Why Robert Plant’s ‘80s Music Used to Embarrass Him
Robert Plant said he’d spent a lot of time embarrassed by the solo music he released in the ‘80s as he worked to put the ‘70s behind him.
But he reflected that his efforts – represented on his new anthology Digging Deep – offered a positive account of his four-decade career since Led Zeppelin ended.
“Earlier on, I was embracing whatever I felt really moved high at the time, so the techno revolution in the '80s is… we look back now in horror,” Plant told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “Or maybe we don’t look back in horror. Now we look back and go, ‘Geez, how did you actually manage to get your head around that sort of shit, Robert?’ And the answer is, ‘With great zest and a considerable amount of noise.’”
He continued: “I mean, it’s very funny. But some of it worked really OK. I was embarrassed about it for a long time. Especially once I got to 1993 and Fate of Nations, which was a really big turning point for me. The thing is, you don’t have any perspective at the time, you just joyously careen through another bunch of ideas and another combination of good spirits.”
The rocker noted that he was “very conscious of saying goodbye to the ‘70s,” an era that included the massive success of Led Zeppelin, but also the tragic death of his son, along with his own serious car accident in Greece, followed closely by the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980. "There was a lot of pain, and quite a lot of pleasure," Plant recalled of the time period, "but you’ve got to move on.”
Asked what he thought of the breadth of genres to be found in Digging Deep, Plant joked: “When I listen to it, I wonder whether the guy who was singing and writing the lyrics ever had a rest. I mean, did he ever take a vacation? What on earth was going on? And why didn’t he just shut the fuck up for a while and learn something new, like applied mathematics or astronomy?”
He argued that the collection “rolls with so much gusto.” “It’s pretty confident, except for, really, underneath it all, maybe it was never confident," the iconic musician explained. "It was just throwing another spanner into the works, to see where the shards would take me. None of these songs are going to match [Bob Dylan’s] ‘Masters of War,’ or something like that. They’re songs from the moment that they were born in some rehearsal room on the Welsh borders, I guess.”