The iconic rock group Led Zeppelin had Robert Plant as their primary vocalist. His distinctive singing technique and commanding presence on stage revolutionized the rock music genre. Plant’s tremolo and high-pitched screams gave rock music a fresh perspective. His lyrics were uncommon for the period because they frequently drew inspiration from mythology, folklore, and fantasy. Led Zeppelin’s sound was also influenced by Plant’s use of blues, folk, and world music, which led to the development of a fresh sound that was widely replicated by other bands.
Plant’s tenure as the band’s lead singer has made him a musical legend of all time. Few institutions, nevertheless, can match his imposing rock and roll grandeur.
When he joined Desert Island Discs, he discussed the eight songs he would take to an inescapable desert island. That’s when he revealed one song that he will cherish more than any other and will take to his grave.
For years, the program has been intricately woven into the rich tapestry of British popular culture. It’s a well-established custom that has seen both rock stars and prime ministers enter the studio. A guest is invited by the host each week to select the eight recordings they would bring with them to the foreboding beach, according to the format that Roy Plomley invented back in 1942.
He provided insights into his life in the program. He talked openly about his mother, father, Birmingham Town Hall’s influence, and how much he still missed John Bonham, one of the most important people in his life, during the chat.
He recounted that difficult period to Lauren Laverne. He told, “I drove down with him on the day of the rehearsal, and I drove back without him. He was an incredible character and so encouraging for me, despite the fact he was always sending me up and taking the mickey out of me and all that. I loved him desperately.”
He also added, “We were really kids, and we grew up not having a clue about anything at all. Just the two of us, sort of loud, confident and mostly wrong. It was really good. We covered most of the squares on the board as time went by, so I do miss him.”
Some of the greatest acts in heavy metal have roots in the Midlands. In addition to the dynamic combo of Led Zeppelin, the region also claims Black Sabbath as another forerunner of the genre. In actuality, the region offers a multicultural experience that few people in 19th-century Britain could match. The town now felt like it had a purpose. Plant was possibly destined to achieve the heights he did consider all the performers that were coming to Birmingham Town Hall at the same time.
Plant told Laverne, “Birmingham Town Hall had several years of these remarkable visitations from musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter… Howlin’ Wolf to me, he’s… magnificent, strong, powerful, and his lyrics – I think a lot came from Willie Dixon to make his songs absolutely otherworldly.”
Plant chose the Howlin’ Wolf classic “I Ain’t Superstitious” as one of those songs on his list of great albums. Along with these selections, Plant includes notable rock songs by groups like Eddie Cochran’s Pink Peg Slacks and Ohio by Crosby Stills, Nash, and Young. Plant had just one option in mind, though, when he was requested to prevent only one of the eight tracks from being washed out to hear.
The only record with which Plant was actually involved was Mario Lanza’s “Serenade,” which was adapted from the 1956 movie of the same name. He said, “When I was invited to do this programme, I started looking at something would say wouldn’t be ‘Nelly The Elephant’, it wouldn’t be ‘Runaway Train’, it would be something that made stop and feel goosebumps, and this was the first song that did that to me.”
He also revealed the reason why he chose that track over others. He noted, “It’s so evocative and it carries so much presence and beauty, and it just lifts at the crescendos that are… I mean, imagine singing along with that until you got it right?”