This remarkable clip is going around the web as I write this, but on the off chance you haven’t seen it, please watch this performance of “Stairway to Heaven” by Jason Bonham and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart at the 35th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony… and pay close attention to the faces of Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page as they watch an inspired and loving rendition of their signature song:

All done drying your eyes, gentle reader?

Even if, like me, you’re mostly burned out on the song from hearing it every twenty minutes on FM radio growing up in the seventies and eighties, no one can deny that the song is one of the most important pieces of twentieth century music.

But for those three surviving members of Led Zeppelin, it seems to me that watching the son of their departed friend and bandmate perform the song with two super-fan sisters in front of the President and First Lady of the United States and an audience of creative royalty… it seems to me that song turned into a time machine.

I haven’t lived long enough to have forty years of creative endeavors to look back on, and my experiences of musical collaboration certainly can’t match the twelve intense years of being in Led Zeppelin, or the nearly fifty years of friendship enjoyed by the three surviving members of the band.

Watching them accept the honors presented by the collected creators at the Kennedy Center, though, I did find myself reflecting on just what a powerful, privileged thing it is to be able to make things in these times.

I may never create a thing worthy of a legacy like “Stairway to Heaven.” Then again, for all I know, I may have already done so. Creators don’t usually get a say in the matter, after all.

Either way… I’m very appreciative of the fact that I get to make things at all, and that I live at a point in history that allows me to so easily share with so much of the world those things I make. It’s amazing, and humbling. It’s part of what drives me.

What goes through your head when you watch the members of Led Zeppelin listen to the Kennedy Center Honors rendition of “Stairway to Heaven?” Share that with the world… in the comments!

The Kennedy Center Honors is pretty much the closest things we have to a national appreciation of art and its contribution to the culture of the United States. It’s well worth your while to watch the entire 35th Kennedy Center Honors show.

Found on the web on Boing Boing.