During their time, Led Zeppelin strode the Earth like the very Gods of Rock. Comprising four power chords they formed a coalesced Colossus who took the World of Rock and Roll by storm. While the brain behind the band was Jimmy Page, who redefined the art of strumming a Guitar, the heart of the quartet was Robert Plant. With the mane of a lion and a magnificent croon capable of seducing the very Devil, the front man of Led Zeppelin wrote himself into the record books and rode into the very hearts and heads of billions of adoring, screaming, swooning fans, some of whom were incorrigibly addicted to the world of LSD and other allied accompaniments.
In this revealing work, Paul Rees detects the life of the reticent and alternatively garrulous rock star who even in his seventies continues to attract fans by the legion. Having born in the Midlands before becoming a recognisable face on both sides of the Atlantic, Robert Plant was hooked to the Blues musi imported from America into Britain. Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Sonny Bill Williamson et al were his cherished Gods. When Jimmy Page went on a recruiting spree to stock his “New Yardbirds”, he honed in on Robert Plant and his mercurial friend on the drums John Bonham. With the versatile John Paul Jones completing the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle, Led Zeppelin was born. Paul Rees dwells upon the accomplishments of Plant the singer as well as the insecurities of Plant the human being. An inveterate weakness for women (which among other things led to the dissolution of Plant’s marriage to further a dalliance with his sister-in-law), an obsession towards the occult and a penchant for wanton debauchery all characterise the dark side of Robert Plant and his band. In fact the tales of Zeppelin debauchery have taken on such mystical proportions that one is at a loss to grasp where the truth ends and the myth begins, or the other way round.
However as Paul Rees so tellingly portrays, the greatest strength of Robert Plant lies in his unquenchable passion for reinventing music. Not satisfied with purveying a stereotypical kind of hellish, head banging stuff, Plant always kept asking for more. His horizon of innovation reached its peak, ironically after the splitting up of Led Zeppelin, courtesy the untimely and agonising death of John Bonham following an overdose of alcohol. Roaming the sands of Africa and parlaying with the Blue Grass of Tennessee, Robert Plant brought out the genius in him with a series of collaborations which have firmly placed him at the forefront of the musical world. Whether dazzling his audience with a soul stirring dystopian rendition of “Kashmir” to the accompaniment of an Egyptian Orchestra or taring one of the most popular Zeppelin songs “Black Dog” to shreds with a slow improvised version along with Allison Krauss, a Blues Singer, Robert Plant generated lasting and unparalleled oeuvres in the domain of rock music.
Paul Rees pays a deserving tribute to this legend, whose throes have become immortal and whose voice evokes a entire panoply of emotions ranging from raw dissonance to enchanting transcendence.
“Robert Plant – A Life” – A benediction to the surreal and timeless voice of Rock!