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Robert Plant: A Life by Paul Rees

Robert Plant: A Life

by Paul Rees, Paul Rees

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An important bit of information is missing from this book's description, which is that it's an unauthorized biography. Robert Plant refused to take part in the writing of this book. Consequently, the content is absent any insight into his thoughts, emotions, and motivations in both his career and his personal life.

The first few chapters track Plant's childhood, but this is told from the perspective of outsiders and long ago school friends. While interesting, conclusions reached are strictly supposition. The rest of the book mostly tracks his recording career, his life story told in terms of his musical evolution.

For the most part, everything here is lifted from old interviews, articles, and books already published on Led Zeppelin. The author did not speak to anyone close to Plant for this book, including his surviving band members. If you've read a good book on the band (not Hammer of the Gods), then you probably already know most of what's written in this biography.

I didn't feel there was much effort to supply readers with depth. Early in the book, the author states that, since Plant is not a musician, he has difficulty expressing what he wants musically to the band. Later, we find him strumming the tunes on a guitar. As a fan, I know that he does now play guitar, though I don't think he did early in his career. I have no idea when he picked up the instrument. The author apparently doesn't know either, and he made no attempt to find out or clarify such a simple fact.

Another problem I have with this book is that there are at least a couple glaring factual errors. The most prominent of these is the author's claim that Plant's son Karac died at the age of seven. He was, in fact, five years old when he died. Another oddity comes with Plant's youngest son, Jesse. The author claims his birth mother is shrouded in mystery, despite most everyone knowing his mother is the sister of Plant's ex-wife.

I grew up loving Led Zeppelin, and have followed Robert Plant's career since. I was excited to see a biography had finally been written about him, and was hoping for something that would go deeper than his sexcapades and the turmoil of the Zeppelin days. In that respect, this book is a disappointment. What we have is more a chronology of events, rather than a biography. Still, Robert Plant remains a powerful figure in the musical world and I'm happy one author has finally attempted to commemorate that journey. ( )
  Darcia | Jun 28, 2014 |
Robert Plant: A Life by Paul Rees is a Harper Collins/ IT books publication. This book was released in October 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This is a pretty straightforward account of the life of Robert Plant, front man for Led Zeppelin and a solo artist in his own right.
The book begins with a bit of Robert's background, his parents, school, influences and his attitude during those days.
Robert's teen years, his discovery of Elvis and the blues, his first group, how he met Bonzo and the formation of Led Zeppelin.
Of course, the author takes us inside the group's rocky beginnings to the peak of their success as a band, to the incredible tragedies that struck one right after another.
Once the group disbanded, Plant found he had a whole second career as a solo artist. Then once more he found himself walking in the ever present shadow of Led Zeppelin. Sometimes, Robert gave in to the pressure and sometimes he ran away from many request and offers regarding a reformation of the group.
But, Robert seems capable of finding a niche for himself repeatedly. His work with Alison Kraus is especially impressive.
As for Robert's personal life, I admit I knew very little. Robert's personality, even as a boy, was filled with confidence, bordering on cocky. As he became successful in his career that part of him became even more pronounced.
Robert's love life has been a little complicated as well. Robert' escapades were typical of many rock stars, especially on tour, but when he was not touring, he seemed to have a good solid marriage. However, there were some rather strange happenings, even while he was married, that would raise eyebrows even today.
Robert still maintains a larger than life personality and may always carry with him a piece of his "Rock God" status. I think now he seems to have found some stability, both in his career and in his personal life.
This was an informative book, an entertaining walk down memory lane and an introspective look into the private life of a rock star. For me, I admire his ability to try new things and to make mistakes. His career after Led Zeppelin was up and down, but he has had much more longevity than many other musicians of that era. I think some of that success comes from a willingness to take risk, and some of it goes back to all that confidence.
Yes, this book would appeal to all Led Zeppelin fans, and there are still many, many of you out there. But, Robert's career and life was so much more than just his work with Zeppelin.
Overall this one gets an A. ( )
  gpangel | Nov 14, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062281380, Hardcover)

Robert Plant by Paul Rees is the definitive biography of Led Zeppelin's legendary frontman. As lead singer for one of the biggest and most influential rock bands of all time—whose song "Stairway to Heaven" has been played more times on American radio than any other track—Robert Plant defined what it means to be a rock god.

Over the course of his twenty-year career, British music journalist and editor Paul Rees has interviewed such greats as Sir Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Bono, and AC/DC. Rees now offers a full portrait of Robert Plant for the first time, exploring the forces that shaped him, the ravaging highs and lows of the Zeppelin years—including his relationship with Jimmy Page and John Bonham—and his life as a solo artist today.

Illustrated with more than two dozen photographs, Robert Plant: A LIfe is the never-before-told story of a gifted, complicated music icon who changed the face of rock 'n' roll.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:59 -0400)

Robert Plant is a living legend. The front man of Led Zeppelin, one of the biggest and most influential rock bands of all time, Plant defined the very notion of what it means to be a rock god. The sheer scale of Led Zeppelin's success is extraordinary. In the United States alone they have sold seventy million records, a figure surpassed only by the Beatles, while "Stairway to Heaven," the band's most famous song, has been played more times on American radio than any other track and is frequently referred to as one of the greatest rock 'n' roll songs ever. But Robert Plant's legacy stretches far beyond Led Zeppelin. This biography is the story of the forces that shaped Plant: from his boyhood in England's Black Country to the ravaging highs and lows of the Zeppelin years; from his relationship with Jimmy Page and John Bonham to the solo career that today, at the age of sixty-two, has him producing some of the most acclaimed work of his career. The author, former editor of Q and Kerrang!, who has in the past interviewed Plant at length, paints a rich, complicated portrait of a man who was only nineteen when he changed the face of rock 'n' roll. This is the definitive story of a musical icon. -- From book jacket.… (more)

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