Skip to main content

Home Music Music News

Jimmy Page regrets replacing John Bonham with Phil Collins for Led Zeppelin’s Live Aid set

"We were in real trouble with that," said the guitarist

By Joe Goggins

Led Zeppelin at Live Aid
Led Zeppelin perform at Live Aid (Picture: Alamy)

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has expressed regret at drafting in Phil Collins on drums for the band’s Live Aid set.

Speaking to The Times and The Sunday Times, Page admitted it had been a mistake to reform Led Zep for the U.S. leg of the legendary charity event, calling the decision “not very clever.”

Collins was one of two drummers to fill in for the late John Bonham, who died in 1980, for the charity show at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia. “The drummer couldn’t get the beginning of ‘Rock and Roll’,” said Page. “So we were in real trouble with that.”

Compounding the difficulties, he continued, was the group’s lack of rehearsal time, which totalled less than two hours for the three-song set, comprised of ‘Rock and Roll’, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

The show, which featured Collins and Paul Martinez on percussion alongside Page on guitar, Robert Plant on vocals and John Paul Jones on bass, was infamously disastrous, and the group have repeatedly refused to allow footage of it to be included on official releases.

Collins offered his own recollections on the set last year in an interview with Classic Rock. The drummer, who famously jetted between the UK and U.S. legs of Live Aid on Concorde to perform at both, said: “If I could have walked off, I would have done, ’cause I wasn’t needed and I felt like a spare part.”

The drummer recently played a slew of reunion shows with Genesis across the UK, although the tour was curtailed by positive COVID-19 tests within the band, leading to cancelled concerts in Glasgow and London. New dates are expected to be announced imminently.