The rock performance that made Robert Plant cry

News The rock performance that made Robert Plant cry

No one would fault Robert Plant for wanting to listen to the same artists for the rest of his life. Since he was responsible for birthing a billion copycats off the back of his signature vocal timbre in Led Zeppelin, there’s a good chance that Plant normally needs to reach further back in his record collection to find something original. Even though Plant was happy to leave Zeppelin in the past, he remembered his old bandmate Jimmy Page bringing him to tears when watching his new outfit, The Firm.

If fate were on their side, though, there was a good chance that Zeppelin would have carried on for a few more decades. While albums like In Through the Out Door may not have had the same kind of appeal as projects like Houses of the Holy, their willingness to take chances with synthesised instruments was sure to have led to interesting ventures in the age of MTV.

Before the band could even tour behind it, they hit a brick wall when John Bonham was found dead in 1980. Having been partying at Page’s house all night, ‘Bonzo’ ultimately passed away from acute alcohol poisoning, going to bed in the wee hours of the morning and never waking up.

Even though replacing drummers tends to be a necessary evil in rock and roll history, this was more than a percussive journeyman. For Zeppelin, this was a death in the family, and it was never going to be the same once their trademark muscle was suddenly silenced. After contemplating what they should do, the band decided to ultimately call it quits, knowing that no one could replace Bonham’s seat on the throne

While Plant recovered nicely by reforming the Band of Joy and progressing to a smooth solo career, Page started to spiral. Struggling with losing a dear friend, Page eventually was brought back from the brink through Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers, who suggested they put an act together after the original lineup of Bad Company split up.

Working as The Firm, the group had a decent run of tracks throughout the 1980s like ‘Radioactive’, with Page pulling out some of his old tricks like raking his bow across the strings of the guitar. When Plant first got the chance to see his old mate back onstage, some of his friends remembered him getting emotional seeing Page in action.

After all their time together, Plant said he had seen things that night Page had never done before, saying, “I was sitting way back, in the cheap seats, and I must tell you that I was weeping because I saw Jimmy stretching himself as a guitarist, playing all these strange scales and phrases, but in the context of a conventional rock group.”

Although The Firm only lasted for two albums before disbanding, Page would continue to stretch himself however he could, including a handful of solo albums and collaborating with artists like Diddy on the song ‘Come With Me’. Zeppelin was always Page’s baby, and he did get the chance to reminisce on the good times when working with Plant and John Paul Jones again for a handful of gigs in 2007.

Ever since those shows, Plant has felt no need to revisit his past glory, looking to move forward with his new sound rather than becoming a glorified nostalgia act. As far as ‘The Golden God’ sees it, though, Page was still capable of great things even without his Zeppelin bandmates behind him.

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