Robert Plant

Robert Plant

Infobox musical artist
Name = Robert Plant

Img_capt = Robert Plant performing at the Green Man Festival (2007)
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Robert Anthony Plant
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1948|8|20|df=y
West Bromwich,
Staffordshire, England
Died =
Instrument = Vocals, Harmonica, Tambourine, Guitar
Genre = hard rock, heavy metal, blues rock, folk rock, world music, folk
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, Musician
Years_active = 1966–present
Label = Atlantic, Swan Song, "Es Paranza", Mercury, Universal
Associated_acts = Band of Joy,Led Zeppelin, Rockestra, The Honeydrippers, Page and Plant, Strange Sensation, Alison Krauss

Robert Anthony Plant (born 20 August 1948, West Bromwich, England), is an English rock singer and songwriter, famous for his membership in the English rock band Led Zeppelin as the lead vocalist, as well as for his successful solo career. He recently released a folk based album with folk singer Alison Krauss.

Life and career

Early career

Plant was born in West Bromwich, then Staffordshire, in West Midlands, to parents Robert C. and Annie C. (Cain) Plant, but grew up in Halesowen, formerly Worcestershire, now part of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. He left school in his mid-teens and developed a strong passion for the blues, mainly through his admiration for Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson and early rendition of songs in this genre. He abandoned training as a chartered accountant after only two weeks to attend college in an effort to gain more GCE passes and to become part of the Midlands blues scene. ["Led Zeppelin In Their Own Words" compiled by Paul Kendall (1981), London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-86001-932-2, p. 14.] [Dave Lewis and Simon Pallett (1997) "Led Zeppelin: The Concert File", London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-5307-4, p. 10.] His early blues influences included artists such as Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Skip James, Jerry Miller and Sleepy John Estes. Plant did various jobs while pursuing his music career, one of which was working for the major British construction company Wimpey in Birmingham in 1966 laying tarmac on roads. He also worked at Woolworths in Halesowen town for a short period of time. He cut three obscure singles on CBS Records ["Hammer Of the Gods", by Stephen Davis ISBN 1-57297-306-4 (p.48-49)] and sang with a variety of bands, including The Crawling King Snakes, which brought him into contact with drummer John Bonham. They both went on to play in the Band of Joy, merging blues with newer psychedelic trends. Though his early career met with no commercial success, word quickly spread about the "young man with the powerful voice".

Led Zeppelin

Early years

In 1968, the guitarist Jimmy Page was in search of a lead singer for his new band and met Plant after being turned down by his first choice, Terry Reid, who referred him to a show at a teacher training college in Birmingham— where Plant was singing in a band named Hobbstweedle.cite journal |last=Gilmore |first=Mikal |title=The Long Shadow of Led Zeppelin |journal=Rolling Stone |issue=1006 |date=10 August 2006 |url= |accessdate=2007-12-09 ] Page explained:

Plant and Page immediately hit it off with a shared musical passion and after Plant joined the band they began their writing collaboration with reworkings of earlier blues songs, although Plant would receive no songwriting credits on the band's first album, allegedly because he was still under contract to CBS Records at the time. Plant brought along John Bonham as drummer, and along with John Paul Jones, who had worked with Jimmy Page as a studio musician, Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968.

Led Zeppelin's self-titled debut album hit the charts in 1969 and is widely credited as a catalyst for the heavy metal genre. Plant, however, has commented that it is unfair for people to think of Zeppelin as heavy metal, as almost a third of their music was acoustic. ["The History of Rock 'n' Roll: The '70s: Have a Nice Decade"]

Later years

In August 1975, he and his wife Maureen (m. 1968-1983) were seriously injured in a car crash in Rhodes, Greece. This significantly affected the production of Led Zeppelin's seventh album "Presence" for a few months while he recovered, and forced the band to cancel the remaining tour dates for the year.

In July 1977 his oldest son Karac died of an infection when Plant was engaged on Led Zeppelin's concert tour of the United States. Karac's death later inspired him to write the song "All My Love" in tribute, featured on Led Zeppelin's final studio LP, 1979's "In Through the Out Door".

These events had a major effect on Plant, and represent a turning point in Led Zeppelin's music, as "In Through The Out Door" featured a lighter and more progressive sound under the direction of John Paul Jones, with fewer of the hard-rocking numbers the band had been known for. Plant has told an interviewer "I had a couple of bad knocks which, no matter what happens, will always have taken their toll on me. I know that my kind of vision, or the carefree element I had, disappeared instantly when I had my automobile accident in 1975. That kind of ramshackled 'I'll take the world now' attitude was completely gone." [ [ Robert Plant - In His Own Words ] ]

Solo career

After the breakup of Led Zeppelin in 1980 (following the death of John Bonham), Plant pursued a successful solo career beginning with "Pictures at Eleven" in 1982, followed by 1983's "The Principle of Moments". Popular tracks from this period include "Big Log" (a Top 20 hit in 1983), "In the Mood" (1984), "Little by Little" (1985), "Tall Cool One" (a #25 hit in 1988) and "I Believe" (1993), another song written for and dedicated to his late son, Karac. In 1984, Plant formed a short-lived all-star group with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck called The Honeydrippers, who had a #3 hit with a remake of the Phil Phillips' tune, "Sea of Love", along with a lesser hit with "Rockin' at Midnight." Plant avoided performing Led Zeppelin songs through much of this period.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, Plant co-wrote three solo albums with keyboardist/songwriter Phil Johnstone. "Now and Zen", "Manic Nirvana", and "Fate of Nations" (featuring Máire Brennan of Clannad). It was Johnstone who talked Plant into playing Led Zeppelin songs in his live shows, something Plant had resisted, not wanting to be forever known as "the former Led Zeppelin vocalist." Plant first collaborated with Jimmy Page post-Zeppelin in the studio on the 1988 Page solo effort, "Outrider". He later collaborated with Page on the 1998 album, "Walking into Clarksdale", which features all original material from the pair. Starting at the close of 1999, Plant performed at several small venues with his folk-rock band, named Priory of Brion.

In 2001, Plant appeared on Afro Celt Sound System's album "Volume 3: Further in Time." The song "Life Begin Again" features a duet with Welsh folksinger Julie Murphy, emphasizing Plant's recurring interest in Welsh culture (Murphy would also tour in support of Plant).

In 2002, with his then newly-formed band Strange Sensation, Plant released a widely acclaimed collection of mostly blues and folk remakes, "Dreamland". Contrasting with this lush collection of often relatively obscure remakes, the second album with Strange Sensation, "Mighty ReArranger" (2005), contains new, original songs. Both have received some of the most favorable reviews of Plant's solo career and four Grammy nominations, two in 2003 and two in 2006.

As a former member of Led Zeppelin, along with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, Plant received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and the [ Polar Music Prize] in 2006. Plant still actively tours. His sets typically include recent, but not only, solo material and plenty of Led Zeppelin favourites, often with new and expanded arrangements. A DVD titled "", featuring his Soundstage performance (filmed at the Soundstage Studios in Chicago on 16 September 2005), was released in October 2006.An expansive box set of his solo work, Nine Lives, was released in November 2006, which expanded all of his albums with various b-sides, demos, and live cuts. It was accompanied by a DVD. All his solo works were re-released with these extra tracks individually. In 2007, Plant contributed two tracks to the Fats Domino tribute album "Goin' Home: A Tribute To Fats Domino", "It Keeps Rainin'" with the Lil' Band O' Gold and "Valley Of Tears" with The Soweto Gospel Choir.

On 23 June 2006, Plant was the headliner (backed by Ian Hunter's band) at the Benefit For Arthur Lee concert at New York's Beacon Theater, a show which raised money for Lee's medical expenses from his bout with leukemia. Plant and band performed thirteen songs - five by Arthur Lee & Love, five Led Zeppelin songs and three others including a duet with Ian Hunter. At the show, Plant told the audience of his great admiration for Arthur Lee dating back to the mid-Sixties. Sadly, Lee died of his illness six weeks after the concert.

With Alison Krauss

Since 2007, Plant has been recording and performing with bluegrass star Alison Krauss. A duet album, "Raising Sand", was released on 23 October 2007 on Rounder Records. The album, recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles and produced by T-Bone Burnett, includes performances of lesser-known material from R&B, blues, folk, and country songwriters including Mel Tillis, Townes Van Zandt, Gene Clark, Tom Waits, Doc Watson, Little Milton Campbell and the Everly Brothers. The song "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" from "Raising Sand" won a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals in 2008. [ [ List of Grammy winners] ] The album has been successful critically and commercially, and was certified platinum on 4 March 2008.

Plant and Krauss began an extended tour of the US and Europe in April 2008, playing music from "Raising Sand" and other American roots music as well as reworked Led Zeppelin tunes. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize in July 2008. [ Mercury picks dark horses and rising stars, "The Guardian", 2008-07-23. Retrieved on 23 July 2008.] Also in 2008, Plant performed with bluegrass musicians at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. He appeared as a surprise guest during Fairport Convention's set at the 2008 Cropredy Festival, performing Led Zeppelin's The Battle of Evermore with Kristina Donahue as a tribute to Sandy Denny.

Further reference to Fairport Convention occurs in October 2008, when it is reported that Plant has collaborated on a new album by original Fairport vocalist Judy Dyble, due for release early 2009.

Zeppelin-related projects and reunion rumours

On rare occasions, Plant performed with both living members of Led Zeppelin: In 1985 for Live Aid (with Phil Collins and Tony Thompson on drums), 1988 for Atlantic Records 40th anniversary, 1995 when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and 10 December 2007 to honour the memory of Atlantic Records cofounder Ahmet Ertegün, the last three with Bonham's son Jason filling in on drums. Additionally, Plant, Jones, and Page attended — and performed at — Jason's wedding in 1990. Despite enormous public demand, Plant declined a $200 million offer to tour with Led Zeppelin after the 2007 show. [ [ Robert Plant Turns Down $200 million for Zeppelin Reunion Tour @ JustPressPlay ] ] In interviews following the 2007 show, Plant left the door open to possible future performances with Led Zeppelin, saying that he enjoyed the reunion and felt that the show was strong musically. [ [ Robert Plant Confirms Led Zeppelin Could Play Again] ] Although Page, Jones, and Bonham have expressed the strong desire to tour as Led Zeppelin [ [ Jason Bonham: 'I Would Do A Led Zeppelin Tour In A Heartbeat' - GIGWISE ] ] , Plant has consistently opposed a full tour and has responded negatively to questions about another reunion. In a January, 2008 interview, he stated that he does not want to "go around and around like a bunch of bored old men following the Rolling Stones around." [ [ / Robert Dismisses Talk of Zeppelin Tour] ] Because of this, the other three members have said that they are rehearsing with an American stand-in vocalist for a reunion tour, and possibly a new album.


Plant became one of the most significant rock singers of the genre and influenced the style of many of his contemporaries, including Ann Wilson, [Citation
last = Wilson
first = Ann
title = Ann Wilson Song By Song description - Hope & Glory
accessdate = 2008-08-26
] Sammy Hagar, [cite episode
title = 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock
series = VH1 The Greatest
serieslink = The_Greatest_(TV_series)
] Rob Halford, [Citation
last = Pehling
first = David
title = The Metal God Speaks: Rob Halford Interview Part One
] and later rock vocalists such as Jeff Buckley. [Citation
last = Vaziri
first = Aidin
title = Jeff Buckley (interview), "Raygun" magazine, 1994
accessdate = 2008-08-26


Plant's lyrics are often mystical, philosophical and spiritual, alluding to events in classical and Norse mythology, such as the "Immigrant Song", which refers to Valhalla and Viking conquests. However, the song "No Quarter" is often misunderstood to refer to the god Thor; the song actually refers to Mount Thor (which is named after the god). Another example is "The Rain Song", which contains allusions to various pagan rituals.

Plant was also influenced by J. R. R. Tolkien, whose book series inspired lyrics in some early Led Zeppelin songs. Most notably the "Battle of Evermore", "Misty Mountain Hop" and "Ramble On" all contain verses referencing Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". Conversely, Plant sometimes used more straightforward blues-based lyrics dealing primarily with sexual innuendo, as in "The Lemon Song", "Trampled Under Foot", and "Black Dog".

Welsh mythology also forms a basis of Plant's interest in mystical lyrics. He grew up close to the Welsh border and would often take summer trips to Snowdonia. Plant bought a Welsh sheep farm in 1973, and began taking Welsh lessons and looking into the mythology of the land (such as Black Book of Carmarthen, Book of Taliesin, etc.) Plant's first son, Karac, was named after the Welsh warrior Caratacus. The song title "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" is named after the 18th Century Welsh cottage Bron-Yr-Aur owned by a friend of his father; and later inspired the song "Bron-Yr-Aur." The songs "Misty Mountain Hop," "That's the Way," and early dabblings in what would become "Stairway to Heaven" were written in Wales and lyrically reflect Plant's mystical view of the land. Critic Steve Turner suggests that Plant's early and continued experiences in Wales served as the foundation for his broader interest in the mythologies he revisits in his lyrics (including those myth systems of Tolkien and the Norse). ["Stairway to Heaven, Paved with Gold: Led Zeppelin’s Snowdonia." "The Independent", 6 April 1991.]

The passion for diverse musical experiences drove Plant to explore Africa, specifically Morocco, whose musical inspiration most evidently culminated in the classic track "Kashmir" (which is not in North Africa, but rather between India and Pakistan). Both he and Jimmy Page revisited these influences during their reunion album "" in 1994. In his solo career, Plant again tapped from these influences many times, most notably in the 2002 album, "Dreamland".

Undoubtedly one of Plant's most significant and influential achievements with Led Zeppelin was his contribution to the track "Stairway to Heaven", an epic rock ballad featured on "Led Zeppelin IV" that drew influence from folk, blues, Celtic traditional music and hard rock among other genres. Most of the lyrics of the song were written spontaneously by Plant in 1970 at Headley Grange. While never released as a single, the song has topped charts as the greatest song of all time on various polls around the world. Other fans however argue that Plant made a better performance in other Led Zeppelin epics such as "Kashmir" or "Achilles Last Stand".

Plant is also recognised for his lyrical improvisation in Led Zeppelin's live performances, often singing verses previously unheard on studio recordings. One of the most famous Led Zeppelin musical devices involves Plant's vocal mimicking of band mate Jimmy Page's guitar effects. This can be heard in the songs "How Many More Times", "Dazed and Confused", "The Lemon Song", "You Shook Me", "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and "Sick Again". He is also known for his light-hearted and humorous on-stage banter, often referred to as "plantations."

Solo Discography


External links

* [ Led Zeppelin Official Site]
* [ Official Robert Plant Homepage]
* [ Interview with Robert Plant]
* [ 1971 Interview with Robert Plant by underground press journalist Rick McGrath.]
* [ 2003 Afropop Worldwide Interview with Robert Plant in Mali]
* [ BBC interview with Robert Plant about the Led Zeppelin reunion]
* [ YouTube video demonstrating Plant's vocal range, both live and in the studio]
* [ Interview from about collaboration with Allison Kraus]

NAME= Plant, Robert
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Plant, Robert Anthony
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Singer-songwriter, Musician
DATE OF BIRTH= 1948-8-20
PLACE OF BIRTH=West Bromwich,West Midlands, England

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