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Happy Birthday Robert Plant

Born on this day 20th Aug 1948, Robert Plant, singer with Led Zeppelin who had the 1969 US No.4 single Whole Lotta Love. The bands fourth album released in 1971 featuring the rock classic Stairway To Heaven has sold over 37 million copies. Plant had the 1983 solo hit single Big Log. Also a member of The Honeydrippers, (with Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck & Nile Rodgers), who had the 1984 US No.3 single Sea Of Love. Robert also had the Grammy award winning 2007 album Raising Sand with bluegrass star Alison Krauss.

Zeppelin's 'Stairway To Heaven' is the biggest selling piece of sheet music in rock history, selling over 15,000 copies every year. The song has been broadcast on radio over three million times.

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham played together for the first time in 1968, when they rehearsed at a studio in Lisle Street in London's West End. The first song they played was "Train Kept A-Rollin." Released in 1951, written by Tiny Bradshaw and co-produced by Ahmet Ertegun - the man who would sign Zeppelin to his Atlantic label and who eventfully would be the reason that the greatest rock band ever would reform over 40 years later for a tribute to the great man.

Funny how things work out.

According to John Paul Jones, the room "exploded" on that day in 1968 as they kicked into the song - they knew they had something. They subsequently played the song as their show opener on tours during 1968 and 1969.

It's hard, even with hindsight, to describe the impact that Zeppelin had on music. Jimmy Page had grown up in the safe haven of post-war suburban Surrey, England, the same breeding ground that had spawned two other guitar colossi, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, and his devotion to the guitar had led to him leaving school at the age of fifteen to take it up as a career.

Having become a highly-regarded session musician by 1965, he recommended his friend Jeff Beck as Eric Clapton's replacement in the groundbreaking Yardbirds, only to join the band alongside Beck in 1966.

Two tough years of gigging followed, mostly in the USA, and after Beck quit to form the first of a line of Jeff Beck Groups, Page carried on the torch. His fellow band members wanted to go in a different musical direction, but ceded Page the group name, so in the Summer of 1968 he set about creating the band to crystallise his musical vision, who initially fulfilled Yardbirds live dates as The New Yardbirds.

The story has been told many times of how the group came together: Page's first choice vocalist Terry Reid recommended the young singer Robert Plant (who had already been in three bands); Plant pushed for his friend John Bonham, who was drumming for artists of the calibre of Tim Rose and had several offers to juggle.

Fellow session player and veteran pop arranger/bassist John Paul Jones called up Jimmy Page and the lineup was set. Even so, things might not have jelled, but they did.

Bonham's solidity and Jones' fluidity, coupled with a mutual love of soul music, proved the ideal bedrock for Page's structured folk and blues influences, combined with a talent for rock song arrangement that ensured the audience's interest. On top of that came Robert Plant's unique vocal style, rooted in blues but with incredible power in the upper range, plus a range of lyrical interests that extended beyond the straight pop and blues references of the time.

If you consider that the UK Number One singles of Autumn 1968 included Mary Hopkin and Hugo Montenegro, it gives some idea of the alternative that Zeppelin offered, one that was gratefully received by the nation's concert goers. They wouldn't be hearing much of Zeppelin on UK radio, but the band were to travel the breadth of the country, offering their phenomenally powerful show to anyone prepared to put them on, conquering Britain and the US in short order with drive, excitement, and most of all, musicianship.

Led Zeppelin's debut album took only 36 hours of studio time to complete at a cost of just £1,782, with most of the tracks being recorded 'live' in the studio with very few overdubs.

The album exploded on the rock scene in January 1969 and arguably rock music has never been the same since. Zeppelin have been much maligned for their allegedly one-dimensional approach to rock music - mostly from people who've never properly listened to them. The blame for the many sub-Zeppelin imitators who have taken only the hard riffology of Page's vision and added none of the band's additional funk, soul, blues and folk influences can't be laid at Zeppelin's feet. But that is also why their music and their albums are still listened to in 2011, when that of their younger copyists has fallen by the wayside. Zeppelin's performances still remain supreme, long may the train keep a-rollin'.

Happy birthday Robert.

From: Music Room blog


Rick's Cool Collectibles

Rick's Cool Collectibles is a memorabilia mail order company serving collectors worldwide! Since 1979 the name Rick Barrett has been associated with quality collectibles including rare concert & event tickets and stubs, Led Zeppelin memorabilia, select music & sports memorabilia, stamps, coins, old postcards, and more!

This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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