In 2003, School of Rock premiered and featured songs by artists including The Clash, Stevie Nicks, the Ramones, and Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin songs are notoriously difficult to gain permission to use, but singer Robert Plant said he was happy to see the film use his song. Plant enjoyed the movie and the way it helped blow up Led Zeppelin’s myth.
Jack Black filmed a video to ask Led Zeppelin for permission to use their music in ‘School of Rock’
In School of Rock, there is a scene in which Jack Black, playing substitute teacher Dewey Finn, sings “The Immigrant Song” in a van with his students. Black and director Richard Linklater wanted Zeppelin’s music in the film, but they knew the band didn’t often let people use their songs. So, they made a direct appeal to the group. Linklater told Black he should beg the band, and he did, with the help of a large audience.
Per Cracked, Black made an appeal to the band, saying how important the song would be to the movie while the audience backed him. They sent the video, and Led Zeppelin agreed to let School of Rock use the song.
Robert Plant said he enjoyed ‘School of Rock’
Plant said he liked the idea of School of Rock using his music.
“My response is: Why not? Our songs didn’t come from Valhalla,” he told Vulture. “It’s not a preferred destination, either. I like the idea of taking the hammer to another time.”
As it was, Plant thought the song was “ridiculous,” and he believed it would be good to give it to children. He also liked the idea of blowing up the mythology around Led Zeppelin.
“I think it was exactly the right thing to do, with School of Rock, to blow our myth up into the sky for a while,” he said. “Because it’s all myth. It doesn’t matter. I’ve watched the film and find it funny.”
Robert Plant acknowledged the band is very particular about the media that uses their music
Plant acknowledged that Black and Linklater were right to worry about being able to use the song. As a group, Led Zeppelin doesn’t often think films are deserving of using their songs.
“I’m not responsible for all the decision-making when it comes to where we allow our music,” he said. “It’s group decisions. There are two Capricorns and one Leo. We have to go through the whole thing together. Not to generalize, but quite often we’re presented with a scene that’s in the script or cuts of a film. When there’s something uncomfortable, unpleasant, or overtly just not the right place for our music to be, we say no.”
He has no problem with saying yes to films he believes are worthy of the music.
“The music is dynamic,” he said. “There it is, sitting there, and happily waiting for romance or nuance or drive that should link to a film with substance. But those are hard to come by. It’s not easy to find that. A lot of stuff is completely tasteless. It just goes straight for violence and dynamics. So when good ones come, it’s a different story. You can’t put it in the wrong hands. We’ve already done too much of that.”
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