Picking your favourite song from a back catalogue as vast and impressive as Led Zeppelin’s is never light work so sometimes just picking the one song can be impossible. It’s a question all of the members of Led Zeppelin have faced in their time as part of the biggest band in rock.
Robert Plant has also been asked over the years and has instead spoken about the 9 songs that the group made that have the most significance to him. We’ve pulled together all of those answers for one perfect playlist
Over the course of eight studio albums, Led Zeppelin created an abundance of tracks which could all be possible contenders to be Plant’s favourite and if you ask any Led Zep fan which track means the most to them you are bound to get a different answer from one day to the next.
Bonafide classics such as ‘Kashmir’ and ‘All My Love’ do make their way onto the list but perhaps what is most revealing is that track’s you’d assume would be on the lips of Plant such as ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘Stairway To Heaven’ are both omitted, which says more about the strength of the band’s back catalogue of world class material than anything else.
The Immigrant Song (1970)
Speaking to radio station Q107in 2010, Plant shared the reason why this song meant so much to him. Revealing: “I think ‘Immigrant Song’ was great. Having been to Iceland, where we wrote it, I could understand exactly how it caught me musically and the agitation of the music too. It was smooth, cool.”
As he told Chris Welch in his 1994 book Led Zeppelin, reflecting on the now iconic trip to Iceland, “We weren’t being pompous … We did come from the land of the ice and snow. We were guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be cancelled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal.”
“The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. ‘Immigrant Song’ was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different
Kashmir is the track that Plant has mentioned on the most occasions as being his favourite Led Zep track, with him telling Rolling Stone: “‘Kashmir’ in particular. It was so positive, lyrically. It’s the quest, the travels and explorations that Page and I went on to far climes well off the beaten track… That, really to me is the Zeppelin feel.”
He also told Q107 about his adoration for the song in 2010: “I wish we were remembered for ‘Kashmir’ more than ‘Stairway To Heaven. It’s so right; there’s nothing overblown, no vocal hysterics. Perfect Zeppelin.”
In My Time Of Dying (1975)
In an interview with Tony Bacon in 1980, ‘In My Time Of Dying’ became the topic of conversation and Plant had nothing but superlatives to say about the track. Plant believed that ‘In My Time of Dying’ was a shining example of Jimmy Page at his absolute best, saying: “It goes on and on. But it’s great ramshackle blues slide. Straight off the top.”
Though there have been many massive moment for Page within Led Zeppelin, Plant’s choice reveals how he sees Page in many ways, still that same bluesy guitarist he always was at heart.
‘The Ocean’ (1973)
In the same interview, Robert Plant discusses how he believes ‘The Ocean’ captures his vocals at their absolute peak, saying: “The more you listen to rock ‘n’ roll and early rockabilly [you realize] there’s some incredible echo effects. They were promising you something that actually wasn’t for real, you know?”
“The very idea of putting an effect on the voice, in this dream wonderland, this promise of safe love and no tears, whatever it is [laughs]. That’s what it all started from,” often cited as one of the focal points of the band, Plant’s vocal reigns supreme on this number.
‘The Crunge’ (1973)
Plant was then asked what he thought was John Bonham’s finest hour was to which he replied ‘The Crunge’, explaining: “Without even having to think it out, he used to come across such—his work was so overly adequate, so extreme, and yet so understated. There were so many different elements of what he was doing. So a fill would only be there if it was necessary, but when it came, well…”
John Bonham’s power is often lauded as some of the finest rock percussion ever seen but his precision was often overlooked. On ‘The Crunge’ he pushes both aspects to their max and delivers a stellar performance.
‘The Song Remains the Same’ (1972)
Bacon then rounded off his set of questions by unsurprisingly asking the former Led Zeppelin frontman what he thought was John Paul Jones‘ magnum opus where he unequivocally stated ‘The Song Remains The Same’, adding: “I think John excelled himself. He was a great technician from a school of studied bass.”
Jones had spent his early years in the swinging set of London musical elite and had brokered an influential friendship with David Bowie. The opening track from House of the Holy still ranks as one of Jones’ finest works and he remembered Plant’s appreciation of the track after it had originally begun life as an instrumental number. “But I guess Robert had different ideas. You know, ‘This is pretty good, Better get some lyrics – quick!'”
‘In The Light’ (1975)
In the interview with Rolling Stone where Plant discussed his love of ‘Kashmir’ in great detail he also mentioned how fond he was on ‘In The Light’ and how this is one of his proudest moments, saying: “Kashmir, ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Light’ and two or three others really were the finest moments.”
The largely John Paul Jones constructed track is a remarkable moment on Physical Graffiti with the unique intro, featuring Jimmy Page’s violin bow on an acoustic guitar, it stands out as one of the band’s best.
‘All My Love’ (1979)
‘All My Love’ is the one that means the most to Plant on a personal level due to the tragic event which the track spurned from. It was written after the loss of his five-year-old son Karac in 1977 following a stomach virus. He revealed in 2018: “It was just paying tribute to the joy that [Karac] gave us as a family and, in a crazy way, still does occasionally.”
A touching moment forever remembered in song, Plant’s vocals are tender and caring, it’s a mark of the band’s delicacy that is often overlooked.
‘The Battle of Evermore’ (1971)
Plant spoke about his love of this track during his 2019 appearance on the podcast Digging Deep, where he professed: “There was a lot of amazing variety of stylistic influence in everybody’s playing. ‘Battle of Evermore’, just as an instrumental piece, was beautiful… The way it sounded it had some essence of heralding, of drawing people together, of summing a mindset if you like.”
Featuring on Led Zeppelin IV the song saw a departure from their monumental rock sound and saw the implementation of acoustic guitar and a mandolin.