Heart vocalist Ann Wilson says she only became nervous about performing Stairway To Heaven with Led Zeppelin in the crowd after the song had finished.
Her band’s take on the classic track took place at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in Washington in December 2012, with Jason Bonham playing drums. The orchestrated arrangement, fronted with Wilson’s trademark voice, left Robert Plant in tears of joy.
Wilson tells Classic Rock Revisited: “That was one of the most unforgettable nights of my life. Zeppelin was there, as was President Obama and Michelle Obama. Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy – it doesn’t stop who was there that night. It was a life-changer.”
She reveals: “When we were done we walked backstage and there was a feeling of awe. We were like, ‘What just happened?’ We weren’t nervous when we were doing it – but afterwards our nervous system came back to life and it all kicked in.”
Asked whether she’d consider taking part in some form of Led Zeppelin reunion without Plant, she says: “Hypothetically, if they ever needed a lead singer and Heart was not active, I’d go and play with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones any day of the week.”
Wilson admits that sometimes her voice surprises even her. “I don’t know if ‘goosebumps’ is the word,” she says, “But here are moments when it’s really clicking and it’s divine. When that happens, when I feel that i can really, really, let my soul sing, that that is pure light for me. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Heart have just released a Christmas album called Home For The Holidays, where they aim to avoid the traditional cover versions in pursuit of tracks that “send some hope out to the world.”