The Led Zeppelin vocal performance Robert Plant called “exaggerated”

Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant’s ability as a vocalist is reflected not only in how his voice sounds but also in how it evolved. He continues to perform around the world. But the music he produces now is very different from what he did with Led Zeppelin. The plant still sounds fantastic on records and live. But his ability to adapt while still sounding outstanding elevates him to the ranks of all-time greats.

When Led Zeppelin first started making music, their musical talent was undeniable. Their blues-infused sound evoked the genre’s improvised chaos, but the tracks were more structured. They were riff-heavy, allowing blues and hard rock styles to blend seamlessly.

Plant’s vocal ability is reminiscent of the blues sound. He did not seem to approach Led Zeppelin songs in the same way that other singers did. He didn’t have a specific tone in mind. Instead, in tracks, he appeared to start by finding his footing and then letting his vocal cords loose. His ability to sing, screech, howl, and wail his way through a song was addictive and greatly contributed to the band’s success.

Since then, Plant’s style has evolved as he has delved deeper into the world of Americana. They were performing with artists such as Alison Krause. This shift isn’t because the rock was too challenging, though, quite the opposite, as Plant reflects on a song he recorded with Krauss. He said that it was one of the most difficult he’s ever done.

On their 2007 album Raising Sand, he and Krauss covered the Dillard & Clark song ‘Polly’. The song was re-recorded as ‘Polly Come Home‘. “It’s just the most difficult piece of music to sing at the tempo that we sang it at,” Plant said. “It’s one of the toughest calls I’ve had.”

He sings in a much different style on this newer music than he did in Led Zeppelin, which he now describes as exaggerated. “It’s just such a great song, but the tempo… it was languid, it was magnificent,” he went on to say. “But it was a hell of a challenge.” I carried myself through until I grew tired of the full, open-throated falsetto that I was able to concoct in 1968. Then that sort of exaggerated personality of a vocal performance morphed and went somewhere else.”

When discussing his old singing style, he specifically mentions the song ‘Immigrant Song’. It’s arguably one of the band’s most memorable songs. All thanks to Plant’s screaming vocals that open it up, and the exaggeration is what makes it so compelling.

“But as a matter of fact, I was playing in Reykjavik, Iceland, about three years ago, just before Covid,” he recalled. “It was Midsummer Night, and there was a festival, and I got my band, and I said, ‘OK,  let’s do ‘Immigrant Song.’ They had never done this before. We hit it, and there it was. I thought, ‘Oh, I didn’t think I could do that anymore.'”

Plant’s ability to adapt his vocal style is what makes him such an iconic figure in music. He had a more exaggerated style in Led Zeppelin, which he can still do. But instead of relying on the hits, he has decided to take a different path that continues to challenge him.

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