The 6 bands that Robert Plant said he liked in the 80s
The singer and songwriter Robert Plant first achieved fame as the vocalist of Led Zeppelin, that became one of the best-selling bands of all time. They have sold an estimated amount of something between 200 to 300 million records worldwide, even though the group was active only for 12 years.
The band tragically came to an end after the death of the legendary drummer John Bonham at the age of 32 in 1980. After that they released an statement saying they couldn’t continue without Bonzo, that was such an important part of their sound. Two years later Plant released his solo debut album and started a career that embraced many different styles and tried to not repeat what was created with Zeppelin.
He was always interested in new bands and over the decades talked about many interesting groups, especially in the 80s. Rock and Roll Garage selected 6 bands that Robert Plant praised in the 80s and what he said about them.
The 6 bands that Robert Plant said he liked in the 80s
Prince started his musical career at a young age in 1975, when Led Zeppelin was still active and released his debut album “For You” in 1978. Even though his first five records are praised by the critics and had a moderate success, he achieved another level of fame with the release of “Purple Rain” in 1984, that also had a successful movie. It sold 25 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling records of all time.
That work brought attention to what Prince had done so far at the time in his career and made many artists, including Robert Plant, praise him. Talking with Rolling Stone magazine in 1988, the musician said he liked Prince for “sheer entertainment and audacity”. He even said that “Prince and (Jimmy) Page together would be great.”
Two years later in 1990, in a TV interview in 1990 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Plant praised him again. He said that Prince was powerful and that he was afraid to record with him someday. The reason was because he would probably be intimidated by how good the American musician was.
“I’m not really intimidated by too many people. But I’m very impressed by people. Prince is probably the most impressive single person. Because he is incredibly inventive but he is using a lot of old… He’s coming from all sorts of areas from the past.”
Robert Plant continued:
“He is really, he is pushing them all through a blender. So they come out oozing and tripping with honey, sex. It’s not at all sexist, but sexual. I don’t know whether I’d like to work with him because he is so powerful that he’d probably intimidate me a bit, I don’t know,” Robert Plant said.
During his career Prince recorded 42 studio albums and sold an estimated amount of more than 100 million records worldwide. He died at the age of 57 back in 2016.
Faith No More
The heaviest band on the list, Faith No More is one of the groups that captivated Plant still in the 80s. The band was formed in San Francisco, California in 1979 but only released their debut album in 1985. Curiously, in an interview with Q magazine in 1989, where he revealed some of the albums of his record collection, Plant praised the group.
He said that he had their 1987 album “Introduce Yourself” and said: “Their first album. It’s like, I, ME, listen to this! And if you don’t like it, fuck off!!! You can’t spend all your life whimpering away about the ex-wife. The vocal attitude, the hard, heavy garage rap. I like very much,” Robert Plant said.
Curiously, in 1990 they toured with Plant as his opening act and the band’s keyboardist Roddy Bottum said he was super supportive and sweet with them. He recalled in an interview with Butt Magazine in 2015, that they even ended up taking Plant to a gay bar at the time.
“Yeah, I did, kind of accidentally. We replaced Black Crowes on a tour with him. We use to go to the thrift shops and pawn shops in every city. One time we were thrift shopping, and he was out on the street and we were like, ‘Oh, hey. Come with us.’ And he kinda hung out with us. He’s such an amazing guy, really sweet. He’s like, ‘You guys care to go for a drink?’”
Roddy Bottum continued:
“And we’re like, ‘Yeah sure,’ and kinda looked at this bar. There might even have been a rainbow flag — and it was like, ‘Oh wow, this could be awkward.’ So we walked in and it dawned on everybody, ‘Oh, this is a gay bar.’”
“There we are with Robert Plant in a gay bar! He was like, ‘Oh, this is great. Great. Let’s have a seat. Let’s have a drink.’ Then we left the gay bar, and some kid pulled up in a pickup truck. He’s like, ‘Hey, you’re Robert Plant.’ And Robert Plant’s like, ‘Yes, I am.’ He said, ‘Where you guys going? You guys want a ride?’ And we all got into the back of the pickup truck,” Roddy Bottum said.
Another band that Robert Plant praised in the 80s was R.E.M., that was formed in Athens, Georgia in 1980. The group led by Michael Stipe (Vocals), Peter Buck (Guitar), Mike Mills (Bass), and Bill Berry (Drums) released their debut album “Murmur” in 1983.
With the single “Radio Free Europe” they were able to draw attention to them but it was four years later in 1987 that they success started to reach a new level with the release of the album “Document”. That record had hits like “The one I Love” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”.
In the interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1988, Robert Plant was asked about how he was trying different styles on his albums. He replied, saying: “I’ve ferreted around, working incessantly, trying different things out. If I made a record tomorrow that sounded like parts of R.E.M.’s Document, I’d be really pleased,” he said.
After “Document”, R.E.M. released some of their biggest albums like “Green” (1988) “Out Of Time” (1991) and “Automatic for the People” (1992). Those records were crucial to make them one of the best-selling bands of all time. They have sold an estimated amount of more than 90 million records worldwide.
Hüsker Dü and Tom Verlaine
Back in 1988, Plant also mentioned two other acts as favorites, in an interview with Creem magazine. “I want to cut through radio with a hot knife. This idea where they say, ‘We’re only gonna play stuff guaranteed on being a big hit.’ I wanna stretch it out some. People like Tom Verlaine and Hüsker Dü are making quite important music right now. (But) people aren’t hearing it because it never gets played,” Robert Plant said.
The American Punk Rock band Hüsker Dü was active from 1979 to 1988 and released six studio albums. They are known for songs like “Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely”, “Something I Learned Today” and “Pink Turns To Blue”. Until this day they are considered one of the bands that helped to form the American 80s indie scene. One of the main reasons was that they were one of the first alternative bands to sign a deal with a major record label.
Also an American artist from the Punk genre, Tom Verlaine is best known as the frontman of the New York band Television. The group was active for the first time from 1973 until 1978 and one year later Verlaine already released his solo debut. During the 80s he continued to expand his discography and in 1989, in an interview with Q magazine, Robert Plant revealed that he Verlaine’s 1984 album “Cover” on his record collection.
“This album is a real favourite. I play it a lot and it’s really scratched. I like albums – much better than CDs,” Robert Plant said.
The Irish singer Sinead O’Connor is another artist that Robert Plant praised in the 80s. She started her career in 1986 relasing her debut album one year later. But it was with her second record “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” (1990) that she gained international fame. That album had her biggest hit, the cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”.
In the interview with Q magazine, Plant had already praised her, saying that he had her records in his collection. “She captivates me, wins my heart, wins my whole being!”. Sinéad O’Connor had released 10 studio albums. The most recent was “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss” (2014).