Jimmy Page Blasts Phil Collins’ Playing in Led Zep Live Aid Show
Jimmy Page has criticized Phil Collins’ contributions to Led Zeppelin’s performance at Live Aid in 1985.
“We had two hours’ rehearsal, not even that, and the drummer (Collins) just could not get the beginning of ‘Rock and Roll,’” Page recalled during an appearance at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival. “We were in real trouble so that was not very clever."
Live Aid was held simultaneously at Wembley Stadium in London and John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. Impressively, Collins played at both events, with a transatlantic flight in between. The surviving members of Led Zeppelin performed at the Philadelphia concert, with Collins joining on drums, filling in for John Bonham, who had died in 1980.
"You could sense I wasn’t welcome,” Collins recalled in 2014, noting that Page in particular didn’t seem enthusiastic about the drummer’s involvement.
“I thought it was just going to be low-key and we’d all get together and have a play," Collins explained. "But something happened between that conversation and the day -- it became a Led Zeppelin reunion. I turned up and I was a square peg in a round hole. Robert [Plant] was happy to see me, but Jimmy wasn’t.”
By most accounts, the Led Zeppelin reunion at Live Aid was a disappointment. Page’s recent comments suggest that he puts some of the blame on Collins. The drummer has previously admitted it was a mistake to ever get involved.
“It was a disaster, really. Robert wasn’t match-fit with his voice and Jimmy was out of it, dribbling. It wasn’t my fault it was crap,” Collins confessed. “If I could have walked off, I would have. But then we’d all be talking about why Phil Collins walked off Live Aid -- so I just stuck it out."