On Dec. 26 the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors was aired on national television for the first time on CBS. During the event, which took place at the Kennedy Center Opera House, Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart performed Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" with Jason Bonham on drums.


Jack Black delivered the introduction to the Zeppelin segment, calling them “the best band ever.” This was followed by performances of Zeppelin classics by the Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, and Lenny Kravitz. There was some excellent musicianship displayed, but frankly it was tough for any of the lead singers to truly come close to matching Plant’s unique singing style.

But then Ann and Nancy Wilson came on stage for the finale, an inspiring “bring down the house” version of “Stairway to Heaven”, with Jason Bonham on drums. As the song progressed, back-up singers, a string section, and the Joyce Garrett Youth Choir came on stage to help perform "Stairway to Heaven".


The choir members and Jason Bonham were wearing bowler hats, which was a tribute to the band's late drummer John Bonham. Throughout the performance lead vocalist Robert Plant was noticeably moved, and towards the end of the song he had tears in his eyes.





Lyrics


There's a lady who's sure

All that glitters is gold

And she's buying a stairway to heaven

When she gets there she knows

If the stores are all closed

With a word she can get what she came for

Oh oh oh oh and she's buying a stairway to heaven


There's a sign on the wall

But she wants to be sure

'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings

In a tree by the brook

There's a songbird who sings

Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving


Ooh, it makes me wonder

Ooh, it makes me wonder


There's a feeling I get

When I look to the west

And my spirit is crying for leaving

In my thoughts I have seen

Rings of smoke through the trees

And the voices of those who standing looking


Ooh, it makes me wonder

Ooh, it really makes me wonder


And it's whispered that soon, If we all call the tune

Then the piper will lead us to reason

And a new day will dawn

For those who stand long

And the forests will echo with laughter


If there's a bustle in your hedgerow

Don't be alarmed now

It's just a spring clean for the May queen

Yes, there are two paths you can go by

But in the long run

There's still time to change the road you're on

And it makes me wonder


Your head is humming and it won't go

In case you don't know

The piper's calling you to join him

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow

And did you know

Your stairway lies on the whispering wind


And as we wind on down the road

Our shadows taller than our soul

There walks a lady we all know

Who shines white light and wants to show

How everything still turns to gold

And if you listen very hard

The tune will come to you at last

When all are one and one is all

To be a rock and not to roll

And she's buying the stairway to heaven




Songwriters: Jimmy Page / Robert Plant

Stairway to Heaven lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc