There are, of course, thousands of vocalists who seek to emulate Plant, spinning on their heels as they toss their long hair and holler at the mesosphere. As Plant once put it, “It is a hell of a responsibility, developing the culture of men in codpieces screaming blue murder!”
Ask those front men about Plant’s range and they’ll likely enthuse about Plant’s ability to dial through several octaves. Only a few astute Plant devotees – Jeff Buckley comes to mind – recognise the vocalist’s most dynamic range, his stylistic breadth and emotional span.
The key to understanding Plant – and by extension is that he is driven by an inner gyroscopic motion to perpetually develop as an artist. He’s never been one to wallow in the status quo.
It’s an instinct Plant displayed at his very first rehearsal. The West Bromwich blonde who used to hide behind the curtains to do renditions of Elvis’s A Fool Such As I (“Is that a bustle in your curtain row, Mrs. Plant?”), recalls an invite to sit in with a band of school friends.
“They were just standing there like The Searchers did” Plant told Goldmine in 1993. “I went, ‘What about Got My Mojo Working by Muddy Waters.’ They said, ‘Well, what’s that? And I said, ‘Play a 12-bar in Eat This Tempo.’ And I counted it out and started singing it, and soon as I started, I [was] able to wail with my voice rather than stick with a straighter melody. Then the heavens opened and that was it.”
That transcendent experience robbed the world of a future chartered accountant. For which we’re forever grateful.
Stephen Humphries June 2008
Over the years, the TBL/Web Tour Watch page has grown into an invaluable database chronicling the live performances of the Zeppelin family. If you are lucky enough to see the lads in action, please send in a review to firstname.lastname@example.org – as many others have done in the sections listed above.