American Music Awards
Plant Travels To 'Timbuktu' And Back
Hoping to capitalize further on the summer success of Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won" CD and the accompanying DVD "Led Zeppelin," Atlantic Records is releasing "Sixty Six to Timbuktu," a two-CDHoping to capitalize further on the summer success of Led Zeppelin's "How the West Was Won" CD and the accompanying DVD "Led Zeppelin," Atlantic Records is releasing "Sixty Six to Timbuktu," a two-CD solo collection from Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant.
Due Nov. 4, the 35-track set traces Plant's career, starting with his first solo single in 1966 through a live performance this year in Timbuktu. The first disc features material from his solo albums, but it's the second disc that will grab fans' attention: It is full of rarities, bonus tracks, his work with pre-Zeppelin groups Listen and the Band Of Joy and side projects like "Philadelphia Baby," recorded under the Crawling Kingsnakes moniker, a one-off that included Dave Edmunds and Phil Collins.
The idea for the compilation was born as Plant was culling through tapes for the Zeppelin set, he tells Billboard in an exclusive interview for the Oct. 11, 2003, issue. "I was finding all this Led Zeppelin stuff, and I said, 'Wait a minute, this stuff of mine is really great," he reveals. "It's lively and springy and would tell people the kind of person that I am. This is not the God of Thunder -- this is a guy who has a good time."
Indeed, the set reveals a side that those only familiar with his Zeppelin work wouldn't know or expect, including a dreamy, crooning Plant on 1967's "Our Song." "Once upon a time when I was a boy, I found this gift of singing, and I did not know which way to take it," he says. "When I cut my first sides in 1966, I was 17 years old. I was so made up. I just couldn't believe my luck. I was telling all my friends I was going to be the greatest singer. It was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but perseverance counts for a lot."
Although the resurgence of interest in Zeppelin has reignited stories of Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones being offered millions of dollars to reunite for a Led Zeppelin tour, Plant says, "I haven't been offered a dime." But then he adds, "That's because I've told the people who have the opportunity [to talk to me about it] that I don't want to hear anything about it. I told them ages ago: It's not an issue."
However, he doesn't rule out the three surviving members getting together again, as long as it is for something new. "If John Paul, Jimmy and I play again, it has got to be a little more than 'Black Dog' every night. I left that big-time epicenter a long time ago."
As for the success of the DVD and "West," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200, Plant says, "it thrills me," but that the footage reminds him of the passage of time. "[Led Zeppelin] was a young band," he says. "It was all over by the time I was 31. When I think about people who are 31 now, they're just learning to tie their shoelaces."