13 Songs, 1 Hour 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Now and Zen is the most conspicuously '80s-sounding album of all of Robert Plant’s solo works. (For one, the moody, atmospheric ballad “Ship of Fools” was the soundtrack for Crockett and Tubbs’ last speedboat ride on the finale of TV's Miami Vice in 1988.) On the other hand, it's also the solo album most closely tied to Led Zeppelin's legacy, as Jimmy Page appears on “Heaven Knows” and “Tall Cool One,” the latter of which incorporates samples of “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Ocean,” “Black Dog," and “Custard Pie.” Both songs were No. 1 hits in the U.S., and Plant found himself suddenly relevant again at a time when INXS and Guns ‘N Roses ruled the airwaves. Though the layered, synthesizer-heavy production may seem dated, it works exceedingly well on catchy tunes like “The Way I Feel,” “Helen of Troy," and “Why,” any one of which might have been a hit single had they been recorded by anyone but the former lead singer of Led Zeppelin. Among the bonus tracks is a steamy, extended concert recording of “Ship of Fools” that lives up to Zeppelin’s legendary live jams.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Now and Zen is the most conspicuously '80s-sounding album of all of Robert Plant’s solo works. (For one, the moody, atmospheric ballad “Ship of Fools” was the soundtrack for Crockett and Tubbs’ last speedboat ride on the finale of TV's Miami Vice in 1988.) On the other hand, it's also the solo album most closely tied to Led Zeppelin's legacy, as Jimmy Page appears on “Heaven Knows” and “Tall Cool One,” the latter of which incorporates samples of “Whole Lotta Love,” “The Ocean,” “Black Dog," and “Custard Pie.” Both songs were No. 1 hits in the U.S., and Plant found himself suddenly relevant again at a time when INXS and Guns ‘N Roses ruled the airwaves. Though the layered, synthesizer-heavy production may seem dated, it works exceedingly well on catchy tunes like “The Way I Feel,” “Helen of Troy," and “Why,” any one of which might have been a hit single had they been recorded by anyone but the former lead singer of Led Zeppelin. Among the bonus tracks is a steamy, extended concert recording of “Ship of Fools” that lives up to Zeppelin’s legendary live jams.

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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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