Robert Plant Re-Starts With ‘Burning Down One Side’


When Zed Zeppelin broke up in 1980, Robert Plant was left to reply a difficult query: What do you do when you have got already reached the highest?

He’d been struggling to steadiness his private {and professional} priorities even earlier than the band’s sudden dissolution. Plant’s five-year-old son Karac died in 1977 of a abdomen virus whereas Led Zeppelin was out on tour, sending Plant into one thing of an existential disaster.

“I simply thought: ‘What’s all of it value? What’s that each one about? Wouldn’t it have been any completely different if I used to be there, if I would been round?'” he mused in 2020. “So I used to be occupied with the benefit of my life at the moment, and whether or not or not I wanted to place much more into the truth of the those who I liked and cared for – my daughter and my household usually.”

Simply three years later, John Bonham was dead too, successfully cementing the band’s finish. Following that, Plant critically contemplated whether or not his musical profession was over for good.

In any case, he’d already toured the world and achieved all the worldwide success he might have desired. What else might there be? “Clearly I used to be sitting on my arse after we would misplaced John,” Plant mentioned in his first post-Led Zeppelin interview. “I used to be pondering: ‘What occurs subsequent?’ I had no concept in any respect.”

Plant determined that quitting wasn’t an possibility, however embarking on a solo profession could possibly be. “I sat in a room with Atlantic Data and [former Led Zeppelin manager] Peter Grant, speaking concerning the solo factor,” he remembered in 2020. “I mentioned: ‘Look, there is no different means to do that, actually. I’ve received to maintain going as a result of I am 32 years outdated and I have never really felt the rest aside from this juggernaut success factor. I would like to seek out out what the opposite facet of it’s like.'”

One of many first steps was discovering new individuals to attach with within the studio. Enter Phil Collins, who was personally accustomed to launching a solo career and separating oneself from a band of intense fame. He approached Plant bluntly: “Phil was such an enormous fan of John [Bonham] that he despatched me a message: ‘I would actually like that can assist you, as a result of this should be one of many hardest belongings you’ve ever needed to do, musically.'”

The recording course of, as Plant recalled it, was quick and livid. Collins was not afraid to talk his thoughts, which turned out to be simply what Plant wanted within the studio. “We have been slicing backing tracks continuous,” Plant mentioned. “And if he didn’t like one thing, he’d cease midway by means of, arise and inform individuals why it wasn’t fairly proper. I liked that as a result of I used to be nonetheless tiptoeing round, not realizing take care of different musicians.”

Maybe the most effective proof of Plant’s newfound collaborative spirit is “Burning Down One Aspect,” the tune that grew to become the lead-off observe on 1982’s Pictures at Eleven. Plant shared writing credit with guitarist Robbie Blunt and keyboardist/synth participant Jezz Woodroffe. Collins performed drums, as he did for many of the album’s tracks, and Paul Martinez performed bass.

Watch Robert Plant’s ‘Burning Down One Aspect’ Video

“I knew Robbie Blunt very well, from being round [North Worcestershire],” Plant mentioned. “He is a really lyrical guitarist, a stupendous participant.” Blunt would go on to play on two extra Plant solo albums, 1983’s The Principle of Moments and 1985’s Shaken ‘n’ Stirred.

By means of the ’80s, Plant would incessantly be requested if working with one other guitarist was difficult, after partnering with Jimmy Page for a decade. “Jimmy wants a neighborhood workshop, and he must put his belief and his religion and his vulnerability into somebody,” Plant later instructed Rolling Stone. “We shared one thing, and that is fantastic. It is simply that the best way that we do issues now’s completely different.”

Plant relished working with new individuals and shedding no less than a little bit little bit of his previous. “It is nice enjoyable in the mean time, very fulfilling,” he mentioned on the time. “I am studying new issues day by day, I am assembly all types of recent individuals within the enterprise – and stunning all of them, as a result of all of them thought I used to be some sort of demon.”

One factor Plant would by no means be capable of shed was his distinct singing voice. “Burning Down One Aspect,” with its repeated chorus (“Ooh I would like your love, sure I would like your love“) and imagery of a runaway girl “playin’ hooky” with Plant’s coronary heart, would not have sounded misplaced on a Led Zeppelin album. He mentioned this was inevitable: “There are similarities, after all,” Plant acknowledged, “however that is received to be resulting from the truth that I am singing and writing, and that is how I’ve sung and written for the reason that starting of time.”

It was additionally 1982, nonetheless, and synthesizers have been enjoying a extra dominant function in fashionable music. Mixed with new writing companions, “Burning Down One Aspect” often sounded not like something Plant had participated in beforehand. “As you may think about, I took one million pains to attempt to create my very own particular person sound,” Plant emphasised. “I used to be simply attempting to tug away as a lot as I might … however then once more you may solely draw back thus far. I wished to go away Zeppelin the best way it was and … simply pull these reins a little bit to the precise.”

Woodroffe acknowledged the chance Plant was taking. There have been certain to be Led Zeppelin followers who weren’t eager on Plant’s new course. “What we did was so completely completely different, but it was the identical voice and it was the identical Robert on stage,” Woodroffe instructed Electronics and Music Maker journal in 1986. “He was very courageous to do this, however alternatively, if he hadn’t finished that, he would not have finished something.”

“Burning Down One Aspect” rapidly the most well-liked quantity from Footage at Eleven, reaching No. 3 on Billboard‘s “High Tracks” chart earlier than its stand-alone launch in September 1982. The one solely reached No. 64 on the Scorching 100, and No. 73 on the U.Ok. singles chart – however Plant was largely unfazed by this. He’d braced for the worst however had found some success.

“I used to be anticipating to get a hammering from everyone,” he mentioned on the time. “I do not actually know why, as a result of I am happy with what I’ve finished.”

The Finest Track From Each Led Zeppelin Album

Selecting the most effective tune is not simple, since lots of their LPs come collectively as a chunk – they usually embody so many traditional tracks.

See Robert Plant Amongst Rock’s Most Costly Out-of-Print LPs

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