President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama applaud on the balcony as they attend the 2012 Kennedy Centre Honours at the Kennedy Centre in Washington
Music legend Led Zeppelin was recognized on Sunday alongside entertainers from stage and screen for their contributions to the arts and American culture at the Kennedy Centre Honours, lifetime achievement awards for performing artists.
The eclectic tribute in Washington, alternated between solemn veneration and lighthearted roasting of honourees Academy Award-winning actor Dustin Hoffman, wisecracking late-night talk show host David Letterman, blues guitar icon Buddy Guy, ballerina Natalia Makarova and Led Zeppelin, reports Reuters.
"I worked with the speechwriters - there is no smooth transition from ballet to Led Zeppelin," President Barack Obama deadpanned while introducing the honourees in a ceremony in the White House East Room.
Friends, contemporaries and a new generation of artists influenced by the honourees took the stage in tribute.
"Dustin Hoffman is a pain the ass," actor Robert DeNiro said in introducing Hoffman, the infamously perfectionist star of such celebrated films as "The Graduate" and "Tootsie."