Friday, April 15, 2011

Old Stuff Friday: Robert Plant in the 80's

Sometimes you'll see this guy around Nashville. And even with all the very, very famous and talented people who live and work in this town, he draws stares. Yes, I know he's hit it big with the alt/country crowd by teaming up with Allison Kraus, but I still remember when he started out on his own... it was a bit of a shock, the synthesizers, the drum machines, even the phrasing, it was all very different from the raw sounds of Led Zeppelin.

My favorite song from this period, by far, is "Ship of Fools" from 1988's Now and Zen... I'm a sucker for the phrasing in the little "I know why" phrase he repeats between verses. The guitar's okay, of course his singing is very good, but that little break makes the whole song for me.

If you listen to a good bit of this stuff, you can't help but picture the 80's - Arnold Schwarzenegger's shades, Miami Vice linen leisure suits, an oiled-up Sly Stallone... Plant himself observed as follows in an interview he gave to Uncut magazine in 2005: "by the time Now and Zen came out in '89, it looked like I was big again. It was a Top 10 album on both sides of the Atlantic. But if I listen to it now, I can hear that a lot of the songs got lost in the technology of the time."

Yeah, but the guy sure can sing.

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