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Stars Arrive for Led Zeppelin Reunion

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Monday, December 10, 2007

By Roger Friedman

Fox News


Here in London, the news of Led Zeppelin’s impending reunion show Monday night is literally the talk of the town.

The Zepp get-together is actually part of a monster concert in memory of Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun.

Other guests expected at the main show on Monday night include ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, as well as possible surprise appearances by the other Stones including Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood.

Foreigner, Mick Jones’ hit-laden group of the 1970s and '80s, is also scheduled to appear. So is Paolo Nutini, the best-kept secret on the current Atlantic Records, the only successful division of ailing Warner Music Group.

But the big doings might come at the after-show party, where Atlantic soul stars from America are set to let loose and show what Ertegun, Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin really made into legends. They include “Soul Man” Sam Moore, Percy Sledge, Ben E. King and Solomon Burke. Moore will solo and play at least one duet with Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers.

The show, set for the O2 Arena in southeast London, was postponed from Nov. 26 because Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page fractured a finger. There was still some talk Monday at the rehearsals that Page wasn’t absolutely certain about joining Robert Plant and John Paul Jones for the reunion. But Led Zeppelin will go on, and the word is that their two-hour set will be a precursor for their first tour since bell bottoms were in fashion.

One person who apparently won’t be here: Pete Townshend of the Who. The scheduling change knocked him off the list.

Sunday, afternoon some of the non-Zepp acts rehearsed in a Putney studio, and small hairs were standing up on the backs of everyone’s necks. Percy Sledge worked out “When a Man Loves a Woman” with the back-up singers, while Moore and Rodgers practiced “We Shall Be Free.”

Meanwhile, Wyman, who left the Rolling Stones in 1992 after 30 years, played with his Rhythm Kings — the house band for Monday — and surveyed the scene. He has no regrets about leaving the Stones.

“I have three children, I’ve published six books and I’m free to do what I want,” Wyman said. He still gets royalty checks, don’t worry. And he always goes to see the Stones when they’re playing in town.

“My kids say, 'Dad, why did you leave?' And I answer, 'So I could have you!'"

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