major foundation of solidarity and accord.

“For us he was Atlantic Records and remained a close friend and conspirator - this performance stands alone as our tribute to the work and the life of our long-standing friend.”

Nutini was the final British artist that Istanbul-born Ertegun, who founded Atlantic Records in 1947, mentored before he died last year at the age of 83.

His label signed names like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and The Drifters and Ertegun became a mentor to some of the biggest names in music.

He made his first move into rock in 1968, when he signed Led Zeppelin, followed by the likes of the Rolling Stones, Cream and Genesis.

Tickets to see Led Zeppelin play will cost £125, and fans will have to enter a ballot with the winning names chosen at random.

Profits from the O2 show will go to the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, which pays for student scholarships to universities in the UK, US and Turkey.

It will also be used to establish a music scholarship at Ravensbourne College in Kent.

Led Zeppelin split when Bonham died in 1980 after a drinking binge.

Since then, they have performed only a handful of gigs, including Live Aid in 1985 and an Atlantic Records anniversary gig three years later.

The concert is being organised by promoter Harvey Goldsmith.

Mica Ertegun, Ertegun’s wife and president of the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, said: “Ahmet attributed his success to his excellent education, and his ability to recognise innovative artists that touched us all.

“It was his wish to endow music and liberal arts scholarships that would enable gifted children to reach their highest creative potential.

“The Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund was founded with that goal. He would be very proud that Led Zeppelin have chosen to re-unite and headline a benefit concert in his name featuring so many of his friends.

“I would like to thank all of the artists for their generous contribution to help make Ahmet’s vision a reality.”

Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones said: “Ahmet’s combination of charm, humour, irreverence and above all his great passion for music, made getting to know him one of the brightest highlights of my life.”

Goldsmith said: “Ahmet introduced me to America when I first started promoting. He became a friend and was my mentor.

“Our industry deeply misses such a giant of music. It is a fitting tribute that these great artists have all come together to perform in his memory.”

Led Zeppelin formed in 1968 as The New Yardbirds, with Page bringing in Plant, Bonham and Jones.

They released their self-titled debut in 1969, regarded as one of the pivotal records in the creation of heavy rock.

Led Zeppelin have sold more than 300 million albums worldwide and in 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The November 26 concert was announced at a press conference at The O2 in London.

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