Tag Archives: British Rock Bands

Robert Plant receives Commander of the British Empire Honor

 

Robert Plant with Prince Charles.

Robert Plant with Prince Charles.

  

(Photo by Johnny Green)
Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant , right, receives his CBE from Britain’s Prince Charles during the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London  on Friday, July 10, 2009.
Robert Plant Receives Commander of the British Empire Award.

Robert Plant Receives Commander of the British Empire Award.

Associated Press, July 10, 2009 — Robert Plant received a royal honor from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on Friday, putting the former Led Zeppelin front man one notch above his old band mate Jimmy Page.

But, Plant joked he and Page would not be fighting over rank, even though Plant’s new Commander of the British Empire is a higher honor than Page’s Order of the British Empire.

“If we can remember each other’s phone number at this time in life it’s a miracle,” he joked. “We’re still good friends, we both enjoy a rather dark sense of humor that comes, I think, from being from rather the wrong side of the tracks for all those wild years.”

Plant opted not to take part in a Led Zeppelin reunion tour last year, choosing instead to concentrate on his collaboration with American bluegrass singer Alison Krauss.

Also receiving the CBE on Friday was English actress Liz Smith, 87, who appeared on the British TV series “The Royle Family.”

Link to my earlier post on Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin, my favorite band.

Link to my earlier post on “Sir” Robert Plant.

 

 

Robert Plant with his children Logan, left, Carman and Jordan on the right.

Robert Plant with his children Logan, left, Carman and Jordan on the right.

Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant with his son Logan, left, daughter Carman and son Jordan, right, pose for a photograph with his CBE which he received from Britain’s Prince Charles during the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on Friday, July 10, 2009

 

 

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, History, Life, Music

“Sir” Robert Plant

 

Robert Plant.

Robert Plant.

I always knew that Robert Plant was an aristocrat among rock stars.  Now, it’s official.  Plant was honored today as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, according to Reuters News. I thought he’d been knighted, but not so.  See third comment below.  He can’t be called “Sir,” either, but if Elton John can be called “Sir,” certainly Robert can!

The Queen also granted awards to British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett and members of Britain‘s Beijing Olympics team, including a knighthood for triple cycling gold medallist Chris Hoy, Britain’s most successful Olympian at a single game in a century.

Plant, 60, is most famous for being the lead singer of rock band Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. I was lucky enough to see Led Zeppelin in 1970.

Plant has forged a successful career since Led Zeppelin‘s disbanded in 1980.  He reunited with surviving band members a couple of times for fund-raisers, including once in 2007.  Plant recently collaborated with singer Alison Krauss on the celebrated album “Raising Sand.”  I saw Plant and Krauss when they toured this year.  They were fantastic!  To find links to my posts about Plant, Krauss and Led Zeppelin, see below.  Click on the post headlines to see the photos, if they don’t appear at first.

Led Zeppelin in 1969 at the beginning of the band's career.

Led Zeppelin in 1969 at the beginning of the band's career.

The CBE honors are bestowed in the name of Queen Elizabeth II and are recommended by a panel that considers suggestions from British government departments and political parties as well as from members of the public, according to Reuters.

 

Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Robert Plant’s official webpage.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is explained here.

9 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, History, Life, Music, Personal, Random, Royalty

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant and T-Burnett (above) perform their encore at a concert at Starlight Theater in Kansas City on Tuesday, September 23.  They played “Don’t Knock,” “When the Levee Breaks,” “Killing the Blues” and “One Woman Man.” There are two more videos at the bottom.

In 1984, when Alison Krauss was thirteen, she won the fiddle championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, near where I grew up, and I’ve watched her from afar ever since.

This is the set list for the Krauss-Plant September 23, 2008, concert at Starlight. The concert didn't follow this list exactly, but it's close enough.

This is the set list for the Krauss-Plant September 23, 2008, concert at Starlight. The concert didn't follow this order exactly, but it's close enough.

Krauss is an extraordinary bluegrass violinist and singer.  She’s exquisite as her bow flies over her violin.  Her voice is high, rich and pure,  like crystal ringing.  She’s won 20 Grammy awards, more than any other female artist and is tied for seventh most won by any artist.

When she joined with Robert Plant on stage, it was incredible.  I’d already listened to my recording of their album “Raising Sand” scores of times.  They seem so in “tune” with each other in so many ways, maybe even smitten.  Plant kept giving her kisses.  The September 23rd concert was the first night of the second leg of their tour.  Plant said they’d been apart on stage for forty days.  He sounded like a lover being reunited with his beloved.

For those who might not be familiar with Krauss’ work, she performed on the soundtracks of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Cold Mountain.”  She isn’t splashed across the pages of magazines or chased by paparazzi the way a lot of no-talent celebrities are.  She simply performs like an angel, and we are raised to heaven by her musical gifts. 

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant.

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant.

To learn more about her go to about Alison Krauss.  Her official website is Alison Krauss.  She’s now touring with Robert Plant.  Go to his website at Robert Plant.  Krauss and Plant recently performed at a music festival in Austin, Texas.  You can read about it here: Hitting the Radar: A Festival Soars in Texas. For my post on Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin click here.  Robert Plant is my favorite musician…….

Below is a documentary about Krauss and Plant coming together to make “Raising Sand.” Below that is a video of Krauss and Plant performing Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore” at Starlight Theater on September 23, 2008.

Allison Krauss and Robert Plant play with T-Bone Burnett and his band at Starlight Theater in Kansas City.

Allison Krauss and Robert Plant play with T-Bone Burnett and his band at Starlight Theater on September 23, 2008, in Kansas City.

2 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Life, Music, Personal

Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (above) with T-Bone Burnett perform their version of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” at Starlight Theater in Kansas City on Tuesday, September 23.  At the bottom is Led Zeppelin’s version of “Black Dog” in 1973.

On August 20, 1970, in the last days before I headed off to college, some friends and I drove two hours to Oklahoma City to see Led Zeppelin at the State Fairgrounds Arena.  It was a long trip, but worth every mile.  (Although I didn’t do the driving.)  “Whole Lotta Love” was a hit by this time, but like the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin focused on the whole experience.  It wasn’t about one song.  The band members resisted releasing their music as singles and avoided television appearances, preferring that their fans experience the music as a total performance, which we were thrilled to be doing. 

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant at Starlight Theater in Kansas City.

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant at Starlight Theater in Kansas City.

I fell in love with Led Zeppelin in January 1969 when the first album was released.  It affected me the way no other music did before nor has since.  I’m definitely a Led Head.

I didn’t have enough money to buy the first album myself, so I split the cost with my sister.  I wisely decided to buy the second album (October 1969) on my own (with my meager earnings as a cashier at Mr. Steak) when I realized there might be a problem sharing the first album when I left for college.  I’ve bought every album since, then duplicated the same in compact discs and have purchased every other variation produced.  I’ve helped in my small way to make the Atlantic Recording Corporation very successful.

That Led Zeppelin’s history coincided with my formative years may have had a wee bit to do with my adoration. That band was the soundtrack to my young life.

Despite my enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin, it was never about the band members themselves. I didn’t pay attention to their antics or what they looked like.  When the band broke up in 1980 after the death of John Bonham, I followed Robert Plant’s career.

Led Zeppelin in 1969 at the beginning of the band's career.

Led Zeppelin in 1969 at the beginning of the band

At first, I was hoping Plant would continue the heavier sound of the band, but he was more whimsical, more lyrical, perhaps because he’s a singer.  Anyway, I was hooked.  I recognized in Plant’s work, despite the differences, the fusion of so many of the elements and musical styles that had made Led Zeppelin the biggest band in the world in the 1970s.  They played not just rock, but Celtic, Arabic, classical, reggae, blues, folk and country and a dozen other genres.

I’ve seen Robert Plant four times, including once with Jimmy Page and this latest concert with Alison Krauss.  Some critics were perplexed when Plant joined with Krauss, but I said: Hey, you don’t know Robert the way I do!  It’s totally Plant’s style to combine his own multifaceted work with Krauss’ country and bluegrass music.  At his concert with Krauss, he mused that he wasn’t sure what their musical fusion was called, but he said it was definitely “smokin’,” and he was right about that.  Plant is an amusing guy, too, and his witty comments are known as “plantations.”

Robert Plant.

Robert Plant.

Led Zeppelin reunited for a concert last year in England with John Bonham’s son Jason as the drummer and is planning a tour in 2009.  Robert Plant has made a statement that he won’t be the singer, however.  That’s crushing news.  If he changes his mind, I’M GONNA CRAWL for a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE even if I have to make a MISTY MOUNTAIN HOP on a STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN and even if it means GOING TO CALIFORNIA, because I’m just a LIVING LOVING MAID who would find it a HEARTBREAKER if I had a COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN and was a FOOL IN THE RAIN if I missed the show.  Remember fans, YOUR TIME IS GONNA COME because HOW MANY MORE TIMES can we be DAZED AND CONFUSED and find it TEN YEARS GONE, and we still haven’t seen the concert.  THANK YOU for letting me RAMBLE ON.

You can read the history of Led Zeppelin by clicking here and on Led Zeppelin’s official website.  Also for news of what Plant is up to, go to Robert Plant’s official website.  Maybe he’ll change his mind about not touring.

7 Comments

Filed under Entertainment, Humor, Life, Music, Personal, Random

The Rolling Stones

J.A. got these autographs for me.

My autographed photograph of The Rolling Stones.

I never win anything, I don’t collect autographs, and I usually don’t know anyone who can get me past security…..But the rock n’ roll stars were in alignment at least this one time in April 1999. (Ok, so it’s an old story.)

 The Rolling Stones were bringing their “No Security” tour to Kansas City, their first trip to town in ten years.  Friend and neighbor KG was organizing a group to go. 

We were excited. We actually knew someone who knew someone — our friends and neighbors, the As. Their son-in-law, B.F., was a back-up singer for The Rolling Stones. We’d seen the family photos with the Stones in the A’s kitchen. Grandkids on Stones’ laps.

Mrs. A. offered to get us backstage passes, but told us we were on our own for tickets. 

I didn’t want to pay $250 each.  There were cheaper tickets, but KG wanted the best.  I was planning to sit in the nosebleed section. I’m cheap, what can I say?

KG chided me, “Come on, just pay the money, when will you have this chance again?” 

I never win anything, but I won these tickets in a drawing at a department store.  I\'d told friends my husband and I didn\'t want to pay $250 each to go with them, but I was counting on winning tickets.  Amazingly, I did!

These tickets say they cost 0.00, but they were priceless!

I told KG I’d win tickets. A local department store was holding a contest for tickets. I’d enter. I’d win. Easy.

KG laughed: “You’re out of your mind.  You’ll be sorry.” 

You know, I never doubted I’d win. (Although I’ve had that feeling about contests before and since and didn’t win, but that makes a lousy story.) The day before the drawing, I remembered that I’d have to actually enter to win — wishful thinking alone doesn’t work — so I hurried to the store and dropped two entries into the box — one for me, one for my husband.  This was in the days before most contests were online.  Then I waited. 

KG asked: Did you get tickets yet? 

“No, but I will.”

“You’re delusional.”

A while later — it seemed like forever — someone from a New York office called to tell me I’d won two tickets. Actually, she told me that my husband’s entry had won, so now I had to twist his arm to take me.  Forms were FedExed, signed, notarized, FedExed.  I practically lived on my front porch one weekend, waiting.  There were deadlines that had to be met, or we’d lose out. I had no idea how complicated it was to win something. Finally the tickets arrived by FedEx.

On the concert’s eve, I was in KG’s kitchen, when we saw a long limousine pull into the A’s driveway.  Who was it? We took a walk, hoping we could catch a glimpse in the window of someone from the band.   We couldn’t see anything.  I felt like an idiot.  We laughed at ourselves.

When we got to Kemper Arena on the night of the concert, we pushed our way through the crowds to meet Mrs. A. in a large dining area — the band lounge.  But there was no band, of course.  A lot of people were eating and drinking.  We weren’t hungry so we passed on the refreshments. We didn’t recognize anyone.  We could hear the echo of the opening act, Jonny Lang.  We weren’t actually in the real back stage, but, hey, we had a pass! Still, I was sorry I had missed Lang. We were here to hear music, not watch people eat.

We hurried to the concert floor.  It was crowded, shoulder to shoulder. I could see Dr. A., in a suit and tie, and  Mrs. A., in a jacket and skirt, near the front in the crush of people.  At a break, Mick Jagger introduced B.F., who called out, “I love you, Mom and Dad.” 

Dr. and Mrs. A. had faithfully attended all of The Stones concerts when the band came to town, whether in Kansas City, in L.A., where the As had a home, or in Tokyo, where they had relatives, although Mrs. A. confided that it really wasn’t their kind of music. I think it grew on them, though, over time.

Twenty thousand fans were there, and I think they all squeezed onto the stage floor.  Who was left in the cheap seats?  Mick Jagger was electrifying as he pranced, pouted and shouted on the long stage!  What if I hadn’t won tickets?  I would have missed out.  It was an unforgettable, not-to-be repeated experience. Part of our exuberance was feeling a connection to our generation, resonating the patterns already imprinted in our brains since the days in 1965 when I first heard “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” at Dara’s birthday slumber party for all of the girls in the eighth grade at St. Mary’s.

The following week, Mrs. A asked us whether we wanted band autographs.  I said, “Sure.” A week later, I got the photo above, signed by Mick Jagger, Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts in gold ink.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, although I’m happy to have the photo. It’s been in a file drawer ever since, until I scanned it for art for this post.  I’ll have it archivally framed one of these days.

In August 2005 in Boston, my daughter’s boyfriend, R.H., worked on the crew to erect and then take down in Fenway Park what was one of the largest stages ever constructed for a rock concert.  The Rolling Stones were kicking off their “Bigger Bang” tour there on Aug. 21 for a two-night stand.  R.H., a college student and musician, was a lot more excited by the work than he was by the music which was not of  his era.  He was happy to climb to the top during the take-down.  He joked about seeing the members of the band hobbling off to their limousines. By the time R.H. had been born in 1984, the Stones had been making music for twenty years. 

R.H. and my daughter, L.L., are in a generation that seem to have infinite music choices.  They can find it anywhere.  Are there any bands that unite them, any common soundtrack to their lives?  They seem liberated by it.  They probably won’t be gathering twenty years from now in a huge stadium to re-visit the music of their youth.  Now, though, when I see their music “mixes”, I see as many songs from my youth as I do from theirs.  Too bad, the old dinosaurs of our age will be gone.

Our long-time colleagues, friends and neighbors got these passes for us.  Not much was going on backstage, but a lot of people eating and drinking while the opening act, Johnny Lang, was playing. No musicians were in sight!

We got into the band lounge where we saw a lot of people lounging and eating, but no Rolling Stones.

On a trip to Chicago in October 2006, my husband and I stayed in a hotel full of Rolling Stones fans, who were going to an outdoor concert at Soldier’s Field, still the same “Bigger Band” tour that had kicked off in Boston.   I was wistful. There were tickets left. Should we get some?  We’d come to Chicago to see the King Tut Exhibit at the Field Museum. I hadn’t even known about The Stones. The temperature had dropped into the teens. The wind was howling.  We watched from our hotel window as the crowds trudged toward the stadium, which we could see from our room.  I sighed.  The moment had passed. The next morning, the fans were enthusiastic. They’d made their own heat.  I rationalized that we couldn’t have recaptured that night in April long ago when everything came together.  But, except for the cold, I wish we would have gone.

5 Comments

Filed under Life, Music, Personal