Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant will release his first studio album in nine years, “Head First,” internationally in July via Universal, according to reports. Although a spokesperson for longtime Plant label Atlantic had no information on U.S. release details, a Universal release of the set would mark the end of the artists’s career-long association with Atlantic, which issued all of his releases with Led Zeppelin and as a solo artist. Universal did not return a call seeking comment at deadline.
Plant is backed on “Head First” by his touring band, the Strange Sensations, which features guitarist Porl Johnson, who was a member of the Cure from 1985-1993, until he left that band to join the Jimmy Page/Robert Plant touring lineup. Also in the band is guitarist Justin Adams (Jah Wobble), keyboardist John Baggot (Portishead), drummer Clive Dreamer (Portishead, Roni Size), and bassist Charlie Jones, who toured with Page/Plant, and played on Plant’s 1990 album “Manic Nirvana.”
The album features “intimate interpretations of some of Robert’s favorite songs,” including “Morning Dew” (popularized by Jeff Beck and Tim Hardin), the Jimi Hendrix staple “Hey Joe,” and Tim Buckley’s “Song of the Siren.” The first single will be “Darkness.”
“Obviously, these are different days,” Plant told Billboard.com about the album last May. “This is not ‘Physical Graffiti’ that’s coming up. But that’s O.K. I understand exactly where things are, and I don’t have any illusions or delusions.” The set is Plant’s first since 1993’s “Fate of Nations,” which debuted at No. 34 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 411,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan. It spawned the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart hits “Calling To You” (No. 3), “29 Palms” (No. 4), and “I Believe” (No. 9).
As previously reported, Plant will open a month’s worth of dates on the Who’s summer U.S. tour, beginning July 26 in Mansfield, Mass. He will also make a previously announced June 3 appearance at the U.K.’s revived Isle of Wight Festival, as well two late May warm-up dates in Bangor and Liverpool.
Here are Robert Plant’s tour dates:
May 30: Bangor, Wales (Bangor University)
May 31: Liverpool, England (Liverpool University)
June 3: Isle of Wight, England (Isle of Wight Festival)
July 26: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center, w/ the Who)
July 27: Camden, N.J. (Tweeter Center, w/ the Who)
July 29: Hershey, Pa. (Hersheypark Stadium, w/ the Who)
July 31, Aug. 1, 3-4: New York (Madison Square Garden, w/ the Who)
Aug. 23: Auburn Hills, Mich. (Palace of Auburn Hills, w/ the Who)
Aug. 24: Tinley Park, Ill. (Tweeter Center, w/ the Who)
Aug. 25: Noblesville, Ind. (Verizon Wireless Music Center, w/ the Who)
Aug. 27: Grand Rapids, Mich. (Van Andel Arena, w/ the Who)
Aug. 28: Columbus, Ohio (Polaris Amphitheatre, w/ the Who)
Aug. 30: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center, w/ the Who)
Aug. 31: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach, w/ the Who)