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DJ Bob Harris: Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant help me through cancer battle

Harris, who presented The Old Grey Whistle Test on TV, told Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young that phone calls with the frontman made a difference.



Veteran DJ Bob Harris has told how former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant "really saw me through" after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

The broadcaster, dubbed Whispering Bob because of his softly-spoken style, said it was "devastating" when he was diagnosed with the "aggressive" illness.

Appearing on today's Desert Island Discs on Radio 4, he said: "I was fortunate, very, very fortunate to catch it in time and then it was a question of arresting the growth and then treatment."

Harris, famous for presenting The Old Grey Whistle Test on TV, told host Kirsty Young that Plant helped when he started to get ill again.

He said: "Every now and again all the readings will go shooting up and that happened to me a couple of years ago when it looked as though it really got serious again and I really needed to talk to somebody about this and I phoned Robert Plant and he offers such unbelievably good advice and he really saw me through that moment and then when we got the all clear again he said ‘fine, OK well I'm not going to be phoning you every single day now'."

Harris, who chose a book of cricket statistics and a greenhouse as his luxury item to take to the desert island, admitted it had been "so tough" to whittle down his record collection to just eight tracks.

He said leaving John Lennon's music out was "most difficult of all" but chose a track by Plant, a cover of Gone, Gone, Gone by the Everly Brothers, from his album Raising Sand with Alison Krauss.

His other tracks included the Ben E King single, Stand By Me, and Alone Again Or from Love's Forever Changes album which he was given by John Peel the first time they met.

Harris, who joined Radio 1 in 1970, described fellow DJ Jimmy Savile as "just somebody I didn't like."

Savile, who worked for the station for almost 20 years, has been unmasked as a serial sex-offender since his death in 2011.

Harris said: "You just didn't get a good atmosphere off him at all."

From: Mirror

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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

February 7, 1962 - Deborah Bonham, sister to John, was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England
February 23, 1966 - Warren Grant, son of Peter, was born.
February xx, 1969 - Led Zeppelin enters the Billboard Top 40
February 16, 1969 - Led Zeppelin wrap up their first American tour in Baltimore, MD.
February 07, 1970 - Edinburgh gig cancelled after Plant receives facial injuries in a car accident
February 28, 1970 - The band performs as "The Nobs" in Copenhagen after threat of legal action from Countess Von Zeppelin
February xx, 1971 - John Paul Jones involved in legal issues regarding a musician who shares the same name
February xx, 1971 - Overdubs for the fourth album are recorded at Island Studios
February 14, 1972 - The band is refused admission into Singapore due to their long hair
February 16, 1972 - The Australian tour begins in Perth
February 21, 1972 - Led Zeppelin: Rock and Roll b/w Four Sticks (Atlantic 45-2865) 45 single is released in the US.
February xx, 1973 - The band makes final preparations for the European tour
February 16, 1973 - The release date for Houses Of The Holy is pushed back due to some sleeve problems
February xx, 1974 - Sessions for Physical Graffiti continue
February 14, 1974 - Page, Plant and Bonham attend a Roy Harper concert
February 04, 1975 - Zeppelin perform a last minute show at Nassau Coliseum to accomodate fans after being banned in Boston
February 24, 1975 - Physical Graffiti finally issued worldwide to phenomenal sales
February xx, 1976 - Media reports that Zeppelin are due to release an album entitled Obelisk
February xx, 1977 - Robert contracts a bout of tonsillitis postponing the American tour
February xx, 1978 - Robert Plant helps produce a record for punk band Dansette Damage
February 16, 1978 - The cases against Bonham, Cole & Grant stemming from the Oakland incident are heard and all receive suspended prison sentences and fines
February xx, 1979 - Although absent from the US stage or market, Led Zeppelin rank best in many music magazine categories
February xx, 1979 - Mixing sessions for In Through The Out Door take place at Polar Studios. Rumors fly of a European tour
February 03, 1980 - Robert joins Dave Edmund’s Rockpile at the Birmingham Top Rank
February 13, 2005 - Led Zeppelin receives a Grammy for Lifetime Achievment.
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