Robert Plant Recalls ‘Daunting’ Moment He Joined Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page had formed the group as the New Yardbirds with fellow session musician John Paul Jones and rounded out the lineup with Plant and John Bonham, who’d already worked together in the Crawling King Snakes and Band of Joy in the West Midlands of England.
In the latest episode of the BBC’s long-running Desert Island Discs radio show, Plant noted that "Bonham and I were coming from the Black Country. We were big fish there, but we were suddenly alongside John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page, who were really seriously accomplished, far more mature and pretty well versed in all the different elements of melody and construction and stuff like that.
"So it was kind of daunting in a way. Although I really wanted to be around excellence, when I came head-to-head with it, I was really kind of intimidated."
He described the band’s first rehearsal as “overwhelming,” adding that "it was like all the doors and windows in the house of cards were open. We just blew right through the walls of the cellar and right through the world." He went on to credit Bonham’s “kindness” in helping him deal with the death of his son Karac in 1977, and admitted he couldn’t listen to Led Zeppelin music in the time following Bonham’s death in 1980.
“I drove down with him on the day of the rehearsal, and I drove back without him,” Plant remembered, adding that he loved the drummer “desperately.” "“For days and weeks I never got anywhere close to listening to the past, and then suddenly I turned a corner, and in the middle of it all, I found myself absolutely glued to a piece of music that I was partly responsible for," he said. "I am absolutely beside myself with pride at being able to be amongst that huge mind bomb that was the creativity of the group.”