Robert Plant agreed to perform the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” for the first time in 16 years this past weekend after he was offered a “huge” charity donation, said the guitarist who performed alongside him.

Kenwyn House – formerly of British band Reef and now with Goldray – revealed the song was an unexpected addition to Plant’s set in England on Saturday, as he took part in a cancer fundraising event organized by Duran Duran’s Andy Taylor. It was the first time Plant performed "Stairway" since his one-night reunion with Led Zeppelin in 2007.

“I think it’s just about sunk in – I might be able to talk about it now,” House told Led Zeppelin News in a new interview. He explained he’d been working on his band’s next album when Taylor’s guitar tech called to ask if he was available, since Taylor himself had injured his hand.

READ MORE: Why Robert Plant Refused to Play Led Zeppelin Songs Live

“It was a combination between uber excitement and terrifying,” House said. “I literally only had four days to learn everything.” He wasn’t told about “Stairway” until he went to a rehearsal before the show. “When Robert Plant walked into the room and I had to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’ with him for the first time in a small enclosed environment, that was probably the most pressured professional situation I have ever, ever come across,” the guitarist added. “I’m in a small room with my hero playing the most famous of his songs.”

He continued: “[W]hen he picks up a microphone and makes the first Robert Plant noise down the microphone, that’s the sound you’ve only ever heard come through your stereo, or TV or big speakers somewhere. But it was actually in the room with you. I talked about this with everyone – it was such a strange, wonderful magical experience.”

‘Stairway to Heaven’ Has a ‘Good Circle of Karma’

House reported that, while many have assumed Taylor asked Plant to sing “Stairway,” the request came from a donor to the charity. “Someone bid a huge amount of money for him to sing this song,” House said. “There is a good circle of karma around it. That raised a six figure sum for the charity, that one song.”

Describing it as “an amazing song,” he continued: “I think all the baggage that’s been attached to it has made Robert uneasy. It’s made such an impact and people have so many ideas about it, and expectations; it’s a bit of a millstone around his neck – or has been. I can really understand that, and Andy Taylor and everyone in the room worked really hard not to make him feel that.”

Led Zeppelin Albums Ranked

Counting down every canonical Led Zeppelin album, from worst (relatively speaking, of course) to best. 

Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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