Also today, in 2012, Led Zeppelin were among seven artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. The Honors recipients were recognized for their lifetime contributions to American (and world) culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television.
In his tribute to the band, President Barack Obama said: “When Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham burst onto the musical scene in the late 1960s, the world never saw it coming. There was this singer with a mane like a lion and a voice like a banshee, a guitar prodigy who left people’s jaws on the floor, a versatile bassist who was equally at home on the keyboards, a drummer who played like his life depended on it. And when the Brits initially kept their distance, Led Zeppelin grabbed America from the opening chord. We were ready for what Jimmy called songs with “a lot of light and shade. It’s been said that a generation of young people survived teenage angst with a pair of headphones and a Zeppelin album … but even now, 32 years after John Bonham’s passing – and we all I think appreciate the fact – the Zeppelin legacy lives on.”