Robert Plant: A Life

Paul Rees’ book about Plant is one the best rock bios I’ve read, ever. It’s smart, fast-paced yet all-encompassing. It’s apologetic when it needs to be, and shines a bright light unflinchingly.

I don’t envy Rees the task of writing this book. Plant is his own animal, of immeasurable stature and so immersed in his love of music, how does one even begin? The story of Led Zeppelin has been told so many times, it’s almost boring (though the music never is). And his career since then has been so varied and (largely) successful that it almost beggars belief. Where this book really succeeds, though, is in its mission to give a clear-eyed look at the man himself. Fascinating, restless, playful, total horndog, often difficult, more often looking forward.He seems to have lived a charmed life, but in the aftermath of Zeppelin’s demise, it was only his willigness to take chances, move on, that saved him. It gives equal time to the Good Times, Bad Times (you know he’s had his share) and the mundane too.

I really find no fault with this book. One nit-picky thing is that the dates in the last chapters seem off. It’s claimed he spent Christmas 2013 some place, meanwhile I was reading this book over the Christmas 2013 holiday… I’m sure they meant 2012. Again, a small point and does not detract at all from the story itself. And what is that story? It’s the tale we know well, brought up to date. Plant seems more humble than self-serving, the gentleman imp who has more money and fame with which to cope than any individual could hope to survive, yet he still hits up the local pub in his small town and supports his football team after 60 years.A decent bloke, and one of the biggest stars in rock and roll history. The reader is left to find their own faults with the man, his choices, his relationships. But ultimately it’s an uplifting experience, an ending carved in hope and never knowing what the future brings next.

Read. This. Book.

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Posted on January 1, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’ve still got that massive Trampled Underfoot book to wade through (and the Mick Wall one) so I’m not sure I need another Zeppelin book for a while. If I’d known the Plant one was this good is have bought it first though cause I’m more interested in his solo years than the Zep ones. The whole Zep thing had been done to death! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for cheap/library copies of this one.

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    • Yup, I got the copy I read from the library. I could sum up the solo years for you, if you like, thusly: “He got a few (relative) unknowns and made music that didn’t sound like Zeppelin, thus pissing off the label. But he wanted to not be trapped as That Zeppelin Guy, and boldly tried new things, to varying degrees of success.” Damn, that’ll save you 100 pages of the book…

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      • Ah well. That saves me reading it then! I actually prefer a lot of his solo stuff to Zep but I appreciate there probably isn’t much of a story to tell behind the scenes.

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      • Oh I wouldn’t say that, I was just generalizing. I’m sure there’s plenty of tidbits in there for the interested reader, especially interpersonal stuff in the band(s). Certainly the Zep years have been done to death, maybe it’s time for a deeper examination bio of the solo years! Whaddaya say, HMO? Up to the task?

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