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ROBERT PLANT

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Robert Plant biography
Led Zeppelin hated having their music labelled, saying it would be restrictive, their output covered many genres, Heavy Rock, Blues, Prog epics, Folk, Reggae, Funk, Country Rock and Doo-Wop have all appeared in their work so no-one could really pin them down.

Since the tragic events of 1980 Robert Plant has remained the most consistently prolific member of the band and has carried on the no-label tradition, continuing to explore many of the above genres further including Rock n Roll and North African music with Jimmy Page, though lately Country Rock / early Pop and generally rediscovering his early roots seems to be the path he has committed to today, even to the point of passing up the opportunity to join the reformed Led Zeppelin, who knows where Robert's future interests will lie, still refusing to be pinned down or be typecast as "that guy who used to sing with Led Zeppelin..".

Robert Anthony Plant was born in 1948 in Halesowen, then Worcestershire, England, developing a strong passion for the Blues in his early teens, while at College moving between different bands adding his own interpretation to classic songs and building a reputation as a powerful singer, sustaining himself by working in a road laying gang and a spell at a Woolworths store. He cut three singles for CBS while in various bands including The Crawling King Snakes where he met John Bonham, later together they joined The Band of Joy. Events "Led" to Zeppelin, a band which is well documented on this site, so on to Plant's solo career where many musical influences and friends gathered over the years each come into significance.

In 1982 Plant started his solo career with his first album Pictures at Eleven, suitably aided by drummers Phil Collins, Cozy Powell and old friends guitarists Robbie Blunt and keyboards Jezz Woodroffe the album received good reviews at the time, those expecting Led Zep part two were satisfied with the Zeppelinesque track Slow Dancer.

A year later the album The Principle of Moments contained the surprising Top of the Pops appearance of Robert playing the smooth crooner on the massive hit Big Log, and the album was hugely popular, Plant had become mainstream, though the album contained a mixture of styles and some very experimental songs including the quirky Messing with the Mekon, though the following album of 1985 Shaken 'n' Sti...
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Carry FireCarry Fire
Nonesuch 2017
$6.27
$4.83 (used)
Principle of MomentsPrinciple of Moments
Rhino 2007
$4.81
$3.48 (used)
Pictures At ElevenPictures At Eleven
Atlantic Catalog Group 2007
$4.82
$9.77 (used)
lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roarlullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar
Nonesuch 2014
$8.86
$4.74 (used)
Manic NirvanaManic Nirvana
Rhino 2007
$5.09
$3.77 (used)
Now & ZenNow & Zen
Rhino 2007
$4.82
$7.98 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Robert Plant- Heaven Knows 12" Boxset. Unopened USD $5.12 [1 bids]
1h 29m
ROBERT PLANT LITTLE BY LITTLE LP ATLANTIC 90485 USD $13.99 Buy It Now 1h 32m
Robert Plant Little By Little Es Paranza 90485 USD $8.00 Buy It Now 1h 45m
The Honeydrippers Vol. 1 (Robert Plant) - audio cassette tape USD $10.00 Buy It Now 1h 57m
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TM Century 752N Radio Promo GoldDisc CD Compilation | Rush | Robert Plant | Luce USD $9.95 [1 bids]
2h 28m
ROBERT PLANT BIG LOG ESPARANZA RECORDS UK 7" VINYL SINGLE in PICTURE SLEEVE USD $1.91 [0 bids]
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8h 20m
ROBERT PLANT 45 Heaven Knows Pic/Sl., + Bonus 45, Ship of Fools, by Plant ex Led USD $2.87 [0 bids]
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8h 48m
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JIMMY PAGE / ROBERT PLANT (LED ZEPPELIN) No Quarter CD USD $4.35 Buy It Now 14h 28m
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ROBERT PLANT discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ROBERT PLANT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.49 | 92 ratings
Pictures at Eleven
1982
3.57 | 81 ratings
The Principle of Moments
1983
3.41 | 58 ratings
Shaken 'N Stirred
1985
3.06 | 64 ratings
Now And Zen
1988
3.46 | 61 ratings
Manic Nirvana
1990
3.41 | 79 ratings
Fate Of Nations
1993
4.01 | 82 ratings
Dreamland
2002
3.64 | 67 ratings
Mighty Rearranger
2005
3.24 | 52 ratings
Raising Sand (with Alison Krauss)
2007
3.29 | 54 ratings
Band of Joy
2010
3.75 | 56 ratings
Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar
2014
3.59 | 22 ratings
Carry Fire
2017

ROBERT PLANT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ROBERT PLANT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.56 | 17 ratings
Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation
2006
4.33 | 3 ratings
Robert Plant & the Band of Joy: Live From the Artists Den
2012

ROBERT PLANT Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.22 | 18 ratings
Sixty Six To Timbuktu
2003
4.56 | 9 ratings
Nine Lives
2006

ROBERT PLANT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Burning Down One Side
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
Pledge Pin
1982
5.00 | 1 ratings
In The Mood
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Big Log
1983
2.28 | 15 ratings
The Honeydrippers, Volume I
1984
2.00 | 1 ratings
Little By Little
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Too Loud
1985
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pink And Black
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ship Of Fools
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heaven Knows
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tall Cool One
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes On You)
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
29 Palms
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
If I Were a Carpenter
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Calling To You
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Believe
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
Song to the Siren
2002

ROBERT PLANT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ship Of Fools by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Ship Of Fools
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by thwok

— First review of this album —
4 stars I originally considered reviewing the "Tall Cool One" single from Now and Zen. I realized that picking the one song from the album you really don't like, just so you can rant about it in a review, is a pretty poor guideline for choosing! Maybe I'm just too humor-deficient to appreciate "Tall Cool One" as much other reviewers. Instead I picked one of the best tracks. Based on quotes elsewhere on Prog Archives, Robert seems to feel that Now and Zen was too overproduced and too dependent on the latest recording technology of the time. I don't feel that's true, especially when it comes to "Ship Of Fools".

One of the highlights of the song is Doug Boyle's beautiful guitar playing. The other is Robert's subtle, emotive singing, a phrase not often used when it comes to Plant. The lyrics are thoughtful and open to a variety of interesting interpretations. With a sound reminiscent of "The Rain Song" from Houses of the Holy, the more musically conservative listeners ought to thoroughly enjoy "Ship of Fools". It's followed by two value-added live tracks. "Helen of Troy" combines the mythological title character with Robert's typically clever sexual innuendos. Lastly, Plant pays homage to one of Led Zeppelin's original inspirations by covering the blues classic "Dimples" by John Lee Hooker. This is a very enjoyable EP. You could even, God help us, justifiably call it Zeppelin-ish!

 Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.75 | 56 ratings

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Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by GKR

4 stars You know what? This is good. Very good indeed.

For some time I was a fan of the three first albums of Robert Plant... well, that did not last long and now I like only one or two songs. When this album came I enthusuastically listen to it and found another side of Robert Plant. A side that the live shows already were offering (and actually, a good part of his solo career always shows). I had friends very dissapointed with the different instruments and asians and african sounds together with the Led Zeppelin songs... but you know what? Thats how artists reinvent themselves.

As this could be a horrible album, the result is way better than one can expect it. If the "Band of Joy" was Robert Plant returning to a more "classic" sound (blues, roots, etc), "Lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar" is the world music of Robert Plant (that we already saw in other times) together with a more intimist and folk background. And this way make Robert Plant's voice shine, since he doesnt have to make such high notes and his whisperings, crooking and all the rest marries so great the music.

As I said, this could be a very very very dissapointing album. But its not, its a great one.

And perhaps my favorite Robert Plant album so far...

 Now And Zen by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.06 | 64 ratings

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Now And Zen
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The 80s and its constant corrupting companion, the MTV virus, was a difficult decade to navigate for all proggers no matter what one's particular category of choice is within the genre. The invigorating 'anything goes' spirit that fed and nurtured progressive rock throughout the 70s had been suppressed and subjugated by the onslaught of the sight over sound movement to the point where if a band or artist couldn't come up with a clever or sexy three-minute video to promote their music they were cast aside like yesterday's newspaper. While there were exceptions to the new and restrictive rule they were few and far between. For the most part the revered icons of prog were compelled to compromise or become totally irrelevant (not to mention insolvent). Robert Plant was but one of the industry giants that had to grapple with that dilemma. Somehow he had to attempt to retain his integrity and let his artistry continue to evolve freely while appeasing the younger generation who didn't give a crap that he and his bandmates in Led Zeppelin had set the planet on fire with their adventurous melding of blues, rock and exotic world beat sensibilities. To them he was just another grizzled, long-haired dude that their parents dug and their general attitude towards Robert (and every veteran in the biz) was one of 'Are you going to have some half naked chicks running around licking lollipops in your video or not? Otherwise, what's the point?' While some of you may think that's a gross over-exaggeration the proggers who lived and struggled through those dark times will back me up. It was a depressingly ugly scene to witness.

However, Mr. Plant was one of the more successful of the sixties/seventies survivors who was able to continue to pursue a career without completely capitulating to the new way of doing things, thereby shafting their loyal fans who'd made them stars. He did so by maintaining a lofty standard and being as true to himself as he could notwithstanding the circumstances he found himself in. After John Bonham's untimely death in 1980 Led Zeppelin had lost its locomotive and there was no replacing it, forcing the remaining three to find their own way going forward. Robert's solo efforts, while nowhere near as earth-shaking as what his former group had produced with regularity, were well-received so he was able to keep himself afloat while so many of his peers disappeared beneath the New Waves that saturated the industry. By the time he released 'Now and Zen,' his fourth CD, he'd established himself as a worthy banner-bearer of the analog era who, along with the likes of Bowie, Genesis and Rush had managed to straddle the fence enough to remain relevant. For that alone he deserves our admiration and gratitude.

The album starts spectacularly with 'Heaven Knows,' an energetic song that sports a very strong rhythm track and production values that dutifully reflect the state-of-the-art technology that characterized and dominated that period. It's a great tune and the full chorale on the chorus is extremely dynamic. It doesn't hurt that his reliable pal Jimmy Page drops in to contribute some blistering guitar work that serves as the deal-sealer. 'Dance on my Own' follows and it projects a decent hard funk vibe but the trendy 'glittering' keyboard effects tend to date the number wretchedly, lessening its overall impact and odds for longevity. However, Doug Boyle's deft guitar playing takes it up a noteworthy notch. 'Tall Cool One' is next and it's a driving rocker augmented by Mr. Page's magic fingers and ornamented with a wild assortment of digitized samples culled from various Led Zeppelin classics. While it wasn't a Top 40 hit, it garnered a ton of FM radio exposure and that no doubt increased album sales accordingly. It definitely possesses a deceptively simple structure but the hot electricity it emits makes it quite memorable and the ending montage is an undisputed trip. Chris Blackwell's aggressive drums propel 'The Way I Feel' respectably and I detect a slight Peter Gabriel feel in its undercurrent as well as a noticeable Police presence surfacing in Boyle's guitar style that I find intriguing. 'Helen of Troy' doesn't measure up, though. It's representative of the late 80s techno-funk craze that I never could adapt to because it was so dreadfully bereft of any semblance of soul. Despite its pristine clarity it fails to dignify itself. Its only saving grace is Plant's emotional vocal performance.

'Billy's Revenge' is a treat. A curious arrangement of harmonies during the intro leads to a proggy 6/4 verse pattern that piques my interest. It's impossible to pigeonhole this cut but it does own a kind of a raucous rockabilly aura that I enjoy. 'Ship of Fools' is another highlight of the proceedings. Robert's subtle singing enhances this rock ballad superbly and the light synthesized string section score gives it a haunting, dreamlike atmosphere. 'Why' follows and the tune itself might be passable but it's hard to tell due to the tinny New Wave-ish incidentals that clutter up the scenery unnecessarily. This is an example of what I wrote about earlier. It's understandable that Plant wanted to please the kiddos with up-to-date sounds, gadgets and gimmicks but it dooms the number to being a relic that couldn't stand the test of time. He recoups, though, with 'White, Clean and Neat.' It's a combination of a wide array of elements that grant the song an inviting mien while Robert's inimitable voice distinguishes it as his own unique creation. By far it is the most exploratory and progressive cut on the record. Unfortunately, he opts to go out with a thud. While Texan songwriter Jerry Lynn Williams composed excellent material for Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan, 'Walking Towards Paradise' isn't one of his better tunes. It fails to enhance on any level. Not only that but Plant's cover suffers from the inclusion of too much of that frivolous decade's studio trickery that detracts from any potential the number might have held initially.

'Now and Zen' hit the shelves on February 29, 1988 and steadily climbed the charts to the #6 position, further confirming that Robert still wielded a certain amount of clout. In comparison to the other inane schlock that was being foisted upon the public's collective ears in that woebegone era this was an oasis of sanity. As I've indicated in many other reviews of albums that were manufactured in the 80s, anything that even hinted that it had a hue of prog inside its shiny disc was to be cherished as extraordinary because, for all practical extents and purposes, prog was as dead as Mussolini. Thanks to people like Mr. Plant, the pilot light was never extinguished. 3.5 stars.

 Mighty Rearranger by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.64 | 67 ratings

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Mighty Rearranger
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by bartosso

4 stars Plant has not yet withered!

I'll put it bluntly - I love Robert Plant. Led Zeppelin and his amazing voice have influenced my musical taste the way no other band has. What's more important though, after Led Zeppelin's break-up, Robert has shown that even without Jimmy Page as the main composer, his talent is not wasted. On the contrary - I'm pretty sure some people would consider his solo output to be more consistent and of higher quality than some of Led Zeppelin stuff, especially of the later period.

Although fantastic as usual, the highlight of Mighty Rearranger is not Robert Plant and his vocals. The strange, euphoric sensation you feel while listening to the album is provided by... The Strange Sensation, an amazing bunch of extremely versatile musicians. I don't know whose idea it was, but for combining Plant's dreamy hard rock style with modern electronica the originator deserves a round of applause. The album is full of folk atmosphere, abounds with hard rock melodies and is cleverly interspersed with trippy electronica. All those elements complement each other perfectly, there's not a single moment of inconsistency or disarray that would make this bold mixture sound overdone.

Dreamy folk infused with hard rock energy and eclectic rock creativity - that's how I'd sum up this great record. Really, it's wonderful how these musicians play with the music, the fun they have can be heard in every track in the album. If you're into anything that's even remotely related to hard rock, folk or electronic rock, check this out!

TRACKS BY RATINGS: 10/10[masterpiece!!!]: Tin Pan Valley || 9/10[fantastic!]: Another Tribe; Freedom Fries; Mighty ReArranger || 8/10[great]: Shine It All Around; All the King's Horses; The Enchanter; Takamba; Dancing in Heaven; Somebody Knocking; Let the Four Winds Blow || OVERALL = 85/100

-- Originally written for Metal Music Archives [www.metalmusicarchives.com] --

 Pictures at Eleven by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.49 | 92 ratings

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Pictures at Eleven
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After John Bonham's tragic death in 1980 that marked the end of Led Zeppelin as a creative unit, each of the surviving members went on to pursue solo careers. Lead vocalist Robert Plant was the first to release an album outside of Led Zeppelin with his 1982 debut Pictures at Eleven - an album that would go on to be a huge commercial success, and also receive largely positive critical reception. It's a solid release that sounds more Zeppelinesque than Plant's future offerings, but I don't think it was until his sophomore observation, The Principle of Moments, that he would truly hit his stride.

The style of production and use of synthesizers indicate that Pictures at Eleven was released in the eighties', but the album has a lot of stylistic similarities to Led Zeppelin's music. Tracks like "Slow Dancer" and "Worse Than Detroit" could've been straight off of Physical Graffiti, and while this certainly isn't a bad thing, the music here rarely exceeds the 'average' mark. The melodies simply aren't strong enough to make this an excellent purchase in my book; although it's competent in every regard, Pictures at Eleven is an average rock album that could probably be ignored by most readers. Apart from the excellent drumming courtesy of Phil Collins and Cozy Powell, this is a totally safe album that doesn't do much that's particularly noteworthy.

Pictures at Eleven is a well-made and professional sounding product across the board, but it just doesn't move me in the same way that Led Zeppelin's best material does. Although Robert Plant demonstrated his potential as a solo artist here, I think most of that potential is untapped. A decent record for sure that fans of Led Zeppelin will want to investigate, but nothing to write home about as far as I'm concerned.

 Pictures at Eleven by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.49 | 92 ratings

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Pictures at Eleven
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by jude111

5 stars I'm always amazed this album isn't rated higher. It's almost a lost classic waiting to be re-discovered. It's one of the best albums from 1982, it's Plant's first and best album, and sounds more like classic Zeppelin than CODA or IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR did. Most of these songs got all kinds of airplay on American radio stations at the time, and the ones that didn't are arguably the best on the album, i.e. "Slow Dancer," "Moonlight in Samosa," and "Like I've Never Been Gone."

By contrast, I always found the next Plant album (THE PRINCIPLE OF MOMENTS) to be a major disapointment, and nearly unlistenable save for two masterpieces, "Big Log" and "In the Mood." Yet so many rate it higher than PICTURES AT ELEVEN. Never got it. Still don't.

 Fate Of Nations by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.41 | 79 ratings

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Fate Of Nations
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars I was extremely disappointed with Robert Plant's 1993 album. There are perhaps three decent tracks but on the whole this is a real wash out. No prog at all so forget that, instead a sad excuse for AOR that is forgettable and not even a shadow of what Plant is capable of. Nothing comes close to Led Zeppelin, not even enough to wipe Jimmie Page's backside.

Calling To You is perhaps the best track though sounds familiar for those who remember Kashmir, particularly that Eastern mystical sound. Interestingly enough Plant references Zeppelin a few times here on the album especially on Promised Land with a riff akin to When The Levee Breaks. I liked this version of If I Were a Carpenter, that is certainly way better than the original, but the rest of this album has no substance and I am perplexed as to its high ratings.

 Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation by PLANT, ROBERT album cover DVD/Video, 2006
3.56 | 17 ratings

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Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Well if Plant had held up pretty well to the temptation of living on his Zep legacy (something we couldn't possibly say of Page), ever since accepting the Unledded- No Quarter project, he's actually let himself into it. If his first few post-Unledded studio albums resisted this (with the absolutely wonderful Dreamland, and the good Mighty Rearranger), his live shows actually started to depend of the Zep material a lot more, as shown by the present DVD. I'm not much a fan of the stage set-up and decorum, as it looks like some kind of TV-show stage, an impression which is further reinforced by the presence of numerous luscious babes on the sidelines and front row.

Outside the now-usual slightly world-ified Zep reworks, the main interest of the present disc is the excellent Enchanter track and the always-chilling rendition of Hey Joe, a correct Shine It, but little else. Even the No Quarter renditions don't serve well the legend. Plant's voice still has so good reserves, even if there is no way he could possibly match his 70's voice, nor is he trying to. I don't know if it's my copy, but I find that the bass is a bit undermixed. Sadly, because of the incessant and relentless Zep material reliance, this is not quite as interesting as the Unledded project, and at times, it might just seem like it's about some old glory that tries to linger on his fading past. Still a rather nice concert, if you're not too demanding?.

The usual bonus on such a DVD include a 95 Top Of Pop version of 29 Palms and an 83 insufferable Big Log version in the same show, where Plant goes through the motions with his hands in his pockets. Both are actually throwaways (but not completely unpleasant, as are two more videoclips are added included the excellent Morning Dew (I guess it was more than a decade since I'd given up on MTV stuff) and an acceptable 29 Palms. Nothing essential except for a few Dreamland/Rearranger tracks (and even then, if you own the albums?.), so you'll want to concentrate on other DVDs or albums

 Pictures at Eleven by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.49 | 92 ratings

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Pictures at Eleven
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the first and i'm sure the last review i'll do using a cassette as my means of listening.There are several recordings on this site that I used to own in the eighties on cassette that have disappeared over time. I'm talking about recordings that I consider 2 and 3 star affairs so there's no way i'm re-buying them just so I can review them, and it's not fair to review them by memory, especially my memory. I thought this was one of those cassettes that was long gone until I found my old cassette case I used to carry in my car buried in the garage the other day, and lo and behold there was about 15 cassettes in it including this one. I remember the disappointment I felt when i first listened to this back in the early eighties, I guess I was hoping for classic ZEPPELIN and this was far from being that. Mind you I felt the same way about "In Through The Out Door" when it was released (another long gone cassette I won't be re-buying). At least Robert enlisted a couple of great drummers in Phil Collins and Cosey Powell to help him out on this his first solo record.

"Burning Down One Side" is catchy, a real toe tapper and one I remember well. "Moonlight In Samosa" is laid back with vocals and acoustic guitar leading the way.

"Pledge Pin" is a definite highlight for me with that prominant bass and catchy sound. And the sax later on to the end sounds great. "Slow Dancer" is heavier with guitar and passionate vocals. It does settles back to a lighter sound as these contrasts continue. This sounds like a track that could have been on "In Through The Out Door".

"Worse Than Detroit" but not worse than this song. Awful. "Fat Lip" is another highlight. It's a pleasant listen that reminds me of the 80's for some reason. It makes me feel good.

"Like I've Never been Gone" has these ballad-like lyrics but the music is better than that. A guitar solo comes in late. "Mystery Title" is not very good at all.

This is actually better than I remember, and I know I did get some enjoyment out of this back in the day.

 Shaken 'N Stirred by PLANT, ROBERT album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.41 | 58 ratings

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Shaken 'N Stirred
Robert Plant Crossover Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A perfect title for this album

Without questions I'm a more open-minded and patient listener than I was in high school. Back then, as the world's biggest Zeppelin fan, I hated this album with a passion. I hated the album cover, hated the music, and hated Plant's embracing of a decade that was repulsive to me. I was a teenager in the 80s pining for the 70s, which I missed, and which everyone in the 80s was trying to forget. All I wanted was to see a Zeppelin show but I was 10 years too late. So I went to this concert when it came through town and practically cried at what I saw on stage. A bunch of "crap" being delivered by one of my heroes, the ultimate betrayal. I've seen the error of my ways and even by the late 80s had embraced many of the decade's better moments, and there were many. Looking back it is now merciful that Zeppelin stopped when they did. I think Plant knew it. Given how dreadful "In Through the Out Door" was, he made the right choice moving on.

Flash forward several decades and I've not only come to peace with Shaken, but it might be his most interesting work. This is not just a collection of weak dance tracks or a failure of an aging artist trying to throw some synth over his tracks to appear hip. These are some really catchy pop songs dressed up with elaborate vocal and instrumental arrangements. Robbie Blunt is particularly impressive with guitar work, both traditional and synth guitar, which sound inspired by Adrian Belew. He gets great volume control and textural variation, and many wild noises in a tapestry of crazy music backing Plant's "kid in the candy store" send-ups. Plant is throwing himself into this with reckless abandon, trying as many ideas as he can think of, almost purging himself as he creates a work that has to be inspired by many of the current artists around him. Everything is very loud and drowning in spirited percussion, as well as fantastic backing vocals courtesy of Toni Halliday. She is the perfect contrast to Plant's typical over-singing. In fact, that's the worst part of any Robert Plant album, when he seems trapped in his own persona to the point of parody. Not every song needs the "baby babys" and the sexual grunts and groans. Halliday provides welcome and soothing beauty to these pleasantly jarring escapades.

Every song is like a sweet confection that makes this pure pleasure to listen to, but my favorites are the slightly more introspective ones. "Little by Little" would seem to be touching on Plant's recoveries from personal tragedy and substance abuse. If I'm right (and maybe I'm not) the first verse sounds like he's talking about the grief of his son's death, while the second verse may be discussing cocaine. In both cases Plant is able to "breathe again" having arrived in a healthier place. The closer "Sixes and Sevens" is one of Plant's finest, very melancholic as he discusses making "alterations to my house of cards" to a brooding, musical sunset. The flip side is pure danceable fun like "Too Loud" where Plant is nothing but playful. There is even some character banter there in the form of a fictional record guy Plant pokes fun at.

A lot of people really bash this album as it sounds so different from his previous two smash albums. I understand the criticisms but in 2011 it is probably my favorite Plant album. If you give yourself a bit of time to get used to the brashness of the production, you may fall for this odd, eclectic bunch of songs. My favorite Plant work to date. Not typical prog-rock (and maybe not prog at all to many) but excellent music nonetheless.

Thanks to mystic fred for the artist addition.

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