Robert Plant is Not Retiring Any Time Soon: “There’s Always Something New to Learn”

Robert Plant has no plans to retire from music. In a recent interview, the 73-year-old former Led Zeppelin frontman, who just released Raise the Roof, his second collaborative album with Alison Krauss, said he doesn’t have plans to stop making music any time soon.

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“I was 19 on the first Led Zeppelin rehearsals, and I was 32 when [drummer] John [Bonham] passed away that awful time,” said Plant. “People used to say to me, ‘Well, you must have done enough now?’ Enough of fucking what? ‘Enough to retire.’” He added, “So imagine the blessing to be 40 years further down the road, and I still don’t know enough to stop in any respect.”

Plant said he’s still learning, and when it comes to harmonizing, something he didn’t put much focus on from his days in Zeppelin days, he jumped at the chance to get coached by Krauss to better compliment her vocals.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Photo: David McClister)

“As an English singer, I usually reach for the normal pop, rock stuff that I might have done with Zep on ‘Thank You’ or ‘Little Drops Of Rain,’ but Alison comes from a different world,” said Plant. “She is always at pains to tell me that while I was flying my kite in the back of a van she was seven years into fiddle competitions. She never went to prom because she was in the corner harmonizing when I was already becoming a rock and roll cliche at a very early age.”

He added, “She coaches me and gives me alternatives to bolster her vocal. She hears the way you can embellish a melody. I was learning all that Chitlin’ Circuit phrasing in the mid-’60s, so I never knew about strict melodies. I was very happy to put myself into the position of being a student to see if I could do it.”

Plant released his eleventh solo album, Carry Fire in 2017 and toured with his band the Sensational Space Shifters in 2018. Krauss and Plant first collaborated in 2007 with their debut Raising Sand, produced by T Bone Burnett, who also worked with the pair on Raise the Roof. 

“There’s always something new to learn, somewhere new to take it,” said Plant. “I love it.”

Photo by Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

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