Over its 49-year history, many, many legends have given us thrilling headline performances at Glastonbury. But there have also been many, many other legends who’ve never gotten the chance to.
It’s probably never gonna happen now – both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have said it’s extremely unlikely they’ll ever play together again – but that hasn’t stopped Led Zep also being one of the top rumours for several years. If they had ever done it, the ley lines would probably split open by the sheer force of their riffs and rock magic.
There’s not much Blondie haven’t done in their long, illustrious career the headline spot at Glastonbury has eluded them. The New York band might not be quite at their peak anymore but you can’t deny how great it would be to spend a Saturday night in a field in Somerset dancing to ‘Heart Of Glass’ with 175,000 people.
You wouldn’t expect latter day Kate Bush to have headlined Glastonbury – her playing live is rarer than a snowy day in September – but she could well have topped the bill back in the late ’70s or early ’80s. Maybe one day we’ll see her on the Pyramid, but we’ll have to be very, very lucky.
Not only have The Strokes never headlined Glastonbury, they’ve also never even been to Worthy Farm. For a band who reignited indie in the early noughties after years of dullness, you’d think they would have been prime candidates for a headline spot. But apparently not and, with each member seemingly focused more on their individual projects right now, they may not ever get the chance.
In 2019, Stormzy will become only the second rapper to headline Glastonbury but, arguably, he could have been the third. Back in the late ’00s, when Dizzee was at his peak, it would have been as exciting for him to be booked to headline as it is for Stormzy now. Dizzee still sees himself as a viable headliner but has his moment passed?
If you look at Leonard Cohen’s setlist from Glastonbury 2008, it’s the perfect mix of singles (‘Hallelujah’, ‘First We Take Manhattan’) and album cuts (‘Who By Fire’, ‘Anthem’) that hints old Len would have crafted the perfectly balanced headline set if he was given the opportunity. Sadly, we’ll never find out if that would be the case.
If Bob Dylan were to headline now, he’d probably eschew most of his hits in favour of latter-year obscurities and things he wanted to play, rather than what the crowd wanted to hear. Back in the day, he might have been a little more considerate, but somehow Glastonbury managed to pass him by.
With Elton on his final farewell run before he quits touring for good, perhaps he can finally get his chance at closing things out down on the farm? He’d make a brilliant Sunday night headliner and a Glastonbury headline slot would be the perfect way for him to bow out.
They’ve played on the farm numerous times, including their most recent set headlining the Other Stage, but they’ve never headlined the whole thing. As one of Britain’s best, that seems, frankly, ludicrous.
It feels like every year Fleetwood Mac are rumoured to be one of the headliners and yet they still have never gone from the prayed for to actually playing. In a 2017 interview, Emily Eavis said they were on her wishlist and at a Wembley Stadium show in June 2019 the band teased playing a muddy festival next year, so maybe they’ll work something out soon. Just don’t expect to see Lindsey Buckingham headline with them.