Who influenced Led Zeppelin?

With "Stairway to Heaven" in the rock Olympus

Robert Plant, singer and iconic frontman of the rock band Led Zeppelin, is celebrating his 70th birthday this Monday - and doesn't seem a bit tired.

Stuttgart - If rock music had gods, Robert Plant was one of them. At the end of the 60s, he ideally embodied the wild dream of freedom, rock'n'roll and a full life. Blessed with a fiery voice up to the highest registers, he drew the attention of the English band Led Zeppelin as a hippie with knight stature, openly exhibited man's chest and curly blond mane, which he liked to rock like his slender hips. Like Mick Jagger, Plant drew deeply from the African American repertoire, but there was more elemental force in it when he roared “Baby, Baby, Baby” or “Oooh, Yeah!” - only to raise the microphone towards the sky.

Guitarist Jimmy Page brought the 20-year-old into one of the greatest rock bands of all time in 1968. Along with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, Page was already considered a guitar god, drummer John Bonham staged unheard-of thunder, bassist John Paul Jones was a brilliant arranger. Plant quickly came on an equal footing. Soon he wrote texts himself, often about love, blatantly physical as in “Whole lotta Love” (1969), the hit with the distinctive guitar riff, but also emotionally: In “What is and should never be” (1969) he dealt with an affair with his wife's sister. For the sunny fingerpicking in “Going to California” (1971) he paid homage to the Canadian singer Joni Mitchell, who had done it to him. Plant's lyrics were not always easy to decipher - to this day, the spiritually charged hit “Stairway to Heaven” (1971) offers room for interpretation.

Plant has influenced many rock singers

Led Zeppelin played wilder rock'n'roll in songs like "Heartbreaker" (1969) or "Black Dog" (1971), they showed in the psychdelic ghost train ride "Dazed and confused" (1969) that white boys also have the blues, or in “Since I've been loving you” (1970), the testimony of someone romantically disturbed. The band infused folk with new vitality in titles like “That's the Way” (1970) and “Hey hey what can I do” (1970), they anticipated metal in “Immigrant Song” (1970) and created the bombastic one "Kashmir", in which three-quarters and four-four time superimposed, a masterpiece of progressive rock.

In addition to Page's guitar playing, the focus was always on the singer's piercing voice, which could break out into dizzying heights at any time. Plant's vocal style and stage presence influenced singers like Freddie Mercury (Queen), Bon Scott (AC / DC), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) and Geddy Lee (Rush). David Coverdale, who joined Deep Purple in 1973, has always denied it - even when in 1987 he performed the clearly zeppelin-like song "Still of the Night" with Whitesnake. When Coverdale made an album with Jimmy Page in 1993, Plant nicknamed him: "David Coverversion".

In the 90s he played again with Jimmy Page

In any case, it worked for Page, in 1994 Plant made common cause with him again - for the first time since Bonham's death and the breakup of Led Zeppelin in 1980. While Page never left his band, Plant managed a solo career with albums like "The Principle of Moments" (1983). In 1994 the duo released the live album "No Quarter - Unledded", on which Moroccan and Egyptian musicians breathed freshness into old Zeppelin songs and new pieces and Plant presented a well-matured male voice. In 1998 the singer went his own way with various bands and recorded the celebrated album "Raising Sand" (2007) with the US country singer Alison Krauss.

Robert Plant will be 70 this Monday, and his greatest gift is probably his ongoing creativity: In current live videos that are circulating on the internet, he looks as curious as ever and not a bit tired.

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