Robert Plant at 64: A Sensational Shape Shifter
The former lead singer for Led Zeppelin turns 64 today, born August 20, 1948 in West Midlands, England.
And he would probably hate it that I referred right away to his Zeppelin days.
But as much as he may try to continually distance himself from those glory days, and no matter how successful he’s been in his solo meanderings, there’s no denying, of course, that he’ll always be most remembered for his role as Zeppelin’s frontman.
Plant has been given so many accolades it would be hard to list them all here, but he’s clearly one of the most influential and important singers in all the rock music world.
I loved growing up with his work as not only a captivating vocalist but as an intriguing lyricist, because of course he’s well-known for his mystical-fantastical-mythological leanings, with frequent references to J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy as well as Norse mythology.
And we all know he could get down and dirty with the blues, as well, with distinctly earthy/sexual lyrics, paying homage to his blues heroes who were not shy about expressing their passions.
Back in May, Plant’s latest musical project, “The Sensational Space Shifters”, made it’s public debut.
According to an online review of the band’s show on August 12 in Birmingham, it went very well:
“When you’re the 63-year-old lead singer of one of the most legendary bands on the planet, you can pretty much do whatever you want to.
That’s why, while his homeland of England was showcasing U.K. rock ‘n roll groups during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, Robert Plant rode through Alabama in the midst of a brief U.S. tour with his newest group, Sensational Space Shifters.
Robert Plant may not be as young as he once was. He may not be able to hit the highest levels or hold out the longest notes. And he probably didn’t trash whatever hotel room he stayed in.
But the fact that the singer can continue to conjure (up) new projects and mesh well with just about any musician is proof: he’s still got it.”
And he is still giving the nod to the old days, because the Sensational Shape Shifters performed “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”, “Whole Lotta Love” and “Gallows Pole”, among other Zep tunes, reworked as they might have been.
But you can’t really blame Plant for at least trying to be detached from the Led Zeppelin era. As he said back in 2011:
“I’ve gone so far somewhere else that I almost can’t relate to it…It’s a bit of a pain in the pisser to be honest. Who cares? I know people care, but think about it from my angle – soon, I’m going to need help crossing the street.”
Just not quite yet, thank God.
Here’s a taste of his work with The Sensational Shape Shifters: