Quite coincidentally, two of Robert Plant‘s post-Led Zeppelin solo albums, Spring 1985’s Shaken’n’Stirred and March 1990’s Manic Nirvana, are each marking significant anniversaries, so no better time to examine them via the impressive Nine Lives box set. It was Robert’s second solo album, 1983’s The Principle of Moments, which convinced us that Plant could sustain a viable solo career outside of the legendary Led Zeppelin with whom he fronted for twelve fabled years. Angular extended songs “In the Mood” and the cryptic “Big Log” became rock radio staples in the States, followed by “Little by Little” from Shaken and Stirred in 1985.
Not until 1988’s Now and Zen, however, did Plant shed the self-conscious shadow of Led Zeppelin by exorcising his ghosts with the song ” Tall Cool One”, brilliantly sampling the “thunder of the gods” iconic licks and employing Zeppelin mastermind Jimmy Page on guitar. “Heaven Knows” and “Ship of Fools” made Now and Zen a blockbuster, with “Hurting Kind” in 1990 from Manic Nirvana twenty-five years ago and the tender heartfelt “29 Palms” on Fate of Nations completing our visit with Robert Plant In the Studio for this classic rock interview.- Redbeard