Number 845 - Robert Plant
"Ship Of Fools"
Could Robert Plant be one of the most influential artists of all-time? I mean seriously, is he? How do you equate this question? Is he better than say Elvis or say John Lennon? Was Led Zeppelin more import than say Rolling Stones or The Doors and, dare i say it, The Beatles?
"In 1968, a naïve young singer from the Black Country hills in England named Robert Plant was discovered wailing the blues by veteran session guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones. When Plant recommended his friend John Bonham as the drummer, one of the most successful bands in rock history was born as Led Zeppelin. But the group that started with such force also ended in flames after 12 years, as Bonham's death from alcohol poisoning in 1980 split the band after nine albums. The remaining members went their separate ways, but Bonham's death hit Plant particularly hard."
"Starting his solo career in 1982 with his Zeppelin-like Pictures at Eleven album, Plant would use a slew of great drummers over the next few years, including Phil Collins, Cozy Powell, Barriemore Barlow, and Richie Hayward. Collins appeared on the 1983 follow-up, The Principle of Moments, and Plant achieved a lighter touch somewhere between Genesis and Zeppelin's quieter side with tracks like "In the Mood" and "Big Log." But the singer would feed his Elvis Presley infatuation on 1984's The Honeydrippers, Vol. 1, teaming with Page and other guests on influential roots rock material."
Refusing to be typecast, Plant then threw a major curve with Shaken 'N' Stirred, the 1985 album that approximated new wave through the synthesizer embellishments of keyboardist Jezz Woodroffe and guitarist Robbie Blunt, plus Hayward's use of electronic drums. It was a creative highlight of his career, but despite a hit in "Little By Little," the album sold poorly, and the rumblings about a Zeppelin reunion mounted. Plant took the next few years off, then answered the call for Zeppelin material with 1988's Now & Zen, which featured samples from his old group (plus selections from its vault on the subsequent tour). Manic Nirvana furthered the post-Zeppelin theme in 1990, and Plant's 1993 CD Fate of Nations proved another artistic high point and found Plant singing Page's name on the hit "Calling to You." The old songwriting partners had gotten together again for special occasions with Jones and drummers like Collins and Bonham's son Jason, but organized a different reunion in 1994. Plant brought in his bassist, Charlie Jones, and touring drummer, Michael Lee, to back he and Page -- who added a British symphony orchestra and Middle Eastern musicians for their televised No Quarter concert and CD. Despite Plant blocking Jones from participating (the two had disagreed throughout their careers), the show proved a fascinating blend of different cultures tackling Zeppelin classics like "Since I've Been Loving You" and "Gallows Pole."
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