Robert Plant has offered rare permission for a new indie film to use Led Zeppelin songs, personally approving the use of the music days before its premiere.
When Led Zeppelin released their untitled fourth record back in 1971, the event was preceded by the birth of American filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Close to 50 years later, both Led Zeppelin and Cowperthwaite have come together thanks to the latter’s new film, The Friend.
Based upon an 2015 article by Matthew Teague, The Friend retells the real-life cancer battle of Nicole Teague and how close friend Dane moved in with them to look after their family in Nicole’s final months.
With Nicole being noted as a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, Cowperthwaite found it important to ensure that the band’s influence and music where included in the final product.
However, as anyone who knows about music rights could tell you, including any music from Led Zeppelin in the film would be an immensely costly process.
Check out Led Zeppelin’s ‘Ramble On’:
As Deadline reports, Gabriela Cowperthwaite soon discovered that gaining permission to use Led Zeppelin’s music in the finished product would have taken up approximately a third of its $10 million budget.
While backup music was written into the film, a last-minute attempt from executive producer Ridley Scott helped to get the desired tunes over the line, penning a personal letter to surviving members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones.
Hearing about the film’s content and the usage of Led Zeppelin’s music, Plant was inspired to watch a cut which included ‘Ramble On’ and ‘Going To California’, moving him to the point where he granted permission fo the song’s to be used.
As per Deadline, “[Plant] wrote that while the film was a tough one to sit through, it was beautiful and strong. He congratulated the filmmakers and added he felt that the positioning of the two songs was poignant, sensitive and beautiful.
“Soon after, the band gave them a break and made it possible for the songs to remain in the film.”
Amazingly, Gabriela Cowperthwaite only gained permission to use the songs on Friday, August 30th, just one week before The Friend’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
While this is indeed an amazing story that sees art overcoming financial red tape, we don’t recommend that aspiring filmmakers rely on this method as a means of achieving their goals. Then again, who knows? It might just work.