5 Things You May Not Have Known About Robert Plant

Monday, August 20, 2018
Robert Plant

Today we celebrate the birthday of the one and only Robert Plant, and we do so in the manner in which we celebrate the birthdays of many folks on the Rhino roster: by offering up a list of five things you may not have known about him. Of course, we’ve also got a playlist, this one featuring the singles released during the first few years of Plant’s solo career. Give it a listen, give the list a read, and send good vibes in Plant’s general direction to provide him with the happiest of all possible birthdays.

1. He’s a big fan of The Damned.

Or at least he used to be, anyway. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Jimmy Page – who was an avowed fan of punk rock – recalled a night in the ‘70s when he and Plant attended a concert. “I went to hear the Damned, and Robert came along – the two of us went to see the Damned here in London,” said Page. “He’d probably run a mile from something like that now, but I’d still embrace it.” In fact, Page might well be wrong on that front: when Plant was interviewed by The Guardian in 2017, he acknowledged his love of The Damned, saying, “‘New Rose,’ ‘Neat Neat Neat’: what brilliant songs. They quite rightly kicked juggernauts like Pink Floyd into touch for a couple of years.”

2. He’s also been known to listen to Let’s Active.

Yes, we know, it sounds preposterous, but in a 1988 Rolling Stone interview, Plant was asked about various bands who might be influenced by Led Zeppelin, and after acknowledging that The Mission U.K. and the Sisters of Mercy were “getting it right,” he noted that “when I listen to Mitch Easter’s work, I hear a bit of Zeppelin. I heard a steel-guitar bit on the Let’s Active album BIG PLANS FOR EVERYBODY that sounds just like ‘In My Time of Dying.’ And I was flattered, even though I didn’t play the guitar part. That’s looking backwards. But it’s looking backwards with such gentility and taste.”

3. He and the rest of Led Zeppelin once met Elvis Presley.

When interviewed by Howard Stern last year, Plant recalled meeting the King of Rock and Roll, an encounter which came about because – according to Plant – “he knew that we were selling tickets faster than him and he wanted to know what kind of phenomenon this was.” In turn, they accepted Elvis’s invitation to meet him at his Los Angeles hotel room. “When the room was suitably full … when the room was buzzing with anticipation, the door opened and this guy just, I don’t know what the word is,” admitted Plant. “It’s not sashay, it’s not slink … he just grooved his way through the people.” After Elvis’s arrival, Plant recalled that they just stood around and talked about music for hours. Not a bad memory to have, eh?

4. He turned up in a rare acting role in the British film comedy Doreen.

Writer / director David Tristam knew someone who knew Plant and passed along a message to him, asking if he’d be willing to do the part. “No money changed hands, Robert agreed to do it for nothing, which was very good of him,” Tristam told The Birmingham Mail. The role was that of a gentleman who lays tarmac, which was perfect for Plant, who actually used to do that for a living prior to becoming a proper rock star. In the film, you can briefly see the business card belonging to Plant’s character: his company’s name is Black Dog Tarmac Ltd., and their slogan is “Your ‘Driveway to Heaven.’”

Funny stuff, that…

5. In 1974, he won Rock Scene Magazine’s Chest-O-Rama Award.

Yes, this was a real thing, one which was voted upon by the magazine’s readers through a ballot included in the December 1973 issue of Rock Scene. Oddly enough, someone recently put a copy of the Chest-O-Rama press release up for sale on eBay recently, so we were able to take a look at it and see that, on hearing the news of his victory, Plant said, “It’s rather hard to be eloquent on the subject of one’s chest, but it’s good to win a contest above the belt.”

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