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Now and Zen

Now And Zen
[Click above for album images]


Kronomyth 4.0: ZEN I BEEN LOVING YOU. And there I sat, transfixed with horror, as the great ghost of Zeppelin was shuffled across the stage, the punchline to Robert Plant's latest rap record. That was my initial reaction to Tall Cool One, although like so many other things I've softened on it some over the years. In fact, I would tell you that Now And Zen is one of Plant's best. New band, new blood, and a batch of new songs written by Plant and Phil Johnstone that stand out over a career, including Heaven Knows, Ship of Fools and Dance On My Own. Even TCO is a lot of fun to hear nowadays, since it turned out to be a dalliance (like The Honeydrippers); Plant wasn't about to divorce himself from his rock icon status for the role of an aging rap star. Over the years, the former Zep frontman has released a handful of very good albums, usually separated by merely average albums. For example: Pictures at Eleven (pretty good), The Principle of Moments (very good), The Hondeydrippers (Plant takes a mulligan), Shaken 'N' Stirred (pretty bad), Now And Zen (very good), Manic Nirvana (not so good), Fate of Nations (very good), etc. Commercially, Now And Zen is Plant's most popular work and his only multi-platinum record. It featured then state-of-the-art production (as had Shaken 'N' Stirred before it), which initially turned me off but apparently endeared it to a lot of other listeners. In fact, I remember at the time thinking that Robert Plant had sold out. (Sold out to whom I'm not sure, since it's not like he labored in obscurity with Led Zeppelin.) Today, of course, Plant is on less shaky ground, his iconic status assured, and I hear Now And Zen as an effective contemporary album from a peerless artist. The brief reunion with Jimmy Page, the seeming sacrilege of Tall Cool One, both are overshadowed by Now And Zen's achievement as a new album of modern, relevant music for the masses once more. Of minor interest, consumers who bought the original CD received a “bonus” track: Walking Towards Paradise, which had earlier appeared as the B side to the Heaven Knows single. The Rhino 2007 reissue includes that track plus a trio of live songs.

From: Connolly & Company

Feb. 29, 1988 (US)
Feb. 29, 1988 (UK)
Apr. 3, 2007 (Remastered)

Chart Position:
#6 (US) #10 (UK)

Gold: Apr. 19, 1988
Platinum: May 9, 1988
Platinum 3x: Sept. 7, 2001


1. Heaven Knows
2. Dance on My Own
3. Tall Cool One
4. The Way I Feel
5. Helen of Troy
6. Billy's Revenge
7. Ship of Fools
8. Why
9. White, Clean and Neat
10. Walking Towards Paradise

11. Billy's Revenge (live)
12. Ship of Fools (live)
13. Tall Cool One (live)
Quick Fact

In response to the Beastie Boys' unauthorised sampling of some Led Zeppelin songs on their 1986 album Licensed to Ill, Plant also used samples from Led Zeppelin songs Whole Lotta Love, The Ocean, Black Dog, and Custard Pie on Tall Cool One.

Candy Store Rock Gifts

Novel gifts for the consummate Led Zeppelin fan, as well as the best selection of quality gifts and accessories for musicians.

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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