Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Robert Plant: A Life by Paul Rees

This is the title of a book about Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant. Not to mention, back then he was so incredibly cute!! I guess I'm a sucker for blonde hair, blue eyes or a cute English accent. All three on a guy? What a hunk, lol!!! Even today, I still think he's handsome for his age. Yeah sure, he's a little rough on the eyes, what with wrinkles and facial hair, but he's still handsome and able to hit those high notes. AWESOME and still handsome!!!
I'm reading it so far and it's good so far. I've only been reading it since yesterday and it's awesome. Not surprisingly, like all biographies, this one talks about his upbringing, being raised by an engineer named Robert, who the subject of this book is named after, and his mother Celia. What some may not know is that Robert Plant has a younger sibling, a sister named Alison. The book talks about his father taking him to see the Wolverhampton Wanderers, the local football team

Hard to believe this kid...

...grew into this singer. Who cares if he's rough looking? Rock and roll for you!
He has been in quite a few bands prior to joining Zeppelin. Not shockingly, like most early British bands, they were blues-based or pop-based bands. The bands he was in include Black Snake Moan, New Memphis Bluesbreakers, Crawling King Snakes, Obs-Tweedle, Listen. One song he would come to sing quite frequently is Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues" or known as "The Lemon Song". With it's risqué lyrics, he seemed to make it work. Most people who worked with him early on said he had that kind of rock-star aura around him, like he was a person who could definitely make it in the music business because he had that type of confidence. The book describes him with his good looks as being the oh so typical good looking rock god. The book talks about him doing all this music stuff when he was still in primary school at King Edward VI Primary School. Unlike a lot of the students, who had short hair, he was trying to grow his blonde mane in to an Elvis-type haircut, which all but annoyed the headmaster and professors there. Also, he seemed to be friends with a lot of people, including Terence "Geezer" Butler, now of Black Sabbath fame. Considering that all the members of Black Sabbath came from Aston, in Birmingham, and Robert Plant and John Bonham came from another part of Birmingham, they almost always ran into each other.

If I were at a Led Zep concert back then, I'd probably be staring at him. He's handsome!!!

Jeez, you think those jeans could be any tighter?!?!?

His first wife was a woman named Maureen Wilson. She was born in West Bromwich, or "West Brom" as I'm sure it's referred to by locals. Her family had emigrated to England from Goa, India. She had a younger sister named Shirley, who was dating a friend of Rob's. Not shockingly, Rob was good friends with John "Bonzo" Bonham. His wife Pat often described Rob as daft and said that she didn't want John hanging with him because it would end in financial ruin. During Zeppelin's first inaugural tour of the US, he met up with the Plaster Casters, a group of girls dedicated to making plaster molds of rock stars who were "gifted". Rob politely refused. A lot of people often described Rob as gentle, polite and a general hippie who often wooed girls with flowers and poetry. With his wife Maureen, they would have two kids, a daughter named Carmen and a son named Karac Pendragon Plant. Apparently, his middle named meant "head dragon" in Welsh. When he found out his son died at age seven from an infection, he had a complete mental breakdown. In fact, the song "All My Love" is a soulful tribute to his lost son. As the 1970s rolled into the 1980s, Plant started to think about things outside Zeppelin.

L-R: Jesse, Carmen, his grandson and granddaughter (Carmen's children on either side of Robert), son Logan Plant and his wife

As years went on, "Stairway to Heaven", a song that Zeppelin is extremely known for, Plant's feelings toward the song would take a negative turn, saying the lyrics were "hippie dippy". He would do everything in his power to distance himself from that song as much as possible. Not to mention, guitar player Jimmy Page would marry his girlfriend, a French model named Charlotte Martin and would conceive their first child, a daughter named Scarlet. As the years went on, Rob figured out how to control the audience rather than the shy awkwardness of his earlier bands, one of which was called the Band of Joy, which featured Bonham on drums.

Unlike the other members, whose vices probably included drugs, Rob's vice was being a womanizer. He loved the ladies. But when he was not on tour, he went to Jennings Farm, near his home in Birmingham. That is where he lived with his wife Maureen and their now two kids.

During a vacation on the Greek island of Rhodes, Robert, his wife Maureen, his two kids, Karac and Carmen and Jimmy Page's daughter Scarlet were in a rented Austin Mini when Maureen lost control of the car and they ended up in a wreck. Robert broke his right arm and leg and ankle, Karac broke his leg, Maureen's pelvis was shattered, and told that she would have problems giving birth later on because it would be near impossible to pull the baby's head out and friends of theirs were following in a car behind them. They told Jimmy, who was out of the country with his wife for some odd reason, that his daughter had been in a wreck. The Greek hospital wouldn't allow an English doctor on site to help, so they group had to be essentially smuggled out of the hospital under the blanket of night. Maureen also needed a blood transfusion for her injuries and being of Anglo-Indian descent, her blood type was rare. Luckily for her, her sister was with her; she was in the other car behind them. After that, Robert and one of Zeppelin's crew members flew out to LA to begin work on their next album. This crew member, Benji LaFevre had to act as nursemaid to Rob, with things like lifting him into bed, undressing and redressing him, bathing him and helping him use the bathroom. It is said that to this day, Robert is unable to fully extend his damaged right arm. Not to mention, because of his broken leg, he had to sit down, which meant he was unable to breathe properly and get the right amount of air into his lungs to hit extremely high, air raid siren-type wails and sustain those notes. He was almost a shell of his former self.

With all the negative goings on in Zeppelin, Robert started thinking about quitting the band and going solo. Then his world came crashing down when he got a call saying that his then seven year old Karac had died from an infection. One of the crew members for Zeppelin went into Rob's room to see him with his head in his hands and crying. He, John Bonham and Benji LaFevre flew home for Karac's funeral. He kept blaming himself for his son's death, with the typical idea of "If I were here, he wouldn't have died".

After that, he started thinking about a solo career. The early to mid 1980s saw Robert emerging as a solo artist, releasing albums such as Now and Zen, Pictures at Eleven, Shaken N' Stirred. Ironically enough my stepdad has all three of these albums. Now and Zen ended up faring more successful because it was more of a classic rock album rather than Pictures at Eleven and Shaken N' Stirred because those used the technology that was available at the time, suffice to say it was new-wave technology such as drum machines and keyboards, and the music was more R&B, blues-based. He played at the somewhat successful Farm Aid event, where it was said that there was somewhat of a Zeppelin reunion because he, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were there. But it was said that he was almost trying to relive the ghosts of the past because he had cut his hair short, was not wearing the usual t-shirt and tight jeans like he used to and his voice sounded strained. He also talks about his daughter Carmen dating a bass guitarist and being told by this guitarist that "Black Dog" had a mistake in it.

Not to mention, he started a romance with his ex-wife's sister, Shirley. That didn't last. It has been said that Plant is a womanizer, but he likes to enchant women with his enormous charisma, kindness and gentlemanly charms, as well as poetry and flowers. Ever the proverbial hippie. When Eddie Trunk of That Metal Show interviewed him years later, he said "At the end of the day, I'm just an old hippie." Rob married years later and had another child, Logan. Also, he's a grandfather because his daughter Carmen has a child. Once when he and his niece were getting a photo together, people actually thought they were dating because she was a beautiful blonde in a tight dress until someone explained the beautiful blonde was his niece, who he had his arm around. Not to mention, he has a son named Jesse Lee Plant, whose mother's identity is unknown.

In 2008, he received two very high honors. He was made Vice President of the Wolverhampton Wanderers, a football team he has supported for the last 55 years and was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2007, he and the rest of Led Zeppelin reunited for a series of concerts at the O2 Arena in London. This small tour of theirs was made into a concert film called Celebration Day. On drums they had none other than Jason Bonham. The band tore through Zeppelin classics such as "Communication Breakdown", "Black Dog", "Immigrant Song", "Good Times Bad Times", etc.

In more recent years, he has been doing some side work with country singer Alison Krauss. Both of them appeared on the CMT show Crossroads, which pairs rock musicians with country musicians. Not to mention, he's been working on some solo stuff. One of the people helping him with that is country musician Patty Griffin, who he has been dating for the last few years. One funny comment is that once Robert brought someone home who was younger than his daughter Carmen and she replied "Robert, the next time you bring someone home, can you make sure they are older than I am?" That's the thing; he has that roving eye, always an eye out for the ladies. In more recent times, he has a band called the Sensational Shape Shifters. Also, one time he had met Adele backstage at Live with Jools Holland because she was premiering her song "Someone Like You" while he was debuting some solo stuff he had written. He kissed her on the cheek and told her "You make me proud to be British".

In 2013, things took a turn for the straight up eerie. He had to file a restraining order against a woman named Alyson Billings, who was obsessively stalking Robert. She sent him notes saying things like he was betraying her for seeing another woman and such.
Robert Plant and Patty Griffin

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