To the surprise of nobody, Robert Plant has pretty good taste in music. The former Led Zeppelin frontman is eclectic in his preferences, taking inspiration from genres as disparate as blues, country, folk, and classic rock and roll. It was his ability to fuse these styles with his signature high-pitched howl that made him one of the most legendary rock singers of all time. It’s also what got him the job in Led Zeppelin in the first place.
During an interview with Q Magazine back in 1990, Plant reminisced over his music collection and how it shaped the direction of his life. He was fronting a band called Hobbstweedle in 1968 after the breakup of the Band of Joy and was playing a gig in Birmingham one night when Chris Dreja and Jimmy Page of The Yardbirds walked in. Plant had been recommended to Page, who was putting together a new version of The Yardbirds to fulfil touring obligations.
“I had to do this very thing which we’re doing now,” Plant told the interviewer as they poured over LPs. “We played records and talked about them to see how we were placed.” The two wound up bonding over artists like Muddy Waters, Joan Baez, Fairport Convention, and Larry Williams.
The broad mix of artists would later inform the music that Led Zeppelin explored: the pure Chicago blues of Waters came out in their take on ‘You Shook Me’, Baez’s delicate folk stylings are evident in ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Going to California’, the Celtic stylings of Fairport Convention can be heard in ‘Bron-Y-Aur Stomp’ and ‘Gallows Pole’, and Larry Williams’ mix of R&B and rock is all over ‘Boogie with Stu’ and ‘Rock and Roll’.
Check out the specific songs that got Robert Plant the gig in Led Zeppelin down below.