Since 1978, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts recognizes talent for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television as Kennedy Center Honorees.
Among the Center’s 200 recipients since they were started in 1978 are such rock and pop music legends as Brian Wilson, Sting, Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, and many more. For years, it was strictly a highbrow affair with Honorees like Fred Astaire, Leonard Bernstein, and so on. It wasn’t until 1994 when a more contemporary music icon, Aretha Franklin, was first selected. Since then, the committee has chosen performers from the classic rock era virtually every year.
When the Eagles and James Taylor were among the artists selected for 2016, Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said: “The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates the spectacular talents of artists whose brilliance has left a lasting impact on our society. These Honorees represent what is possible when creativity is not just cultivated, but unleashed.”
On December 2, 2012, the living members of Led Zeppelin – John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant – were among those chosen to be recognized. And doing the honors, as it were, with a phenomenal performance of “Stairway to Heaven” were Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart and a cast of thousands – or at least several dozen.
The emotional rendition moved Plant to tears – literally. Watch for yourself. It’s our Classic Video…
P.S. This clip has over 10 million views on YouTube. Just wondering: who are the 1000+ knuckleheads who gave it a thumbs down?
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