Led Zeppelin remain one of the most popular bands of all time, even if they are decades past their peak. They created enduring music that was so recognizable that years after recording it, they earned a $2 million paycheck for a song. They’re the kings of classic rock, but Robert Plant was embarrassed by an aspect of his Led Zeppelin days that had nothing to do with music.
Despite the success of Led Zeppelin, or perhaps because of it, Plant has never shied away from voicing his opinions about the band he fronted.
A few years after Zep disbanded, Plant called out his former band. The singer said the people who targeted Led Zeppelin in the late 1970s, particularly the punk bands that emerged in their wake, were right to criticize them.
Plant distanced himself from Led Zeppelin’s signature song “Stairway to Heaven” a few years after its release. The singer found it difficult to narrate the lyrics, which he wrote in just a few minutes when he was in his early 20s. Still, Plant said he was embarrassed by a Led Zeppelin song that isn’t “Stairway” for a similar reason, and said his lyrics for “The Battle of Evermore” years later didn’t live up to his standards.
From a listener’s perspective, much of Zep’s music has aged well. Still, Plant said he was embarrassed about an aspect of Led Zeppelin that had nothing to do with music.
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Led Zeppelin’s music stays with us, as do the stories of the band’s bad behavior on tour. Years before Guns N’ Roses was released destructivenessLed Zeppelin have proven they have a penchant for delinquency.
Plant is said to have called himself a golden god in one arrogant moment. The singer indulged in cocaine and other medications, although he later revealed he had quit using drugs. The drinking combined with the tedium of hotel life on tour led to behavior that Plant later admitted and embarrassed, writes George Case in Frequently asked questions about Led Zeppelin:
Wanton destruction of property was almost a job requirement for arena rock bands of the 1970s. Like Led Zeppelin, The Who notoriously left a trail of trash behind when they toured. In hindsight, and with clarity, Plant revealed that he was embarrassed by this type of behavior.
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Robert Plant admitted he was embarrassed by his destructive behavior during his time at Led Zeppelin. Fellow English Midlands bandmate John Bonham also had his share of unfortunate moments.
Bonham earned a reputation as a wild man. Twice his nose was broken during drunken outbursts by the Led Zeppelin tour manager. That doesn’t include the time he drunkenly taunted a seminal punk band at one of their shows.
Bonham allegedly rode his motorcycle down the hallways of a hotel during one particularly destructive scene. Robert Plant, embarrassed by a boastful claim and a couple of broken TVs, seems tame by comparison.
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