Led Zeppelin‘s Robert Plant has shared his reasons for saying yes to the use of ‘Immigrant Song’ in seminal 2003 comedy School of Rock starring Jack Black.
When asked in a new interview with Vulture why he had said yes to the use of the song in the Richard Linklater-directed film, Plant said, “My response is: Why not? Our songs didn’t come from Valhalla. It’s not a preferred destination, either. I like the idea of taking the hammer to another time.”
“Jack Black made a magnificent meal of it,” Plant continued, adding that despite being a “killer guitar riff”, ‘Immigrant Song’ is not an easy song for kids to play. He explained, “Everyone gets it, young and old. It’s a great song. Not only slightly ridiculous but ridiculous. Considering that we wrote it in midair leaving Iceland – a fantastically inspiring gig and an adventure, beyond which there will be no books written. To give it to the kids is important. Send it up, send it down, and just keep sending it. Just dig it because there’s no hierarchy.”
Explaining that allowing the movie to use the song was a risk that was “immediately attractive”, Plant praised Black, adding, “All of my grandkids have all been able to play Jack Black’s riffs. I think it was exactly the right thing to do, with School of Rock, to blow our myth up into the sky for a while. Because it’s all myth. It doesn’t matter. I’ve watched the film and find it funny.”
‘Immigrant Song’ was used in a section of the film where Black’s character, the ersatz school teacher Dewey Finn, is transporting his band of students following their successful entry into the Battle of The Bands. Black delivers an impassioned cover of the iconic song as he drives the students back to school, praising Summer (Miranda Cosgrove) for her idea of misrepresenting the students as terminally ill children in order to enter the fully booked event.
Led Zeppelin are famously selective about the usage of their music in TV and film, making the song’s inclusion in School of Rock particularly notable. The DVD and Blu-Ray editions of School of Rock also include a scene that was sent to the living members of Led Zeppelin – Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones – featuring Black asking the band for permission to use the song with crowd extras cheering along.
Last year, Plant discussed playing Led Zeppelin songs live and the idea of reuniting the band, saying it wouldn’t “satisfy my need to be stimulated”. The legendary band split up in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham, and have since reunited several times, most recently in 2007, but only for one-off gigs. At his solo shows, Plant often performs Zeppelin songs, however.