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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


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November 21, 1968 - Robert becomes a father to a baby girl named Carmen Jane.
November 09, 1968 - Robert marries Maureen in London. Their reception is a performance at the Roundhouse in London
November xx, 1969 - Tempers flare over Atlantic in the UK wanting to release singles
November xx, 1969 - Recording for Led Zeppelin III begins at Olympic Studios in London
November xx, 1970 - Plans are in motion for a Yardbirds reunion
November 08, 1971 - Finally after much anticipation, Untitled is released
November xx, 1972 - Houses Of The Holy is mixed and completed
November 10, 1972 - Led Zeppelin sell out 120,000 tickets in one day
November xx, 1973 - Initial recordings for Physical Graffiti commences at Headley Grange
November 04, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finalize the purchase of Headley Grange to be their new corporate headquarters
November xx, 1974 - The band makes plans and rehearses for the tenth North American tour
November xx, 1975 - Led Zeppelin records Presence in a mere 18 days
November xx, 1976 - Led Zeppelin book into Ezyhire Studios to rehearse new material for an upcoming tour
November 04, 1976 - The Song Remains The Same movie premieres in Europe
November xx, 1977 - Jimmy dispells rumors of Led Zeppelin’s break up
November 06, 1978 - Led Zeppelin purchase and ship new gear to Polar Studios to begin work on a new album
November 10, 1979 - Led Zeppelin and their entire entourage attend an ABBA concert
November 07, 1980 - The band meets with Peter Grant to announce the retirement of Led Zeppelin
November 29, 1999 - The RIAA announced that Led Zeppelin were only the third act in music history to achieve four or more Diamond albums, a Diamond album being awarded for accredited sales of more than 10 million units in the US.
November 01, 2007 - An announcement was made that Jimmy Page had fractured his finger on his left hand after a fall in his garden and the reunion show would be postponed to December 10, 2007.
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