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(UK: Independent Music Press, 2008; 240 pages, PB. ISBN: 978-0955282270)
Robert Plant is a genuine rock legend. The tumultuous but endlessly fascinating tale of Led Zeppelin is central to his life, but that twelve-year period ended with the sad and premature death of drummer John "Bonzo" Bonham in 1980; in the twenty-five years since, Plant has been recording new music almost constantly. For the first time, his solo years - famously working with his former Led Zep cohort Jimmy Page, numerous guest appearances and his own material - are covered in depth. This complete rock biography reveals how he teamed up with Jimmy Page in 1994 only to see their two-album partnership come to an abrupt and controversial end in 1998 and Plant's earliest and ongoing influences and passions such as Southern American blues and classic fifties R&B. Neil Daniels' also delves into the likes of his revered solo album Dreamland, consisting of a relatively obscure batch of cover songs and places Plant's later work in the wider context of both Led Zep's own legacy and the broader history of modern music. Full up to date, covering his latest album Raising Sand with the revered bluegrass singer Alison Krauss and the highly-publicised Led Zeppelin reunion in December, 2007, this is the compelling story of an enthusiastic young kid from the West Midlands who belied his humble blues roots and defied his stern parents by becoming one of the world's most recognisable and iconic rock superstars.
"Daniels has done a good job on a tricky subject here for Plant is not a simple man and is certainly not a subject matter for the feint of heart ... it's a bloody good read. Job done."
Sion Smith – Blood & Honey (www.bloodandhoney.co.uk)
"... well researched and well-written description of the man once described as The Golden God ... Most interesting are Daniels insights to the Honeydrippers and other side projects that Plant has been a part of. The in-depth descriptions into each solo album are fascinating as well."
Jeb Wright – Classic Rock Revisited (www.classicrockrevisited.com)
"With Plant and Zeppelin big in the news, this is a well timed tome...there's a great deal of info here for the seasoned and not so seasoned fan...The post Zeppelin pages will be of great interest, as Plant has kept very active (both recording and performing), and although he has been regularly interviewed, it's good to have all this history in one place."
Joe Geesin – Get Ready To Rock (www.getreadytorock.com)
"Neil Daniels has done a great job with this biography; don't let the fact that it is an unofficial one put you off. If he had been able to secure interviews with Robert the book would have been a killer but for now the new comments that he has secured and the quotes from various publications and Internet sites will have to do ... For now however Daniels' book should be seen as the most comprehensive written on Robert Plant that is currently available and I guarantee there will be things in this book that even the most dedicated Zeppelin/Plant fan will not have known about till now."
Al Hey – Hard Rock House (www.hardrockhouse.com)
"Primarily, this is a pretty straight laced chronicle of the recording life of Robert Plant. There's plenty of quotes from magazines, websites and various musicians, and the whole thing has obviously been meticulously researched."
Alan Holloway – Rock United (www.rockunited.com)
"You can't fault Neil Daniels. Although books on Led Zeppelin are legion, he alone noticed that there's no definitive biography of their famous frontman, Robert 'Percy' Plant. And although his book is unauthorised and unofficial, he hasn't let lack of access to the golden god himself cramp his style ... It's one of those books that's been painstakingly researched, covering Plant's whole story – from boyhood to deification and beyond ... As such, it's a great resource: full of facts, figures and anecdotes from the kinds of friends and acquaintances even Plant's probably forgotten he had."
Clare O' Brien – Subba-Cultcha (www.subba-cultcha.com)
"Ranging from his domination in the 'Brum Beat' scene of the Midlands during the 1960s, his time in Led Zeppelin, and his time as a solo artist the book explore Plant's struggles and successes. It is a valuable resource for Plant fans who will enjoy reading [about] his career achievements."
Suzanne T – Black Velvet
"...a fine job...profiling the high-pitched troubadour in great detail."
Joel McIver – Classic Rock: Led Zeppelin Special
"It's well known that Plant is a very intelligent and complex character, with very few people getting close enough to really understand what makes him tick. Nevertheless, I'm sure there are a lot of things in this book that even the most fervent fans didn't know, and until Plant decides to write a warts and all autobiography, this is as close to understanding the artist and the man as we'll probably get."
Phil Ashcroft – Fireworks
"...the pages are so fact-crammed that you will undoutedly learn something about Percy ... The book also has a curious appendicies exploring – among other things – Plant's interest in folklore and mythology."
James McNair – Mojo
"The book closes with appendices that cover everything you could ever wish to know about Robert Plant ... With this book we get an insight into the trails and tribulations and the tears and laughter that actually goes into making the music we've come to adore."
Allan Bannerman – Powerplay
"...startlingly up-to-date – As an overview of what Plant did and when ... is useful for reference ..."
William Pinfold – Record Collector
"Following the life journey of legendary frontman Robert Plant, delving into his childhood, examing relationships, and following the rise of one the most influential vocalists of our time, this tome is ... a 'review' of Plant's life."
Ronnie Kerswell – Rock Sound
"...Daniels here focuses on a portrait of the man as an artist...The ardent fan may already be well versed but the casual reader will surrely come away with new found respect, if not a determination to investigate Plant's diverse solo catalogue...'
Stu Gibson – Rock 'n' Reel
"What you get here is a fairly comprehensive chronology of Robert's career...a handy research file."
Dave Lewis – Tight But Loose
"It kept me turning the pages (and I know the ending!) and I thought it was a great read..."
John Tucker – Author (www.johntuckeronline.com)
I have just read your book on Robert Plant and I can provide you with some information about his early years.
I attended King Edward VI Grammar school in Stourbridge and Robert was a year above me.
You state that he lived in Kidderminster and several books seem to state this. The most recent one I have read is the Richard Cole book and he says Kidderminster but certainly in his teenage years he lived in Halesowen. I knew him to talk to and frequently travelled on the same bus when I was 13-15.
I had 2 possible routes to and from school by bus either into the centre of Halesowen or going via Hagley. It depended on both times of buses and where the girls were that I had an interest in. It was usually on the return route through Hagley when I used to talk to him.
Robert lived on Causey Farm Road in Hayley Green which is a suburb of Halesowen about 2 miles from the centre heading out towards Kidderminster. I lived about a mile away.
I used to play cricket in my teens and one of the members at the cricket club lived next door to the Plants and used to complain about the "long haired louts".
A friend of mine now lives at 55 Causey Farm Road and he says the Plants used to live quite close to where he lives.
I can not confirm at what age he moved there. I am certain that he did not go to the same junior school as me which was in Hasbury which is the next district to Hayley Green heading towards the town centre. I do know that they were a Catholic family as Robert and a few others were excused attending the morning assembly at school and used to come in after the short service to hear any announcements. I have a vague recollection that he went to the Roman Catholic junior school in Hagley which is a couple of miles from Halesowen on the way towards Kidderminster but I may be wrong on that.
I do still have the school photograph with Robert on.
There was another boy at the school Malcolm Plant who lived near the centre of Halesowen and I think he was a cousin.
I knew about his interest in the blues and his early singles but did not know what had happened to him until I went to see the New Yardbirds at Liverpool University. We had gone along expecting to hear the Yardbirds' hits but what we got was the material from the first Led Zeppelin album. I spent the evening trying to work out if it was Robert singing with the band.
I believe that this was the last gig they played as the New Yardbirds and changed the name the following day to Led Zeppelin.
I note on page 56 that it refers to Led Zeppelin playing with Blodwyn Pig at Mothers in Birmingham in March 1969. They toured with Blodwyn Pig and the Liverpool Scene a few months later and I saw the tour at Birmingham Town Hall on 13 June 1969. The memories are a bit vague after 40 years but it was one of the best concerts I have been to as there were 3 good bands and I had seen both Blodwyn Pig and the Liverpool Scene before that concert and were both bands that I liked.
You also refer to his farm nestling on the Welsh border. Wolverley is a good 30 miles from the Welsh border.
There is a private school in Wolverley and a friend sent her 3 children there. She did some teaching there a few years ago (cannot recall exactly but some time this century) and she taught his youngest son.
I trust you find the above to be of interest
I picked your book up in Waterstones today and nearly bought it!
I quickly turned to the pages where you mention "Priory of Brion", read that the first gig was on Bewdley Tennis Court, and decided not to buy it due to it possibly containing more inaccuracies!!
However, upon reflection, and checking out your website, this is most unfair of me. I will no doubt buy a copy within the next couple of days.
As a matter of interest, the first gig by "Priory of Brion" was during the interval of my band's gig at Bewdley High School. Robert played tennis briefly at Bewdley Tennis Club, and organised a few fund raising gigs using my band, plus a comedian etc. I won't bore you with too much detail!
Have a look at my website http://www.bevpegg.co.uk There are a few pictures in the "Gallery Section" of Robert at various gigs (including a Bewdley High School one) with me.
I saw Led Zep at Earl's Court as a sixth former so I will soon join the ranks of the old farts!
I must say that I really enjoyed your book on Robert Plant. I certainly am not a fan of a lot of Rock but I will be recommending your book to everyone. I am a great fan of graphic novels also and will be looking at your alan moore article soon
(The best email I've ever had! Brilliant!)
This is the worst book I have ever read. You cobbed this together to cash in on the O2 fever. You obviously know NOTHING about R.P. OR led zeppelin. You are a fraud and a thief for taking peoples money for this CRAP. Film Studies indeed. Stick to that, because you are not an author. Just a fucking WANKER!!!!!!!!