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(Credit: Dina Regine)

Music

A playlist of Robert Plant’s favourite songs of all time

Robert Plant, an aspiring rock singer from the West Midlands, began his career with The Band of Joy. In 1968, aged just 19, Plant was fronting a new group called Hobbstweedle and was invited to perform at a teacher training college in Birmingham, where he would get to meet Jimmy Page, who was recruiting a new singer for the Yardbirds. He sang an energetic rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’, and just like that, Page’s search was over. 

“I was appearing at this college when [manager Peter Grant] and Jimmy turned up and asked me if I’d like to join the Yardbirds,” Plant recalled of the pivotal moment. “I knew the Yardbirds had done a lot of work in America – which to me meant audiences who would want to know what I might have to offer – so naturally, I was very interested.”

Page reflected: “When I auditioned him and heard him sing, I immediately thought there must be something wrong with him personality-wise or that he had to be impossible to work with, because I just could not understand why, after he told me he’d been singing for a few years already, he hadn’t become a big name yet. So I had him down to my place for a little while, just to sort of check him out, and we got along great. No problems.”

The Yardbirds ran on for a few more months under the revered handle, but after honouring a run of outstanding tour obligations in Europe, original Yardbirds member Chris Dreja decided to leave and pursue his photography aspirations. By Dreja’s request, the group were forced to change their name; the reign of Led Zeppelin had begun. 

With the addition of Robert Plant, the band trailblazed a unique style of blues-based rock that was notably heavier than most other pop-rock groups of the time. Plant’s vocals were characterised by a powerful yelling that somehow retained a perfect pitch and vibrancy that would make Pavarotti blush. 

As a group of trailblazing rockers, it’s intriguing to see what constituted their vast pool of influence. Fortunately, Plant appeared on BBC’s Radio 6 earlier this year and listed some of his favourite songs of all time. We have listed the tracks below in a perfect playlist.

Robert Plant’s favourite songs of all time: 

  • Jeff Beck – ‘I Ain’t Superstitious (feat. Rod Stewart)’
  • Peter Green – ‘A Fool No More’
  • The Animals – ‘I’m Crying’
  • John Lee Hooker – ‘Crawlin’ King Snake’
  • The Spencer Davis Group – ‘Stevie’s Blues’
  • John Prine – ‘Caravan of Fools’
  • Shane Fenton & The Fentones – ‘I’m A Moody Guy’
  • Jimmy Powell and the 5 Dimensions – ‘Sugar Baby’
  • The Poets – ‘Now We’re Thru”
  • Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers – ‘I Can’t Stand It’
  • Phosphorescent – ‘Ride On / Right On’
  • Moby Grape – ‘Horse Out In The Rain’
  • Scott Matthews – ’12 Harps’ (feat. Robert Plant)
  • Lucinda Williams – ‘Fruits Of My Labor’
  • Pisces – ‘Sam’
  • The Barr Brothers – ‘Never Been A Captain’
  • Justin Townes Earle – ‘Champagne Corolla’
  • The Velvets – ‘Spring Fever’
  • Richie Barrett – ‘Some Other Guy’
  • Don Covay – ‘Can’t Fight It Baby’
  • Dick & Dee Dee – ‘The Mountain’s High’
  • The Contours – ‘It Must Be Love’
  • Betty Harris – ‘Ride Your Pony’
  • Big Joe Williams – ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’
  • Jerry McCain and His Upstarts – ‘My Next Door Neighbor’
  • The Marauders – ‘That’s What I Want’
  • The Blue Rondos – ‘Little Baby’
  • The Soul Sisters – ‘I Can’t Stand It’
  • Amen Corner – ‘Gin House Blues’
  • The Lone Bellow – ‘Green Eyes and A Heart Of Gold’
  • The Decemberists – ‘Down By The Water’