Robert Plant Shared the Secrets Behind His Led Zeppelin Stage Presence

It's more self-effacing than you'd think

Led Zeppelin
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin performs on stage at Earl's Court, London, May 1975.
Michael Putland/Getty Images

If you look at enough photos of Led Zeppelin during their heyday, you might begin to realize something: Robert Plant is likely the platonic ideal of a rock and roll singer. (That he is also, literally, the singer of “Rock and Roll” is further evidence of this.) Some of that comes from Plant’s physical presence and some comes from his substantial vocal chops, of course. But there’s also the way he handled the microphone in those days — an oddly tantalizing, visceral approach to one of the tools of his trade.

Turns out much of that iconic stance happened accidentally.

In a recent interview, Plant offered some insight into how his stage presence evolved. As Ultimate Classic Rock noted, Plant offered this insight on the podcast Digging Deep. When asked about his tendency to arch his back when singing, Plant provided a somewhat self-effacing explanation: “I often did it like that because I didn’t really know whether I could hit the right peckin’ note!”

This also applied to the moments when he seemed to keep his micrphone at a distance from his face. “I’ll go as far away from the microphone just in case it’s not very good!” he explained. “Because you don’t know sometimes.” It’s a surprisingly pragmatic take on fronting a rock band from a musician who made his name on songs that are as far from pragmatic as one can get. But it’s also a fascinating look into Plant’s psyche, then and now.

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