Friday, March 21, 2014

Paul Rodgers once piloted Led Zeppelin’s plane

The list of Led Zeppelin legends is long, and Bad Company vocalist Paul Rodgers is adding to it with a story about how he once piloted the band’s famous plane, The Starship.

Bad Company was signed to Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records, and Rodgers shares the details of the time he was in the cockpit and took control of a flight.

“Yeah, it was a beautiful plane,” Rodgers tells Rolling Stone while promoting his new album, “The Royal Sessions.” “It had four Rolls-Royce engines and used to take off at 200 miles per hour. They had taken all the seats out and refurbished it inside like a lounge in a living room.”

“I got to actually fly the plane one time, and none of the guys [in Bad Company] knew I was,” he continued. “I thought, ‘I wonder how I can just sort of let them know that it’s not the captain that’s flying this?’ So I wiggled it a little bit from left to right. And three of the members of the band come dashing up to the cockpit, ‘What are you doing?’ At the front it wasn’t much of a nudge, but the back of the plane apparently was swinging. They were losing their drinks and hitting the sides of the walls. I’m not really a licensed pilot, so perhaps I shouldn’t even be telling these stories, but at least I didn’t dive-bomb the Fillmore or anything.”

The Starship was a former United Airlines Boeing 720 passenger jet, bought by Bobby Sherman and his manager, Ward Sylvester, and leased to touring musical artists in the mid-1970s. The first Boeing 720 built, Led Zeppelin used the aircraft for their 1973 and 1975 North American concert tours.

Bad Company released their first six albums on Swan Song, which was shut down in 1983 due to the breakup of Led Zeppelin – following the 1980 death of drummer John Bonham – and manager Peter Grant’s health problems.

In 1984, Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page joined Rodgers in The Firm; the group would go on to release a pair of studio albums.

Learn more about Paul Rodgers’ new record, “The Royal Sessions”, here.

See also:

Robert Plant concert gives hope for patient in need of transplant
Jimmy Page to receive honorary degree from Berklee College Of Music
Led Zeppelin announce reissue of first three albums with bonus material
Led Zeppelin: Unreleased Physical Graffiti tapes to be auctioned
Search Led Zeppelin at hennemusic