“I am the Golden God,” a line that is taken from the iconic rock movie Almost Famous, is peddled out as typifying the ghoulish way rock stars viewed themselves in the 1970s. With unfettered fame and the kind of devotion few plebians had ever encountered, the idea that these men and women were elevated toward theologian grandeur is not hard to imagine. However, if there was one man who arguably deserved the title and, allegedly, once even decried himself to be such a decorated deity, then it is Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant.
Usually, we wouldn’t let Plant get away with such a declaration. After all, the man was, on the face of it, simply a singer. However, as time passes and the dust continues to settle on the 20th century, it is difficult to think of anyone more appropriate for the role. While singers have come and gone, Plant’s vocals remain the closest rock and roll ever gets to angelic.
Likewise, it’s easy to get caught up in the brilliance of Led Zeppelin. As an outfit, they are certainly one of the most potent around. To include the mercurial guitar maestro Jimmy Page in your ranks and the powerhouse percussion of John Bonham and the dynamic rhythm of John Paul Jones too, and you have some serious credentials. But perhaps the brightest jewel in this particular crown is the supremely talented Robert Plant.
The band’s lead singer since the beginning (despite almost becoming a member of The Who), Plant isn’t just considered a great singer but the very artist who sculpted the definition of what a rock singer should be. While there aren’t many comparative performers in today’s rock scene, Plant helped to lay the foundations of vocalists everywhere with his impressive range, thunderous delivery and indisputable form. Though rightly seen as an integral member of Led Zeppelin, Plant actually affected the entire music industry with his work.
Listening back to the isolated vocal tracks of some of Zeppelin’s best songs always reveals a glut of talent that can sometimes be forgotten in the mix. However, strip back the raucous energy of the group to leave Plant out on his own, and one quickly confirms Robert Plant as the greatest rock singer the world has ever known. Doing this with the beautiful ‘Dazed and Confused’ leaves a sweet taste in one’s mouth.
Heavily inspired by the Jake Holmes song of the same name, a quaint folk tune that Jimmy Page had heard when working with The Yardbirds, Zeppelin’s take on the song is as pounding and pulsating as one might expect. It was one of the songs on which Page would regularly use a violin bow to hone his sound. However, stripping back the instrumentation leaves us to simply wonder at Plant’s vocal talents.