The Reason Robert Plant Will Never Play Led Zeppelin Songs Again
via Robert Plant/YouTube
In 1980, when John Bonham passed away, Robert Plant knew that it marked the end of Led Zeppelin.
He expressed this sentiment in his first interview after the band’s breakup in September 1982, stating that there was no logical reason to continue without certain key members. According to Plant, there was no purpose in prolonging things for the sake of it; it didn’t serve anyone’s interests.
Plant’s solo career began with Pictures at Eleven in the summer of 1982, followed by The Principle of Moments in 1983, which further distanced him from Led Zeppelin’s signature heavy-blues sound. He emphasized the importance of moving forward rather than dwelling on the past. While he still had deep respect and affection for his former bandmates, Plant believed in progressing.
Speaking about his former bandmate Jimmy Page, he admitted missing him but explained that their long-standing relationship had its own unique dynamics. Despite their dissimilarities, they understood each other’s limits after being together for 14 years. Plant remained committed to his music and was enjoying his journey with his new band.
This forward-thinking approach also influenced Plant’s live performances. He began his solo career with a concert on August 26, 1983, in Illinois, where he notably refrained from playing any Led Zeppelin songs. This practice continued for five years, with only a couple of exceptions, before Plant started incorporating more Zeppelin-style elements into his music during the Now and Zen tour in 1988.
Plant, at the time, stopped apologizing to himself for his past success and financial stability, focusing instead on enjoying his music and career. This change in perspective prompted him to reintroduce Led Zeppelin songs into his performances. He found singing them to be a rejuvenating experience, and it marked a turning point in his career.
In the years that followed, Plant’s reunions with his former bandmates were better received, and he continued to reinterpret Led Zeppelin songs during his solo shows. In a surprising moment during a concert in Reykjavík, Iceland, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, the extremely demanding opening track from 1970’s Led Zeppelin III is not exactly for the faint of heart, yet Plant made the impulsive decision to start playing “Immigrant Song.”
Plant subsequently admitted to the Los Angeles Times that “They’d never done it before. We just hit it, and bang — there it was. I thought, ‘Oh, I didn’t think I could still do that.'”