Rock legends Led Zeppelin will be among the luminaries who will receive one of the most prestigious awards in the U.S. for the arts, the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors. Zeppelin will be saluted at a December 2nd ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Event highlights will be part of a two-hour TV special on CBS on December 26th at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Although Led Zeppelin will be honored as a group at the event, singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones will be acknowledged individually with the award as well.

Kennedy Center Honors recognizes lifetime contributions to the arts. Along with Led Zeppelin, acclaimed bluesman Buddy Guy, Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, longtime TV host David Letterman and Russian ballerina/choreographer Natalia Makarova will be honored.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein said, “With their extraordinary talent, creativity and tenacity, the seven 2012 Kennedy Center honorees have contributed significantly to the cultural life of our nation and the world,” said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century; Dustin Hoffman’s unyielding commitment to the wide variety of roles he plays has made him one of the most versatile and iconoclastic actors of this or any other generation; David Letterman is one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm; Natalia Makarova’s profound artistry has ignited the stages of the world’s greatest ballet companies and continues to pass the torch to the next generation of dancers; and LED ZEPPELIN’s John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant transformed the sound of rock and roll with their lyricism and innovative song structures, infusing blues into the sound of rock and roll and laying the foundation for countless rock bands.”

All honorees will be seated with President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, at the Honors Gala, where various celebrities will deliver tribute performances and presentations. A pre-gala reception and a post-event supper dance also will be held.

Rock n’ rollers who have received Kennedy Center Honors in the past include Paul McCartney, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Paul Simon and Brian Wilson.

It’s official! ‘Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day’, a film documenting the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion show at London’s O2 Arena will be released on November 19th. The Sun tabloid in the U.K. yesterday cited a source saying the concert would be issued as a CD/DVD package and a Blu-ray disc “as part of a simultaneous global release.” The source also said guitarist Jimmy Page is overseeing the project and “has been in the studio making sure everything is perfect.” Now it is official.

Here’s the press release from the band’s website:

“On December 10, 2007,  Led Zeppelin took the stage at London’s O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. What followed was a two-hour-plus tour de force of the band’s signature blues-infused rock ’n’ roll that instantly became part of the legend of Led Zeppelin. Founding members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham, to perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalog including landmark tracks “Whole Lotta Love,” “Rock And Roll,” “Kashmir,” and “Stairway To Heaven.”

Although 20 million people applied for tickets, the band’s first headline show in 27 years was seen only by the 18,000 ticket holders who were fortunate enough to have secured seats through the worldwide lottery.
The film of Celebration Day will see a worldwide theatrical release by Omniverse Vision on 1,500 screens in over 40 territories on October 17. The theatrical screenings will follow premieres in London, Los Angeles, New York, and other major cities. Tickets for the public screenings will be available on September 13 via ledzeppelin.com. Celebration Day will then be available in multiple video and audio formats on November 19 from Swan Song/Atlantic Records. Specific product details will be announced soon.

Led Zeppelin began a social media countdown on Saturday with the posting of the word “FIVE,” leading up to today’s announcement.

An audio snippet of the song “Good Times, Bad Times” from the 2007 reunion show in London was also posted leading upto today’s announcement.

Here’s the Cineplex press release on the theatrical release:

“On December 10, 2007, LED ZEPPELIN took the stage at London’s O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. What followed was a two-hour-plus tour de force of the band’s signature blues-infused rock ‘n’ roll that instantly became part of the legend of LED ZEPPELIN.

“Founding members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham, to perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalogue including landmark tracks ‘Whole Lotta Love’, ‘Rock And Roll’, ‘Kashmir’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’.

“Although 20 million people applied for tickets, the band’s first headline show in 27 years was seen only by the 18,000 ticket holders who were fortunate enough to have secured seats through the worldwide lottery.

“Now, for the first time, fans in over 40 territories worldwide will be able to get a front row seat to experience this historic event in glorious high definition and incredible surround sound. Experience it on the big screen for a strictly limited period only.”

A new book ‘Light And Shade: Conversations With Jimmy Page’ is lated for release on October 23rd. The book is a collection of conversations Brad Tolinski, the Editorial Director of Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado and Revolver has had with the illusive Jimmy Page. Tolinski has had more interview opportunities with Page than any other journalist over the years. Here’s the first in a series of excerpts of the book given exclusively to CBS Local.

In this quote, Page discusses his early vision for the band. After spending years as a session musician (playing on records for The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Brenda Lee and Petula Clark, among others), and as a member of The Yardbirds, he had a plan to lead Led Zeppelin, to get the band complete creative control and to make sure they wouldn’t be in financial debt to their record label.

“I wanted artistic control in a vice grip, because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the band. In fact, I financed and completely recorded the first album before going to Atlantic. It wasn’t your typical story where you get an advance to make an album—we arrived at Atlantic with tapes in hand. The other advantage to having such a clear vision of what I wanted the band to be was that it kept recording costs to a minimum. We recorded the whole first album in a matter of 30 hours. That’s the truth. I know, because I paid the bill. [laughs]“