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Robert Plant: A Life Hardcover – October 22, 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Rees informs and entertains . . . leav[ing] few stones in Plant’s life unturned. (MOJO)

Anyone seeking insight into Robert Plant as a man and musician will find it here. (Q Magazine)

Particularly enlightening on Plant’s formative pre-Zep years in the Midlands, A Life puts the singer’s eclectic career into clear context. (Dave Lewis, Tight But Loose magazine)

From the Back Cover

Robert Plant is a living legend. The front man of Led Zeppelin, one of the biggest and most influential rock bands of all time, Plant defined the very notion of what it means to be a rock god.

The sheer scale of Led Zeppelin's success is extraordinary. In the United States alone they have sold seventy million records—a figure surpassed only by the Beatles—while "Stairway to Heaven," the band's most famous song, has been played more times on American radio than any other track and is frequently referred to as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll songs ever.

But Robert Plant's legacy stretches far beyond Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant: A Life is the story of the forces that shaped Plant: from his boyhood in England's Black Country to the ravaging highs and lows of the Zeppelin years; from his relationship with Jimmy Page and John Bonham to the solo career that today, at the age of sixty-two, has him producing some of the most acclaimed work of his career. Author Paul Rees, former editor of Q and Kerrang!, who has in the past interviewed Plant at length, paints a rich, complicated portrait of a man who was only nineteen when he changed the face of rock 'n' roll.

Told with tenacity, emotion, and the spark of brilliance that befits such an enigmatic front man, Robert Plant: A Life is the definitive story of a musical icon.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; 1st edition (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062281380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062281388
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Rees has written about music for more than twenty years. In that time he has interviewed everyone from Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Madonna to Bono, Take That, and AC/DC. His work has appeared in many publications, including the Sunday Times Culture, the Telegraph, the Independent, and the Evening Standard. He was also editor of two of the UK's most successful and long-standing music publications, Q and Kerrang!, for a total of twelve years.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Cat on November 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to this book in the hopes that Plant himself had provided some interview time to the author which would definitely sweeten the pot in my opinion. That does not appear to be the case (it's an "unauthorized" biography) sadly, but even so, the author could have done much better. The book is very dry, emotionally absent, contains little original insight and is basically a rehash of material that is readily available elsewhere. If you know nothing about Robert Plant, it's an OK read, but if you have followed his career since his Zeppelin days, you'll find nothing new here.
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Format: Hardcover
An important bit of information is missing from this book's description, which is that it's an unauthorized biography. Robert Plant refused to take part in the writing of this book. Consequently, the content is absent any insight into his thoughts, emotions, and motivations in both his career and his personal life.

The first few chapters track Plant's childhood, but this is told from the perspective of outsiders and long ago school friends. While interesting, conclusions reached are strictly supposition. The rest of the book mostly tracks his recording career, his life story told in terms of his musical evolution.

For the most part, everything here is lifted from old interviews, articles, and books already published on Led Zeppelin. The author did not speak to anyone close to Plant for this book, including his surviving band members. If you've read a good book on the band (not Hammer of the Gods), then you probably already know most of what's written in this biography.

I didn't feel there was much effort to supply readers with depth. Early in the book, the author states that, since Plant is not a musician, he has difficulty expressing what he wants musically to the band. Later, we find him strumming the tunes on a guitar. As a fan, I know that he does now play guitar, though I don't think he did early in his career. I have no idea when he picked up the instrument. The author apparently doesn't know either, and he made no attempt to find out or clarify such a simple fact.

Another problem I have with this book is that there are at least a couple glaring factual errors. The most prominent of these is the author's claim that Plant's son Karac died at the age of seven. He was, in fact, five years old when he died.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very fortunate to have seen Led Zeppelin perform twice at the Forum in the early seventies. I thought then and still think they are the greatest rock band ever. Here I am at age 60 and I still think he was the sexiest male slink of a rock star there ever was. Before I read this book I did a Google search of images of Plant. I was curious to see how he looked after all these years. I had the youthful Plant fixated in my mind so when I saw him as he is today, I thought I was looking at the Picture of Dorian Gray. So, on to the read.
Probably a very thorough but superficial look at Plant's life. Not much more you can do when the subject matter is a very private person and was not involved in the writing of the book. I was hoping for a much more, up-close, picture of the man but it was not to be.
What I did glean from the read is that he was and is still a driven man. He is highly intelligent, perhaps a genius. I also got the impression that he is also a tortured man that will probably never feel any peace in his lifetime, but again, this is just my opinion. He was born with a purpose and was brave enough to pursue it. He also had more women sit on his lap than a public toilet. He is very fortunate that all of his success was before the appearance of AIDS. And like many rock stars and bands of that era, they were doomed from the start. Too much excess with no anchor to keep them grounded. It didn't help matters that they surrounded themselves with an entourage that were absolute trash, but that is just the mother in me talking.
The book is a road map of his life from his early years to the present. Nothing more than that.
All in all I was satisfied with the purchase. A great read? No. But interesting just the same.
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Format: Kindle Edition
(nb: I received an Advance Review Copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss)

If there's one artist ever to have epitomized The Rock God, it has to be Robert Plant. His bared chest and waving mane of long blond curls, combined with powerful charisma and that unmistakable bluesy wail, made damned sure every eye in the house was focused on him. As Rock's Golden God, Plant prowled the stage as front-man for Led Zeppelin, the rock band who owned the 1970's.

To me, it seems like Led Zeppelin was around forever, but they really only played together twelve years, from 1968 to 1980. For the 1970's, though, there was nobody bigger, nobody more dangerous than Led Zeppelin, and Robert Plant was in the spotlight, always in the spotlight. When the band first started, it was guitarist Jimmy Page's project--he was the producer and arranger, the seasoned vet who'd played in The Yardbirds. As Zeppelin recorded and toured in the 1970's, Robert Plant began to take more control as Page fell back into a self-imposed isolation. Plant was garrulous and enjoyed attention. Page retreated into perpetually dark hotel rooms.

In 1980, Led Zeppelin broke up following the death of drummer John Bonham. The press release said they couldn't imagine playing without their dear friend, and thus they were dissolving the band. And that was that.

Led Zeppelin ended, but that wasn't the end for Robert Plant. Plant didn't want to stop making music. The key for him was always the next album to make, the next style to embrace. He moved on through a series of solo projects, some hugely successful, others hugely not.

That's the greatest thing I learned in Paul Rees's new biography, "Robert Plant: A Life.
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