Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant Reflects On Going Solo
(hennemusic) Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant recalls the launch of his solo career on the latest episode of his podcast series Digging Deep. Following the 1980 death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and the decision to formally end the band, Plant entered a Welsh recording studio in the fall of 1981 to begin work on the first recordings of his post-Zeppelin era.
Working alongside a core lineup that included guitarist Robbie Blunt, bassist Paul Martinez and keyboardist Jazz Woodroffe, Plant also brought in drummer Phil Collins for most of the project while still coming to terms with the loss of his longtime friend Bonham.
"The whole of my previous 12 years had been in the warmth and occasionally tepid and very often freezing climate of Led Zeppelin," explained Plant. 'When we all lost John there was only one thing to do, and that was to carry on, and try to carry on and distance myself, if I could, from the wondrous shadow of the past."
With something specific in mind for drums the track, "Like I've Never Been Gone", the singer had Cozy Powell step in to handle things. "Cozy we knew pretty well from those days," Plant recalls, "and Cozy was a good guy: precocious, confident and, like John, you could hear him yelling when he was playing, the sheer joy of actually pulling something off that probably shouldn't have been possible, as far as a drum fill went. So, Cozy played on this track and on a track called "Slow Dancer" and then Phil played on the rest of the album.
"Phil Collins would go on to play on the next album too. So this is great because it's a piece that is pretty dramatic, beautiful playing by everyone. In a way, to me, it felt like even though, obviously, we couldn't get John back, and it wasn't the case of replacing him or getting another Bonham. Instead, it was just basically taking the idiom into somewhere pretty powerful, beautiful with Robbie Blunt's playing and the way it cascades as a piece of music - it's just great."
Plant would go on to release his solo debut, "Pictures At Eleven", in June of 1982; the project was a No. 2 hit in his native UK and reached No. 5 on the US Billboard 200. Listen to the episode here.
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