Steven Tyler on his Led Zeppelin Audition in 2008
Led Zeppelin famously reunited in 2007 for their now-iconic Celebration Day show. The show led to rumors the band was back together and would perform more shows. However, Robert Plant had no interest in such plans. This led to a number of singers “auditioning” to front Led Zeppelin for future performances. One of those singers was Steven Tyler.
Tyler talked about this moment in an interview with Classic Rock. The Aerosmith frontman explained, “I went over and played with Jimmy and the rest of them [in summer 2008.] It wasn’t an audition to be in Zeppelin, it was an audition to play with Zeppelin.”
Tyler continued, “We were gonna do a couple of stadiums. And then while I was there, Jimmy spoke to me about maybe doing an album. I went home and thought about it for a couple days, and I got back to him and said: ‘Look, Jimmy, you’re in an iconic band and so am I. I can’t, in good faith, leave my band and be in your band.'”
The Demon of Screamin’ added, “We played all day for a week. Every time we took a break, I smoked a cigar and Jimmy smoked a cigarette. We went out back and I spoke with Jimmy about everything on the planet. it started out with: ‘Jimmy, you have no idea how grateful I am to have the chance to come over and jam with you guys.’ And he goes: ‘Well, maybe we can play some shows together.’ And I said: ‘Stop right there. I’m playing in a band with John Paul Jones?’”
Tyler concluded, “They let me sing every song I wanted – ‘Black Dog,’ ‘Stairway To Heaven.’ But it was just a week. And yeah, Jimmy asked me to do some stuff with him. But I didn’t want to be Coverdale/Page. Plus, I figured in the time it would take to do that, I could rally my own band together. So, was I gonna be in Jimmy’s band? No. But what an honor.”
Classic Rock would note that Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry said in 2010 that Tyler’s audition didn’t go over very well. Perry said at the time, “Page felt really awkward about the audition, but ultimately it was a group decision.”
Of course, Zeppelin have yet to perform again together since 2007. The only “reunion” they had in recent years was in the court room when the band went through a lengthy trial over the copyrights related to “Stairway to Heaven.”