Robert Plant’s 10 Favorite Led Zeppelin Tracks
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press
What are Robert Plant‘s favorite Led Zeppelin songs? It’s no secret that when it comes to the music of his former band Plant doesn’t exactly hold the legacy of his former band in as high regard as Zeppelin’s fans. In fact, he’s even gone as far as to describe Stairway as a “wedding song” and much of the material from the band’s’ first two albums as regrettably macho. Nonetheless, there are certain songs that still sit close to his heart. Here are the top 10.
‘The Immigrant Song’
“I think ‘Immigrant Song’ was great,” Plant shared of the Led Zeppelin III song to radio station Q107 in 2010. “Having been to Iceland, where we wrote it, I could understand exactly how it caught me musically and the agitation of the music too. It was smooth, cool.”
‘Kashmir’ is without question Robert Plant‘s favorite Led Zeppelin number.“I wish we were remembered for ‘Kashmir’ more than ‘Stairway To Heaven,’” Plant shared in 2010. “It’s so right; there’s nothing overblown, no vocal hysterics. Perfect Zeppelin.”
‘In My Time of Dying’
In 1980 Robert Plant was interviewed with journalist Tony Bacon. During their conversation, Bacon asked Plant which out of all of Zeppelin’s songs he thought contained Jimmy Page‘s finest guitar work. After a long pause Plant shared that ‘In My Time of Dying’ was, in his estimation, the best example Page’s guitar. “It goes on and on,” Plant joked. “But it’s great ramshackle blues slide. Straight off the top.”
In the same interview, Robert Plant describes Houses of the Holy‘s ‘The Ocean’ as the best example of his vocal work, adding that the use of slapback echo used on early rock ‘n’ roll song slike Gene Vicent’s ‘Woman Love‘ was a key influence. “The more you listen to rock ‘n’ roll and early rockabilly,” he mused, “[you realize] there’s some incredible echo effects. They were promising you something that actually wasn’t for real, you know? The very idea of putting an effect on the voice, in this dream wonderland, this promise of safe love and no tears, whatever it is [laughs]. That’s what it all started from.”
As for a favorite John Bonham drum part? Plant had the answer for his interviewer on this one as well: Houses of the Holy’s ‘The Crunge’. “What Bonzo’s doing is great,” Plant enthused, “Without even having to think it out, he used to come across such—his work was so overly adequate, so extreme, and yet so understated. There were so many different elements of what he was doing. So a fill would only be there if it was necessary, but when it came, well…”
‘The Song Remains the Same’
Capping the interview off, Plant then adds that he considered the best example of John Paul Jones‘ bass playing was ‘The Song Remains the Same’. “I think John excelled himself,” Plant enthused. “He was a great technician from a school of studied bass.”
‘In the Light’
“[Kashmir’], ‘All My Love’ and ‘In the Light’,” Robert Plant once shared with Rolling Stone, “and two or three others really were the finest moments.”
‘All My Love’
Robert Plant wrote ‘All My Love’ for son Karac who died unexpectedly from a stomach virus in 1977. “It was just paying tribute to the joy that [Karac] gave us as a family and, in a crazy way, still does occasionally,” Robert shared of the song in 2018.
‘Battle of Evermore’
“We were very fortunate in the Zeppelin camp,” Plant reflected in a 2019 episode of podcast Digging Deep, “there was a lot of amazing variety of stylistic influence in everybody’s playing. ‘Battle of Evermore’, just as an instrumental piece, was beautiful… The way it sounded it had some essence of heralding, of drawing people together, of summing a mindset if you like.”
‘Going To California’
While Plant may not have outright stated ‘Going To California’ is a favorite, it is one of the Zeppelin songs he has played most live since going solo. Setlist.com notes that since he beginning to play the tune again live in 1990, Plant has performed the song 433 times.