Listen To This Eddie is a weekly column that examines the important people and events in the classic rock canon and how they continue to impact the world of popular music.
Robert Plant has a complicated relationship with his onetime band Led Zeppelin. On the one hand, he certainly has an immense amount of pride for the songs that he created with John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page, and there’s definitely a warm place in his heart for some of the good times they shared on and off the road during their ascent in the late 1960s and into the mid-1970s.
On the other hand, however, the group has proven to be an albatross weighted around his neck as he’s pushed deeper and deeper into an increasingly rewarding solo career. It’s something that guaranteed to get brought up in nearly every media interview and every fan interaction. With each fresh project that Plant rolls out into the world, it’s always consumed, talked about, and critiqued underneath a looming, balloon-shaped shadow. It’d be enough to drive anyone mad.
As a recording artist, Plant has done just about all he can to distance himself from his past as the frontman of that band. Whether that means digging deep into American roots music with collaborators like Alison Krauss for the Grammy Award-winning record Raising Sand (snagged the elusive Album Of The Year honor), or pursuing different British, Celtic and Arabic flavors on the last two records with his group the Sensational Space Shifters, Lullaby… And The Ceaseless Roar, and last year’s phenomenal Carry Fire. The only place it seems that Plant is really comfortable embracing his role as the self-proclaimed “Golden God” his Zeppelin acolytes continue to pin on him is during his live shows.