10 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Expectations were high for Robert Plant's 1982 release Pictures at Eleven, his first solo effort following the dissolution of Led Zeppelin. Though Jimmy Page had long been regarded at Zeppelin’s musical mastermind, this album makes Plant’s forward-thinking tastes evident. “Pledge Pin” bears the influence of The Police—perhaps the era's most highly touted young rock band—while “Fat Lip” feels like a reflection (or a harbinger) of the gently gloomy-yet-romantic guitar rock that The Cure and The Smiths would make in the years to come. Alongside his curiosity for the younger generation’s music, Plant retains his interest in the funky metal riffs that made Zeppelin a global institution. Propelled by drummer Phil Collins (who appears on six of the album’s eight tracks) and young guitarist Robbie Blunt, “Burning Down One Side,” “Slow Dancer," and the wily “Worse Than Detroit” give some idea of what Zeppelin might have sounded like had it made an album in 1982. Far from appearing as a haggard ex-rock god, Plant comes off as frisky on the punchy closer, “Mystery Title.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Expectations were high for Robert Plant's 1982 release Pictures at Eleven, his first solo effort following the dissolution of Led Zeppelin. Though Jimmy Page had long been regarded at Zeppelin’s musical mastermind, this album makes Plant’s forward-thinking tastes evident. “Pledge Pin” bears the influence of The Police—perhaps the era's most highly touted young rock band—while “Fat Lip” feels like a reflection (or a harbinger) of the gently gloomy-yet-romantic guitar rock that The Cure and The Smiths would make in the years to come. Alongside his curiosity for the younger generation’s music, Plant retains his interest in the funky metal riffs that made Zeppelin a global institution. Propelled by drummer Phil Collins (who appears on six of the album’s eight tracks) and young guitarist Robbie Blunt, “Burning Down One Side,” “Slow Dancer," and the wily “Worse Than Detroit” give some idea of what Zeppelin might have sounded like had it made an album in 1982. Far from appearing as a haggard ex-rock god, Plant comes off as frisky on the punchy closer, “Mystery Title.”

TITLE TIME

About Robert Plant

As Led Zeppelin’s longhaired, bare-chested frontman, Robert Plant was the archetypical rock god. Born in Staffordshire, England, and raised on Delta blues, Plant—as a writer and singer, both with Zep and in his ongoing solo career—braided the visceral impact of hard rock with Eastern classical music, Celtic folk, and mysticism, reshaping rock music not as a vehicle for youth culture, but for myth. A powerful singer who once said he wanted his voice to cut like a tenor sax, Plant also helped define the modern rock vocal—wailing, penetrative—and influenced just about anyone who ever tried to keep rank with an electric guitar, from Jack White and Eddie Vedder to Axl Rose and Chris Cornell. His best '70s turns with Zeppelin remain immortal—has any singer turned the blues inside out the way Plant does on “Black Dog”? But just as interesting are muse-following moments like 1988’s “Tall Cool One,” in which he keeps pace with New Wave, or 2007’s Grammy-winning collaboration with folk singer Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, which revealed a plainspokenness barely hinted at with Zeppelin. Speaking to Musician in 1990, Plant joked that he’d never tried to copy anyone with his voice: “It just developed, until it became the girlish whine that it is today.”

HOMETOWN
Birmingham, England
GENRE
Rock
BORN
August 20, 1948

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