We all need role models. Some people out there are doing it right.
It was the Christmas of 1969, the end of the 60’s and the beginning of my teenage years. Dad’s present to the family was a RCA High Fidelity Stereo with the new Omnidirectional speakers!!! We each got to pick one album for our present. My choice, and my very first rock album: Led Zeppelin II. Presents opened, components plugged in, I probably had to listen to the Percy Faith Orchestra Living Stereo album or some such thing first, then my turn; the needle hit the vinyl, Track 1, Side 1, Jimmy Page’s pulse and Robert Plant’s shriek “You neeeeeed cooooooooling. . . .” This is why they said rock was evil; Whole Lotta Love, indeed. Welcome to a new world.
But the ‘70’s became the ‘80s and the ‘90s, “Classic Rock” became the pabulum of our generation, and most bands dyed their hair, hit the Casino Circuit, and broke all records for how many times you can play the same song without losing your mind (or your audience).
But not Led. And certainly not Robert Plant. When John Bonham died, the band stopped. But Robert did not. Through a series of albums and performances, he has continuously explored what’s on his mind, and resisted the call to play what are now historical set pieces (I know, with one exception, the 2007 Celebration Day concert, which, I believe, gave us the band’s greatest live performance ever with that version of “Kashmir.” But I digress).
Robert Plant has had the courage to get older without getting old. Listen to his last two albums, 2014’s “Lullaby and. . . The Ceaseless Roar” and 2017’s “Carry Fire.” An adult, speaking to adults, on the hopes and feelings of an adult. New melodies! New ideas! Speaking to me today with the same passion that tore up the house on that Christmas morning on the other side of my life.
Better yet, look at the man! Almost alone among his peers, he has had to courage to unabashedly wear his years for all to see. Here is a man who is truly a fine wine, sharing his wisdom and maturity without camouflaging his years on this earth.
How wonderful to see someone who could be anything being himself. We all need role models.
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