Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whole Lotta Love

 He is the quintessential rock god and August 20th is his birthday! Happy 66th Robert Plant. Robert Anthony Plant from an early age loved music, Elvis in particular. How fitting that the future god of rock would idolize not just the man himself, but the music at such an early age. Both were heavily influenced by the American Blues. And both have achieved cult icon status for their own reasons.
But what is it about this man that I love so? First, you have the rock n roll, debauchery,  blonde hair, Norse god that projected his greatness into many a woman's (and many a man's) heart and dreams. His voice poetic and dreamy. He made loving Tolkien cool, mentioning Mordor, the ring, and even Gollum in some of Zepps most famous songs. From 1968 - 1980, he was the best lead singer of any rock and roll band.
While many Zep fans mourned the loss of John Bonham, Plant seemed to love music too much and went solo - leaving the tight pants behind (damn).
The Robert Plant that emerged was not the swaggering Norseman of the 70's but a cool, refreshing, but still smoking hot, seasoned musician looking to try out some new sounds. What we got were some of the classic 80's hits, Big Log, Ship of Fools, In the Mood, and from the Honeydripper experiment, Sea of Love. While his music was not as rock and roll, it was still mysterious and artful. Even as he has evolved from solo, to tour with Jimmy Page, and to his last three bands, The Strange Sensation, Band of Joy, and Sensational Space Shifters, he has ignored the requests for a Zeppeling reunion. Thankfully! I admire Robert for saying simply, that music isn't me anymore. Let's face it, he doesn't need the money. He does sing those songs, but in his own way. His new music is soulful, colorful, and mystical.
I've seen my rock god several times, at Bonnaroo, concerts, on David Letterman, and on Jimmy Fallon. What I loved about that show in particular was how Jimmy looked like a kid, smiling and sitting is his chair ready to freak at any minute that he was sitting next to Robert Plant. I'm sure Mr. Plant is used to this behavior by now - but he does not dwell in the fact kind of like he might have in the 70's - we all remember this photo: 

 He openly loves music, its sound and rhythm and the history of music. His love of African music is so evidently clear going back to when Page and Plant performed in Morocco and their song from Walking Into Clarksdale, Most High.  
But it simply is not the fandom that has been inspired by Robert, his list of fellow musicians that he has inspired is extremely impressive: Freddy Mercury, Axel Rose, and Jeff Buckley are just three who claim Plant was the equivalent of Grimm Fairytales and the Joe DiMaggio of their musical dreams.  
"And ode to life and love and the fragile adventure you set out upon unknowingly and unwittingly." Robert Plant on Lullably and the Ceaseless Roar
Discography of Robert Plant - solo
Pictures at Eleven (1982)
The Principle of Moments (1983)
Shaken 'n' Stirred (1985)
Now and Zen (1988)
Manic Nirvana (1990)
Fate of Nations (1993)
Dreamland (2002)
Mighty ReArranger (2005)
Band of Joy (2010)
Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar (2014)
Collaborative albums
The Honeydrippers: Volume One (1984) (with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck)
No Quarter Unledded (1994) (with Jimmy Page)
Walking Into Clarksdale (1998) (with Jimmy Page)
Raising Sand (2007) (with Alison Krauss)

Prospect Park (c) PCarlson 2013


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