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When Robert Plant Rocked the Rimini Meeting

Robert Plant plays Stairway to Heaven Acoustically

Leafing through the latest edition of monthly Italian music magazine XL, I chanced upon a Rimini story that raised a smile.

It dates back to 1993, when ex-Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant was touring to promote his album Fate of Nations (an under-rated album which includes the wonderful 29 Palms, plus guest appearances from Clannad’s  Máire Ní Bhraonáin and Richard Thompson).

Robert Plant, during his heyday as singer in Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant, during his heyday as singer in Led Zeppelin

Plant was invited to play a small live set on Italian tv show Rock Cafe (broadcast on the state channel Rai Due), which he duly accepted – saying he appreciated the joke about the program being hosted by a priest. It was no joke, though, as this program was hosted by the controversial figure Don Gelmini, the founder of a drug rehabilitation program – incontro.

In addition, the program would be broadcast from Rimini to coincide with the annual religious/political/cultural conference the Rimini Meeting.  How would this particular meeting, between the man who more often than not has been accused of writing the ‘devil’s music’, and an audience made up primarily of the religiously inclined (speaking about the atmosphere of the program, Italian singer-songwriter Pino Daniele said it had more the air of an ‘oratory’ than program aimed at young people).

The host of Rock Cafe, Don Gelmini

The host of Rock Cafe, Don Gelmini

In the end, if we’re to believe the account in XL things went perfectly – music bridging any superficial differences. A set was performed which included Whole Lotta Love, which rocked things up, and culminated apparently with a joyous version of Stairway to Heaven retitled for the occasion Stairway to Rimini.

Scouting around for corroboration of the unsigned story, I’ve found none – but what the hell. It sounds good enough to be true.

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One Response to “When Robert Plant Rocked the Rimini Meeting”

  1. Nick says:

    This story is true. a recording of this piece by Robert Plant on Rai Due’s ‘Rock Cafe’ can be found on YouTube at

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