Jimmy Page says it was a mistake to hire Phil Collins for Led Zeppelin’s Live Aid reunion

"We were in real trouble"

Jimmy Page has said that it was a mistake to enlist Phil Collins to fill in on drums for Led Zeppelin at Live Aid.

Collins and drummer Tony Thompson both played live with the reunited Led Zep – Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones – at the legendary 1985 concert, as did session musician Paul Martinez.

Speaking in a new interview with The Times and The Sunday Times, Page admitted it was “not very clever” to reform the band, who had split in 1980 following the death of their drummer John Bonham.

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“The drummer couldn’t get the beginning of ‘Rock And Roll’,” Page explained about Live Aid. “So we were in real trouble with that.”

He also told The Times that Led Zeppelin had less than two hours to rehearse for their three-song set, which included the classics ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’.

Led Zeppelin went on to reunite again in 2007 for a performance at The O2 Arena in London. Recalling how nervous he felt ahead of the concert, Page told The Times: “A lot more could go wrong. I didn’t want to be the one making the mistake.”

Phil Collins reflected on the disastrous Live Aid show during an interview last year, explaining: “If I could have walked off, I would have done, ’cause I wasn’t needed and I felt like a spare part.”

The majority of the Genesis musician’s preparation for the concert came from listening to Led Zeppelin’s tracks on the flight to Philadelphia. “I didn’t rehearse when I got there, but I listened to ‘Stairway To Heaven’ on Concorde,” he said. “I arrived and went to the caravans, and Robert said: ‘Jimmy Page is belligerent’.”

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Meanwhile, Genesis were recently forced to postpone the remaining shows on their UK reunion tour “due to positive COVID-19 tests within the band”.

The group, who hit the road for the first time in 14 years last month, aim to announce the new dates “as soon as possible”.

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