It is a morbid side of music that not many artists confront: how their output will be handled once they are gone. Robert Plant, however, has itemised his archive during the lockdown months and has given the green light for certain tracks to be released after his passing.
The former Led Zeppelin frontman is now 72-years-old and, when speaking to Matt Everitt on his Digging Deep podcast, the blues rock star revealed that he discovered a box of recordings from abandoned projects and a note from his mother condemning his choice to pursue music back in the day.
“I found a letter from my mum that said, ‘Look, you’ve been a very naughty boy. Why don’t you come back?’” he said. “And also, the accountancy job is still open on Stourport-on-Severn … [so] why don’t you just come back home and we’ll pretend all this stuff didn’t happen?’”
It was the first time Plant had read the letter and it caused a stir of emotions. “It made me feel crazy because I thought about what a pitch it was in those days to chuck everything up in the air and just say, ‘Sorry, I’ve got to this,’ and for them to throw the next card down and say, ‘Well, if you do it, you can’t come back here and live the live you wanna live. It’s academia or you’re out.’ So I went. … I only went back, really, when I got engaged. … I went back and introduced my future ex-wife.”
The irony was that also in the same box were all the records he had produced in his career that he was too successful to even bother releasing. Contained within these deep cuts are “all the adventures I’ve ever had with music, tours, album releases, projects that didn’t actually get finished or whatever it is, I just put them, itemised them all and put everything into some semblance of order.”
Adding that, “I told the kids that when I kick the bucket, open it to the public – free of charge – just to see how many silly things there were down the line from 1966 to now: the journey.”Included in the mix is punk takes and “the other side of David Byrne”, creating a strange paradox for fans who simultaneously want to hear the records, but dread their release.
For now you can kick back and cherish the rock ‘n’ roll, firmly released for the public below.