Page last updated at 00:01 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Profile: Robert Plant

Robert Plant
Robert Plant has continued to push musical boundaries
Robert Plant - who has been appointed CBE in the New Year Honours - is best known as the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, but he has also enjoyed a successful and diverse career since the band's demise.

Led Zeppelin have gathered up legions of devoted fans since their inception in the 1968, with Stairway to Heaven becoming an enduring guitar anthem.

Plant was there from the outset, having been recruited to the band by Jimmy Page, who had already made a name for himself in The Yardbirds.

Born in West Bromwich in 1948, Plant grew up in Halesowen near Dudley.

He was a great lover of music from an early age, getting involved in the local blues scene after ditching plans to study as a chartered accountant.

While playing with local bands, Plant met John Bonham, who he put forward for the drummer position in Led Zeppelin.

Rock lifestyle

Led Zeppelin released their self-titled debut album in 1969, reaching number six in the charts.

The band's output was prolific, with a second album coming in the same year as the first, followed by an album every one or two years until 1976. At the same time they were all living the hedonistic rock and roll lifestyle.

The 1970s were marred by tragedy for Plant with a car smash in 1975 in Rhodes leaving his wife Maureen in hospital for weeks and him with a badly injured ankle.

Worse was to follow two years later when their son, Karac, died from a stomach virus at the age of six while Plant was away touring in the US.

He immediately returned home to his wife and young daughter, Carmen. He went on to have another son, Logan, in 1979, but he and his wife split up three years later.

Robert Plant
Plant (r) and his Led Zeppelin bandmates enjoyed the rock and roll lifestyle

Led Zeppelin finally broke up in 1980 following the death of member John Bonham. The death of his close friend inspired Plant to eventually give up drugs.

"When Zeppelin finished I had to rely on myself," he recently told The Daily Express.

"My mind was pretty icy cold and blasted clean. I had no idea of what life was supposed to be about. I didn't even know how to book an airline ticket and I was 32. It was time to start all over again and I loved it."

Plant went on churn out album after album, as well as collaborating with Jimmy Page on Page's solo material.

Experimental

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin performed at Live Aid in Philadelphia in 1985, while nine years later Page and Plant recorded a live "UnLedded" MTV session of Led Zeppelin classics.

In 1998 they recorded a follow-up album of original material, Walking into Clarksdale.

Keen to continue on an experimental vein, Plant ventured into folk music with a duet with Welsh singer Julie Murphy. He then went onto to work on album of blues classics, Dreamland.

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Plant, along with the surviving members of Led Zeppelin, were given the lifetime achievement Grammy in 2005.

They joined together again for a one-off gig at London's O2 arena in 2007, where tickets cost 125 but changed hands for much larger sums.

Talks of worldwide reunion tour have been constant since the gig, but Plant has turned down lucrative sums to tour and record with American bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

"We're in the middle of the honeymoon right now," he said. "We're coming up with all sorts of great songs. The fluidity and the flexibility that's coming about now, it would be a shame not to do something original.

"That's the way forward. I do things because I want to be excited and I want to be risky."



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