Way way back in the very early 1980s a friend of mine played me an album from his brother’s record collection. It was loud, with roaring guitars, and drums that sounded like thunder. The singer belted out song lyrics that were littered with references to The Lord of the Rings, partying and women… Three things the teenage me was in the process of discovering. The album was Led Zeppelin IV, and it, and all the other Zeppelin albums released before and after make up a large chunk of the soundtrack to my life. Barbecues, long car journeys, and nights in drinking cold beers hardly ever occur without a dose of Led Zeppelin.
Of course, like all good things in life, Led Zeppelin are no more. They split up in 1979 after the death of John “Bonzo” Bonham the bands troubled drummer. There have been reunions, the latest in 2007, and rumours are always circulating that the band is going to reunite, but I wouldn’t hold your breath unless you can breathe through your ears. Of course that doesn’t mean that you will never hear the music of Led Zeppelin played live again, thanks to Robert Plant’s tendency to drop a Led Zep song or two into the live sets of whatever band he is working with now.
In Paul Rees‘ biography of the former Led Zeppelin singer, simply titled; Robert Plant, A Life, readers will get some insight into the other bands that Plant have worked with, but as you can imagine the majority of the book is focussed on the Zeppelin years. Therein lies the problem for me, and many others who have been fans of Robert Plant for thirty something years or more
So much has already been written about the antics of Led Zeppelin that none of this seemed new to me. At least half of the book is dedicated (and rightly so) to the years of Zeppelin’s reign as the Kings of Rock, but for me, it often felt like I was reading a book I have read before.
Of course, if you are just now discovering the beauty of Robert Plant’s music, or you want to discover how Plant’s career, which seemed like it was going the way of the Dodo in the 1990s, was resurrected, there is about a quarter of the book that will have you enthralled. Or if you have never heard ANY of Robert Plant’s music (is that even possible) then this book is for you. Well researched and expertly written, Paul Rees’ book is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in reading how one man from Wolverhampton joined forces with three guys from London and conquered the world to become one of the biggest bands in rock history.