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Still working…Robert at 60

19 August 2008 2,322 views No Comment

I have a fair few autographed items by Robert Plant in my collection – but pride of place goes to something he signed for me on a piece of Plaza Hotel paper a few hours after Led Zeppelin’s concert at the Festhalle Frankfurt on June 30th 1980.

It says simply ‘’It works…contrary to public opinion – Robert Plant’’

That statement might be something of a mantra to his life.

A life that today reaches the milestone age of 60.

Public opinion has not always lent its ear easily to Robert Plant’s single minded musings. From being the only blues wailer in the Kidderminster area, fronting the often bizarre stage act of the Band Of Joy, fielding off the cries of hype that surrounded the early success of Zeppelin, the frequent left of field moves of his solo career, through to the enduring will he or won’t he saga of a Zep reunion.

As long as it works for him…well that’s good enough.

In a career that spans ‘66 to the 02 there has been much that has worked – very well indeed to the eternal benefit of his many admirers.

For me personally I’ve been lucky enough to have been in his company on many of the days when as he put it  ‘’It works’’

Examples: On a cold perishing English night at Wembley Empire Pool, over five nights in SW5, in a field outside Stevenage, tiny venues in the Midlands with the Honeydrippers, back with Jimmy to the roar of  Meadowlands  Arena New Jersey, in a tent somewhere in darkest Leicestershire, a back street pub in Birmingham, and that night of nights at the 02 last December.

And so many more in between.

It’ll be a strictly Plant playlist around these parts these next few days as I determine his Vital Vocal Performances for my contribution to the TBL Poll.

As a yardstick and guide you would be well advised to check out Stephen Humphries’ excellent Robert Plant 60 At 60 feature in the new TBL

On this auspicious occasion I can’t resist compiling my own 60 at 60 –these for me are the definitive examples of Plant vocal power at it’s best – at least today…

Accompanied by the key lyrics that hit the mark and comments:

Our Song, (‘’It made us fall in looooove’’)

Laughing Crying Laughing  (‘’Jack loves Jill she don’t care’’)

For What it’s Worth  (Something’s happening here..’’)

Good Times Bad Times  (‘’I know what it means to be alooone’’)

Babe Im Gonna Leave You (‘’I ain’t jokin’ woman you gotta ramble’’)

Whole Lotta Love  (‘’Shake for me girl’’)

What Is And What Should Never Be   (‘’And if I say to you tomorrow’’ – that gorgeous  opening line…)

Thank You  (‘’And so today my world it smiles’’)

Ramble On  (‘’Gotta find the queen of all my dreams’’)

Immigrant Song (Live on Blueberry Hill -‘’Ahhhh…Ahhh!!)

Since I’ve Been Loving You  (‘’Said I been crying..’’)

That’s The Way  (‘’And so I say to you that nothing really matters…’’)

Black Dog  (‘’I gotta roll can’t stand still’’.’’.)

Battle of Evermore  (‘’Bring it back..’’)

The Song Remains The Same  (‘’I had a dream’’)

The Rain Song  (‘’Upon us all..’’)

Over the Hills And Far Away (Live Seattle March 21 1975 ‘’Acapulco gold!’’)

In My Time of Dying (‘’Doncha make it my dying…dying…’’

Kashmir   (’ Trying to find, trying to find where I’ve beeeeeeen’’.)

In The Light   (‘’Eveybody needs the light’’)

Down By The Seaside (‘’ Do you still do the twist’’)

Ten Years Gone (‘’holding on…’’ pure emotion)

Night Flight  (‘’ I received a message’’ that opening line is vocal bliss)

Tangerine ( Earl’s Court May 24 1975 – This is for our families and friends’’

Going To California (Earls Court official DVD version ‘’Oh she sings’’)

Dazed And Confused (Earls Court May 24 1975 ‘’We’ve got to get ourselves…back to the garden’’)

Stairway To Heaven (Earls Court May 24 1975 ‘’That’s all we got’’)

Achilles Last  Stand  (‘’the devils in his ho-o- o-o -le’’)

For Your Life  (‘’When you blow it, babe, you got to blow it right’’)

In The Evening  (Knebworth August 4 1979  ‘’It’s gotta stop it’s gotta stop!’’  )

All My Love (long ending outtake ‘’Sometimes…sometimes…sometimes oh oh ’’)

I’m Gonna Crawl  (‘’She give me good lovin’’ that final scream…)

Moonlight In Samosa (‘’Time and again I see you walking down the street’’)

Slow Dancer (‘’To the heights. to the heights’’ – the point he knew he could do it all again)

Far Post   (‘’Sure as winter follows fall, sure as maybe I will call’’)

Pledge Pin Live in Dallas 83  ‘’As the cavalcade begins to thin, do you stop and look around’’)

Big Log (Live Dallas 1983 ‘’Oh my love oh my love oh my love..is in league with the freeway’’)

Sea of Love  (‘’Come with me’’)

Sixes And Sevens  (‘’Am I at six ,am I at six am Ieeeee!’’)

Ship of Fools  (‘’Crazy crazy fool’’ -absolutely stunning vocal)

Tie Dye On The Highway  (‘‘With the messengers of peace and the company of love’’)

Anniversary (‘’What is this land that I have found’’)

Calling To You (‘’Oh  Jiimmmy!’’)

Come Into My Life  (‘’ Oh when you get there, well you know ‘’-  another of his very best…)

The Greatest Gift (‘’ Everything I do, yes I do for my love’’)

In The Mood (Live at Paradiso club Amsterdam 93 –stunning medley)

Wonderful One  (MTV Unledded) ( ‘’The queen of love has flown again’’

That’s The Way   (MTV Unledded ’’I can’t believe what people saying’’)

Blue Train (I been waiting on a corner’’-  the best recorded moment of the P and P re-allience)

Little Hands  (‘’Come let us meet them’’ – birth of a new style)

Life Begins Again  (‘’This is the day and the hour’’ – at his most exotic)

Flames   (Priory psych fest)

Song To The Siren (Priory live at Reading with the Indian style outro)

If I Ever Get Lucky  (‘’win my train fare home’’ Live in the desert)

Skips Song   (‘’If you’d seen the naked dream I had of you.. would you care’’ another vocal masterclass)

Dirt In The Hole  (‘’Pretty flowers in sweet array picked to die and fade away’’ another personal fave much underrated)

Seven And Seven Is ( ’When I was a boy I thought about the times Id be a man’’  Live anywhere just so good …)

Tin Pan Valley  (‘’Like this!’’)

Stick With Me Baby (‘’Everybody’s been talkin’ ‘’ – perfect harmony)

Kashmir ( Live at the 02 Arena – the whole event  could never have worked so well without such total vocal commitment )

 

Selecting ten from that lot is not going to be easy – but re acquainting myself with all those vital vocal performances will be a joy.

He remains the definitive rock vocalist, and at 60 his unquenchable thirst for musical invention is as high as ever.

In effect  ‘’It works..’’

As he once put it.

Long may it do so…

Happy Birthday Robert

……..

It’s back to the slog this week after a few days out. Very pleasingly Sam’s grades were excellent with A’s in Politics and English ensuring her place at UEA Norwich where in six weeks she will be departing theTotnes nest…Adam’s been full on with his new Nintendo Wii and playing badminton (there’s local interest here in that sport as Team GB’s Gail Emms is a Bedford girl) and is back in football training. I’ve enjoyed clocking a fair bit of Olympics action (and now await the closing ceremony with interest!) and yes some beers have been supped and a curry or two devoured. Right – I’m off to find my 12 inch copy of Heaven Knows. That astral mix might be worthy of re consideration…         

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