Tag Archives: Robert Plant

Artist Profiles: Robert Plant

Robert Plant – Photo Credit by Pamela Springsteen

Robert Anthony Plant was born August 2, 1948 in West Bromwich, West Midlands, England. He is a rock singer most famous for being the lead singer of one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Led Zeppelin. Robert is known for his powerful style, with a wide vocal range that embodies folk and blues passion at its finest. The British musician has a great appreciation for world music, especially African music.

In 1966 Plant became a professionalmusician. By 1967 he hformed the Band of Joy with John Bonham and created two fundamental working partnerships. The first such partnership was with Terry Reid – the two became friends playing on the progressive music circuit of the mid-1960s; the second was with bandleader Alexis Korner with whom Plant worked as harmonica player and co-vocalist in various Korner ventures many of which featured pianist Steve Miller and were featured as the opening act for the band Free.

In early 1968, Plant’s psychedelic dream ended. Bonham left the Band of Joy to tour with Tim Rose while Plant continued to work with Korner. Plant’s friend, Terry Reid recommended Plant to Jimmy Page for a revised Yardbirds line-up, declining the gig himself to pursue what looked to be a promising solo career. Plant in turn recommended Bonham and with Page’s fellow session musician John Paul Jones on bass, what began life as ‘The New Yardbirds” became the creative force known as Led Zeppelin.

Plant was influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien, which inspired some lyrics on early Led Zeppelin albums. The passion for diverse musical experiences drove Plant and Page to explore the African continent, specifically Morocco which they both revisited during their reunion album No Quarter in 1994. From blues to folk to African tribal music, Plant enjoyed diverse influences.
Led Zeppelin’s greatest success came with “Stairway to Heaven,” an epic fantasy song that draws influence from folk, blues, Celtic, traditional music and hard rock among other genres. While never released as a single, the song has topped charts as one of the greatest songs of all time on various polls around the world.

Plant enjoyed great success with the band throughout the 1970s but it ended abruptly when Plant and his wife Maureen were seriously injured in a car crash in Rhodes, Greece on August 4, 1975. This halted production of Led Zeppelin’s album Presence for a few months while he recovered. Things also took a turn for the worse in 1977, when his oldest son Karac died of a stomach infection. Karac’s death later inspired him to write the Led Zeppelin song “All My Love” in tribute.

Bonham’s unfortunate death in 1980 brought the Led Zeppelin era to a close. Following the band’s breakup”, Plant pursued a successful solo career. Plant formed a short-lived all-star group, The Honeydrippers, that had a Top Ten hit with a remake of “Sea Of Love”.

Plant and Jimmy Page renewed their long-time partnership in 1995 for four years in the No Quarter project, a mix of North African, Egyptian, and folk roots sounds.

Plant’s wide-ranging enthusiasm for non-Western musics, including the music of Morocco, met with his lifelong fascination with American West Coast psychedelic rock to form a new fusion of styles and colors known as Strange Sensation. Their first album Dreamland received great critical acclaim and two Grammy nominations in January 2003.

Plant recorded with Afro Celt Sound System and along with Skin and Justin Adams traveled to north of Timbuktu in Mali to participate in the 2nd Festival of the Desert, a gathering of African, Saharan and assorted musicians that included Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Tinariwen and Tartit. This project ultimately became a CD compilation Festival in the Desert on the Harmonia Mundi label.

In 2003, Plant released the retrospective Sixty Six to Timbuktu that included a selection of Plant’s solo work from his first recording date to his appearance in Mali.

In October of 2004, Plant revived his long-dormant Es Paranza label for its first release in many years. May of 2005 saw the release of Plant and the Strange Sensation’s album Mighty Rearranger that featured twelve new original songs. A major year-long tour followed. At the close of 2005, the critically acclaimed Mighty Rearranger received two Grammy nominations in vocal categories.

In 2006, Robert and the band embark on a new adventure with a series of dates across Europe and beyond. A stopover in Sweden in late May saw Robert, along with the other members of Led Zeppelin receive the prestigious Polar Music Prize. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the award to Led Zeppelin in the presence of other dignitaries with the following words: ‘The 2006 Polar Music Prize is awarded to the British group Led Zeppelin, one of the great pioneers of rock. Their playful and experimental music combined with highly eclectic elements has two essential themes: mysticism and primal energy.”

In October of 2006 Rounder/Zoe Vision released Plant and the Strange Sensation DVD, a ten-camera High Definition shoot for USA Soundstage productions. This was the first commercial DVD in Robert’s career. This continued the critical recognition of the work of Plant and the Strange Sensation.

2006 closed with the worldwide release of Nine Lives (Rhino), a beautifully designed boxed set containing all of Plant’s solo work since 1980, accompanied by outtakes live cuts and a DVD with contributions from Tori Amos, Phil Collins, Roger Daltrey, Bobby Gillespie and Lenny Kravitz among others.

In 2007, Robert worked on album number three with Strange Sensation.

Raising Sand, a project and partnership with Grammy Award winning bluegrass artist Alison Krauss was released in October 2007 on Rounder Records. Produced by T-Bone Burnett, Raising Sand includes blues, country and folk-rock.

Discography:

Pictures at Eleven (Swan Song Records, 1982)
The Principle of Moments (Es Paranza Records, 1983)
Shaken ‘n’ Stirred (Es Paranza Records, 1985)
Now and Zen (Es Paranza Records, 1988)
Manic Nirvana (Es Paranza Records, 1990)
Fate of Nations (Es Paranza Records, 1993)
Dreamland (Mercury Records, 2002)
Mighty ReArranger (Sanctuary Records, 2005)
Raising Sand, with Alison Krauss (Rounder Records, 2007)
Band of Joy (Rounder Records, 2010)
Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar (Nonesuch Records, 2014)
Carry Fire (Nonesuch Records, 2017)

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Musical Eye-Opener to Refugee Crisis

Various Artists – The Long Road (British Red Cross, 2016)

With proceeds going to the British Red Cross UK Refugee Support Service and with help from the Arts Council England, producer Ethan Johns, engineer Dom Monks and executive producer James Gaster, The Long Road is musical eye-opener to the present refugee and asylum seeker across the globe.

Singer, former Led Zeppelin front man and The Long Road contributor, Robert Plant says, “We have a worldwide international catastrophe – talking about it is one thing, doing something about it is another. The position we are in, it’s paramount we all do our best one way or another to help.”

With just five short tracks, most of the artists compiled for The Long Road have skin in the game from the desert blues group Tinariwen and their founder Ibrahim Ag Alhabib at one time a child refugee himself to the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars who made it a practice to support refugees during the civil war in Sierra Leone to artist and producer Adam Bainbridge who once worked as a Red Cross refugee services volunteer.

As a refugee or a witness to the hardship and devastation refugees and asylum seekers face or simply a person of conscience, The Long Road is all about lending a helping hand through music.

Producer Ethan John says of the project, “I wanted to get involved because I thought this was a story worth telling. This is a very special opportunity to create an album with a narrative that helps more people understand the realities of being a refugee and the journeys that people go through.”

Opening the familiar strains of the desert blues, Tinariwen takes on “Ker Algahalam Mas Tasossam” or “Why Is the World Silent?”

The Long Road turns spare and poetically potent with “Who Are You?” with the beat poet Scroobius Pip and the soulful vocals of Congolese Didier Kisala.

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars ramps up the goodness with the brightly reggae tinged “World Peace,” before giving way to the darkly delicious “The Blanket of Night” offered up by Robert Plant.

Kindness closes The Long Road with the story of a Syrian refugee Ayman on “A Retelling.”

We so rarely get the opportunity to be force of change by listening, but The Long Road gives music fans just that opportunity and it would be silly not to take the chance of positive change.

Buy The Long Road CD in North America

Buy The Long Road in Europe

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British Red Cross Releases The Long Road Benefit Album

The British Red Cross has released The Long Road, a concept world music album featuring Robert Plant, Scroobius Pip, the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars, Tinariwen and Kindness. The album is based on the real-life experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

The Long Road album sees features the stories of individuals who have been forced to flee their homes and seek safety in the UK.

This is a very special opportunity to create an album with a narrative that helps more people understand the realities of being a refugee and the journeys people go through,” said producer Ethan Johns. “Music is one of the oldest forms of storytelling, and these are important stories to be told.”

All earnings will go to funding the British Red Cross’s refugee work in the UK.

Buy The Long Road

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Alison Krauss & Robert Plant Collaboration Wins Grammy Award

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raising Sand

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant received the Grammy award for ‘Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals’ for “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On),” from Raising Sand. The song is the only track from the album eligible for this year’s Grammy® Awards.

Raising Sand debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart following its October 23 release on Rounder Records and was certified RIAA Gold soon after. The album and subsequent tracks from Raising Sand will be eligible for nominations next year, at the 51st annual awards. Krauss, as a solo artist, collaborator, producer, and with Union Station, now has 21 Grammy awards to her credit, the most of any female artist or any country artist.

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Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Collaborate on Raising Sand

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – Raising Sand

Boston (Massachusetts), USA – Two legendary figures in popular music, rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) and bluegrass star Alison Krauss have recorded an album titled Raising Sand, which will be released in late October on Rounder Records. From its embryonic, conceptual stages, well before any music materialized, the mere idea of Raising Sand held infinite fascination for both its creators and those around them. As word spread of an impending musical collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, imaginations ran wild. Two artists, each at the pinnacle of their respective pantheons, Robert and Alison have seemingly little in common. But just below the surface, an elemental understanding flowed between them, waiting to be tapped.

Mutual admirers for some time, Plant and Krauss first performed together at a concert celebrating the music of Leadbelly. That great man’s sound, spry and playful, yet marked by an undercurrent of torment and loss – is a keyhole into the sound world unlocked on Raising Sand. After their initial collaboration proved promising, Plant and Krauss brought producer T Bone Burnett into the fold to help them investigate a more sustained, full-scale project. Charged with selecting both supporting musicians and material that would illuminate the connection between these two unique artists, Burnett succeeded wondrously.

Built on a shared core of modal blues and country soul, filtered through alternating layers of unadorned tenderness and thick, shifting textures, the sounds on Raising Sand extend well beyond anyone’s expectations.

It all began quietly, in Alison’s Nashville home. Sitting side by side, with Burnett quietly lining out chord changes on guitar, Plant and Krauss sang. There were no microphones, no effects – nothing to hide behind or escape into. “The idea was to take them both out of their comfort zone,” Burnett reflects. “To take us all out of our comfort zones.”

As one of the finest harmony singers in any style of music, Krauss worked carefully with Plant to develop a blend, telepathically following the contours of his phrasing. New to such intensive two-part harmony. Plant paired down his vocal style to its most basic components resulting in some of the most affecting, soulful singing he has yet captured on tape. “I don’t get nervous really,” Plant said of those early sessions. “But I realized once I started sitting down on that couch, I was in for a ride.”

As they grew more comfortable with the songs and the way their voices complimented one another, they stepped into the studio…. Burnett had assembled an intriguing group of musicians, with a core of guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist Dennis Crouch, and drummer Jay Bellerose occasionally augmented by guitarist Norman Blake and multi-instrumentalist Mike Seeger.

Caution and trepidation gave way to an amazingly fruitful run of sessions, spanning only ten days but resulting in almost die entire album. Burnett nurtured the music endlessly, encouraging the musicians to disregard the past and simply play the songs their way. The sound gelled quickly, as a roomful of strangers became an empathetic, organically telepathic band in a matter of hours.

The combination of Krauss’s silken interpretation of American roots forms with Plant’s defiantly, globally-informed mélange could have turned down any number of sonic byways. Yet Burnett’s relentless focus and the selfless dedication of the two principals has resulted in an album that defies genres in favor of a wide open brand of seismic soul music.

A collision of early urban blues, spacious West Texas country, and the unrealized potential of the folk-rock revolution, Raising Sand is, shockingly evocative – an album that uncovers popular music’s elemental roots while sounding effortlessly, breath-takingly modern.

The material selected by T Bone is the fulcrum on which Plant and Krauss’s delicately disarming harmonies balance and pivot gracefully. Roly Salley’s underground folk gem “Killing the Blues” is as bittersweetly chilling as a grunge rockabilly race through the Everly Brothers’ “Gone Gone Gone” is invigorating. Psychedelic country-rock lightening rod Gene dark is tapped twice: once for Krauss’s devastating treatment of “Through the Morning, Through the Night” and again for “Polly,” delivered tenderly by Plant with a dreamy harmony from Krauss emerging in the second verse.

Surprises abound, from a darkly grooving take on Brit-beat standard “Fortune Teller” to the closing “Long Journey,” a timeless country standard beautifully performed in a strict, solemn Carter Family style.

As much as Raising Sand is a revelation for the listener, the artists involved were even more profoundly affected. “When we got seventy-five percent of the way down the line,” Plant explains, “I realized we’d created something that I could never have dreamt of.” Krauss shares his enthusiasm and wonder. “There’s so much romance in contrast,” she summarizes. “It was a real life-changing experience.”

Preorder Raising Sand.

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Robert Plant and Nuru Kane Closing WOMEX Conference

Nuru Kane

UK – Robert Plant has invited the remarkable Senegalese singer-songwriter Nuru Kane to support him at his closing show at WOMEX at The Sage, Gateshead on Sunday 30th October.

Since his performance at Festival in the Desert 2004, Nuru has been attracting much interest. Now signed to the World Music Network, his first album Sigil will be released in February 2006.

As a special bonus for WOMEX delegates Nuru will perform an early evening showcase on Saturday 29th October 6-9pm at Academy 2, part of the brand new Carling Academy Newcastle venue. Just a few minutes by metro from The Sage, The Academy is conveniently sited in the heart of Newcastle close to the central train station and most of Newcastle’s finest restaurants and bars. The show is presented by Transfusion in conjunction with The Academy Group, The A&C Music Circuit and Line-Up PMC.

Carling Academy Newcastle, located at Westgate Road, Newcastle, NE1 1SW, is Newcastle’s newest and vibiest venue and the latest addition to Academy Music Group’s impressive live venue estate. Opened in October 2005 by the company behind other Academy venues in Brixton, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, Islington and West London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Carling Academy Newcastle is already enjoying a string of sold out gigs.

Nuru Kane is due to tour the UK in March 2006 and worldwide throughout the rest of the year.

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Robert Plant Will Headline the WOMEX 2005 Inauguration

Robert Plant

Berlin, Germany – Rock star Robert Plant, of Led Zeppelin fame, will be headlining the opening celebration of WOMEX 2005. The British musician is known for his interest in world and especially West African music. He will perform with The Strange Sensation on Wednesday 26 October 2005. Later during WOMEX he will participate as conference speaker, detailing a rock musician’s way into world music.

Robert Plant is a rock singer most famous for being the lead singer of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Led Zeppelin. He is known for his powerful style with a wide vocal range that embodies folk and blues passion at its finest. Since the late 1960s, the members of Led Zeppelin showed an interest in African and Arabic music.

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