Daily Archives: May 17, 2010

Monday Night Music Byte

Robert Anthony Plant, CBE (a/k/a Robert Plante) (born 20 August 1948), is an English rock singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin. He has also had a successful solo career. In 2007, Plant released Raising Sand, an album produced by T-Bone Burnett with American bluegrass soprano Alison Krauss, which won the 2009 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

In 1968, the guitarist Jimmy Page was in search of a lead singer for his new band and met Plant after being turned down by his first choice, Terry Reid, who referred him to a show at a teacher training college in Birmingham— where Plant was singing in a band named Hobbstweedle. Page explained:

When I auditioned him and heard him sing, I immediately thought there must be something wrong with him personality-wise or that he had to be impossible to work with, because I just could not understand why, after he told me he’d been singing for a few years already, he hadn’t become a big name yet. So I had him down to my place for a little while, just to sort of check him out, and we got along great. No problems.

According to Plant:

I was appearing at this college when Peter and Jimmy turned up and asked me if I’d like to join The Yardbirds. I knew The Yardbirds had done a lot of work in America – which to me meant audiences who would want to know what I might have to offer – so naturally I was very interested.

Plant and Page immediately hit it off with a shared musical passion and after Plant joined the band they began their writing collaboration with reworkings of earlier blues songs, although Plant would receive no songwriting credits on the band’s first album, allegedly because he was still under contract to CBS Records at the time. Plant brought along John Bonham as drummer, and they were joined by John Paul Jones, who had previously worked with Jimmy Page as a studio musician. Jones called Page on the phone before they checked out Plant, and Page hired Jones immediately.

Initially dubbed the “New Yardbirds” in 1968, the band soon came to be known as Led Zeppelin. The band’s self-titled debut album hit the charts in 1969 and is widely credited as a catalyst for the heavy metal genre. Plant, however, has commented that it is unfair for people to think of Zeppelin as heavy metal, as almost a third of their music was acoustic.

In 1975, Plant and his wife Maureen (now divorced) were seriously injured in a car crash in Rhodes, Greece. This significantly affected the production of Led Zeppelin’s seventh album Presence for a few months while he recovered, and forced the band to cancel the remaining tour dates for the year.

In July 1977 his son Karac died at the age of five of a stomach infection while Plant was engaged on Led Zeppelin’s concert tour of the United States. Plant retreated to his home in the Midlands and for months afterward he questioned his future. Karac’s death later inspired him to write the song “All My Love” in tribute, featured on Led Zeppelin’s final studio LP, 1979’s In Through the Out Door.

Plant enjoyed great success with Led Zeppelin throughout the 1970s and developed a compelling image as the charismatic rock-and-roll front man, similar to his contemporary in The Who, singer Roger Daltrey (who adopted the look in the late 1960s), and his predecessor, Jim Morrison of The Doors who, while not displaying the same visual appearance, also exuded sexuality upon the stage. With his mane of long blond hair and powerful, bare-chested appearance, Plant helped to create the “god of rock and roll” or “rock god” archetype. On stage, Plant was particularly active in live performances, often dancing, jumping, snapping his fingers, clapping, making emphatic gestures to emphasise a lyric or cymbal crash, throwing back his head, or placing his hands on his hips. As the 1960s-1970s progressed he, along with the other members of Led Zeppelin, became increasingly flamboyant on-stage and wore more elaborate, colourful clothing and jewellery.

After the breakup of Led Zeppelin in 1980 (following the death of John Bonham), Plant pursued a successful solo career beginning with Pictures at Eleven in 1982, followed by 1983’s The Principle of Moments. Popular tracks from this period include “Big Log” (a Top 20 hit in 1983), “In the Mood” (1984), “Little by Little” (from 1985’s Shaken ‘n’ Stirred), “Tall Cool One” (a #25 hit off 1988’s Now and Zen) and “I Believe” (from 1993’s Fate of Nations), another song written for and dedicated to his late son, Karac. In 1984, Plant formed a short-lived all-star group with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck called The Honeydrippers, who had a #3 hit with a remake of the Phil Phillips’ tune, “Sea of Love” and a followup hit with a cover of Roy Brown’s “Rockin’ at Midnight.” Although Plant avoided performing Led Zeppelin songs through much of this period, his tours in 1983 (with superstar drummer Phil Collins) and 1985 were very successful, often performing to sold-out arena-sized venues.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, Plant co-wrote three solo albums with keyboardist/songwriter Phil Johnstone. Now and Zen, Manic Nirvana, and Fate of Nations (featuring Máire Brennan of Clannad). It was Johnstone who talked Plant into playing Led Zeppelin songs in his live shows, something Plant had resisted, not wanting to be forever known as “the former Led Zeppelin vocalist.”

Although Led Zeppelin split in 1980, Plant and Page occasionally collaborated on various projects, including The Honeydrippers: Volume 1 album in 1984 (there has never been a Volume 2). In the spring 2 years later Robert performed at the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986 which was a very special event. The pair again worked together again in the studio on the 1988 Page solo effort, Outrider, and in the same year Page contributed to Plant’s album Now and Zen. Also, on 15 May 1988 Plant appeared with Page as a member of Led Zeppelin (and in his own right as a solo artist) at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert.

Please enjoy this video clip of Robert Plant performing “Tall Cool One” at the Atlantic Records 4oth Anniversary Bash at Madison Square Garden in 1988.

Palin’s Daffy Doubletalk Dismays Devotees

If you're crazy and you know it, clap your hands...

As we have long surmised, all you had to do was give Sarah Palin enough rope and eventually she would hang herself. The metaphorical rope in this instance is the former ex-quitting Governor of Alaska’s own lengthy trail of words. Despite the fact much of what Palin says is an indecipherable jumble of mispronounced words and colloquial down-home catchphrases, she has now managed to contradict herself and counter conservative measures so often that she has lost support not only among the moonbat crazy Tea-Bagger crowd, but also amongst Republicans as a whole.

This news has even become apparent across the pond as they say. The UK Telegraph reports that more Alaskans than not think the presidency should not form the next chapter of Palin’s extraordinary story, while 45 per cent gave her a negative personal rating. It also points out that Tea Party supporters, her most ardent fans, showed that a majority wouldn’t vote for her if she ran for president in 2012. Further, the British paper states,

It is not just that the faithful are beginning to question her readiness for the White House. It is not just that they have doubts about a would-be president who wants all her questions pre-screened, who needs to scribble her talking points on her palm and whose favourite modes of communication are those of a 15-year-old, namely Twitter and Facebook. What is troubling Right-wingers is whether their great moose-hunting hope may not be the conservative real deal after all.

The paper goes on to say that,

Dissent is most evident among Palin’s 1.5 million Facebook friends, who have revolted against her decision to endorse Carly Fiorina, the controversial former Hewlett Packard executive, in a California Republican senate primary over the Tea Party favourite, Chuck DeVore. For some, Palin’s choice compounded her recent endorsement of McCain in his Arizona senate primary election battle against a more Right-wing candidate.

The suspicion is that Palin  didn’t do her homework on Fiorina – who favours a “cap and trade” energy reform bill and is considered insufficiently robust against abortion.

It would appear that Palin’s supporters are just now picking up on her contradictions and her penchant for opportunism that her critics have seen since she first appeared on the political scene.

The Telegraph contends for instance,

Palin decries federal government spending but as a state governor lapped it up (as almost all of them do). She attacked “big government” healthcare reform but accepts free care for her grandson, an entitlement received only because her husband Todd is one quarter native Alaskan.

Next it points out,

A supposed warrior against political correctness, she upbraided Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, for using the word “retard” as an insult, saying it was deeply offensive to her and Trig, her Down’s Syndrome son. Indeed it may have been. But when Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio supremo whom no Republican dares contradict, then committed the same offence, she remained silent.

And,

An ostensibly staunch defender of the US constitution, Palin last week said that US law should be based on “the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments”. In doing so she completely ignored, or was ignorant of, the fact that the very aim of the founding fathers was to separate church and state, from that very British tyranny. As the first amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Those “unalienable rights” in the Declaration of Independence that Palin holds so dear were endowed by the “Creator”, not a God of a particular church or faith.

We should also point out that while pretending to be the hockey mom and/or hardworking “Sixpack Joanne” like so many of her devotees, Sarah Palin has actually been virtually unemployed yet earned more than 12 million dollars since last year. Presently, her lifestyle far more closely resembles that of the East Coast elite that she pretends to so despise than it does the down-homey, small town, Middle American that “clings to his/her guns and religion”. Finally, and most vividly, she has not yet found a way to gracefully backtrack from “drill baby, drill” even in the face of the Gulf Coast disaster. Many of the governors of those coastal Red states that so fervently advocated more offshore drilling are now taking a sober second look. Palin, on the other hand, simply digs in the heels of her Naughty Monkeys. Quite simply, Sarah Palin will soon alienate herself right out of the atmosphere of the political party to which she belongs.

In honor of the troops, please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s song parody.

Everybody’s Talkin’ song link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8HL4WRp_Qk

SARAH PALIN’S TALKIN’

(sung to the Harry Nilsson version of the song “Everybody’s Talkin”)

Sarah Palin’s talkin’ at me
Can’t understand a word she’s saying
She has a really troubled mind

People stopping, staring
Standing in their places
Palin’s just blinking both her eyes

Her brain is where the sun ain’t shining
Thinking is a strain
Like dead fish, she’s “goin’ with the flow”
Palin is just a bag of wind
Craving attention, please
She’s hoping that her supporters throw a bone

(musical interlude)

It’s no wonder that she’s been hiding
She might be insane
As for Prozac, she could use a dose
If she gives up then we all win
She could then strip-tease
And she could use that dancing pole as her throne

Sarah Palin’s talkin’ at me
Can’t hear a word she’s saying
Only the echoes of her whines

I just hope she’ll leave in double time

Oh, I just hope she le-ee-ee-eaves

I just hope she’ll leave in double time