The rumors are true: On November 26th, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham will perform at a tribute to late Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun at the O2 Arena in London. According to a press release, Zeppelin will headline the event, which will also feature music by Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings, Foreigner, and Paolo Nutini. (More performers are almost certain to be announced.) Rumors that a Zeppelin reunion show was in the works took off when flyers were posted around London announcing the sale of tickets to a Led Zeppelin concert at the arena. Profits from the event will go to the Ahmet Ertegun Educational Fund. The Web sites for both the O2 arena and ahmettribute.com (where the ticket lottery is located) have already crashed due to excessive traffic. Read the full press release (which includes quotes from Plant and some of the other performers) below:
TRIBUTE TO AHMET ERTEGUN
NOVEMBER 26, 2007
O2 ARENA, LONDON
Harvey Goldsmith Announces A Tribute Concert To The Late Ahmet Ertegun In Aid Of The Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund
LONDON -- One of the most eagerly awaited concerts of the decade will celebrate the life and work of Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records and much missed mentor to some of the greatest names in music.
Profits from this amazing show will go to the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund which provides students with annual scholarships to universities in the UK, USA and Turkey. In addition, a music scholarship open to all will be established at Ravensbourne College in the UK.
The incomparable Led Zeppelin will headline the tribute to the man who founded Atlantic Records in 1947. Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones will be joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham.
In addition, Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman and the Rhythm Kings, Foreigner and Paolo Nutini, all touched by Ertegun's guiding hand over the years, will play on the night. Paolo was the final British artist that Ahmet mentored.
It will be a tribute from UK artists that Ertegun worked with in a 60 year career.
Due to the anticipated overwhelming demand for this concert, tickets will be available by ballot only.
Fans should register their names at www.ahmettribute.com
Names will then be chosen at random. There will be seating and standing tickets and fans will be able to express a preference at the website.
Due the expected unprecedented demand, tickets will be limited to 2 per successful applicants per household.
Tickets will not be available from any other source. Please do not take adverts or publicise any company who claims to have tickets. They will not be given any. Please advise the public not the purchase tickets from any unscrupulous source.
Tributes to Ahmet
Mica Ertegun, Ahmet's wife and president of The Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, commented: "Ahmet attributed his success to his excellent education, and his ability to recognize innovative artists that touched us all. It was his wish to endow music and liberal Arts scholarships that would enable gifted children to reach their highest creative potential. The Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund was founded with that goal. He would be very proud that Led Zeppelin have chosen to re-unite and headline a benefit concert in his name featuring so many of his friends. I would like to thank all of the artists for their generous contribution to help make Ahmet's vision a reality."
Robert Plant, Led Zeppelin: "During the Zeppelin years, Ahmet Ertegun was a major foundation of solidarity and accord. For us he WAS Atlantic Records and remained a close friend and conspirator - this performance stands alone as our tribute to the work and the life of our long standing friend."
Mick Jones, Foreigner: "Ahmet's combination of charm, humour, irreverence and above all his great passion for music made getting to know him one of the brightest highlights of my life."
Paolo Nutini: "Meeting Ahmet Ertegun in New York 2 years ago was a complete honour. He touched my life with his amazing personality and opened a few doors when I was starting my career. He even invited me to sing with Ben E King and Robert Plant at Montreux last year as part of a celebration of his musical life. He was a special guy, a real gentleman and it's such a shame he's gone but a massive tribute that all his music lives on - and will do forever. God bless Ahmet."
Harvey Goldsmith CBE: "Ahmet introduced me to America when I first started promoting. He became a friend and was my mentor. Our Industry deeply misses such a giant of music. It is a fitting tribute that these great artists have all come together to perform in his memory. The proceeds of the evening will go to The Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund for student scholarships. One of these scholarships will be for a music student in the UK each year."
Bill Curbishley, Trinifold management: "To have had Ahmet regard me as one of his close friends over the past 40 yrs was indeed a rare privilege. To be involved in setting up this event, plus a music trust in his name and in his spirit is also a great honour and privilege for me."