Joe Tacopino of New York Post reports:
Robert Plant and the other living founding members of legendary hard-rock band Led Zeppelin were about to ink an $800 million contract with Virgin Atlantic billionaire Richard Branson to play a reunion tour, but the iconic band’s singer ripped the contract to shreds in the final moments, a report said.
Founding members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones signed on immediately when the flamboyant investor offered the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers the staggering amount to perform just 35 tour dates in three locations including London, Berlin and New Jersey, according to the UK’s Mirror.
But Branson was left stunned when the 66-year-old Plant tore the agreement to pieces right in front of the concert promoters, the newspaper said.
“There was an enormous sense of shock,” a source told the Mirror. “He said no and ripped up the paperwork he had been given.”
Guitarist Page and bassist Jones were all set to perform along with drummer Jason Bonham, who has filled in for his late father, John Bonham, in the past.
They gave their cranky frontman two days to think about the historic reunion, and he turned into a real heartbreaker for fans who have dreamed of another reunion tour.
“It was a no-brainer for them, but Robert asked for 48 hours to think about it,” the source said. “They have tried to talk him ’round, but there is no chance. His mind is made up and that’s that.”
And it’s not likely that the band can hire a replacement for Plant’s unique voice.
“There is no way they can go ahead without him,” the source said.
Branson, a tremendous fan of the ’70s rock band, reportedly pulled out all the stops to get the “The Song Remains the Same” rockers back on stage together.
The founder of Virgin Group was planning on renaming one of his jumbo jets “The Starship” and having the craft ferry the stars around to their gigs.
He was even going to have the staircase of the jet renamed the Stairway to Heaven after the band’s landmark hit.
“Even his money was not enough to get Plant to sign up,” the source said, adding that the tycoon was very upset by the singer’s diss.
The band last played together, with Jason Bonham filling in on drums, during a tribute concert at London’s O2 arena in 2007.
The band has been notoriously cranky about whether it would ever reunite, with Plant even calling one reporter a “schmuck” during a press conference in 2012.