Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and Bluegrass extraordinaire Alison Krauss are both verified icons in their own rights, confirmed not only by the staggering amount of prestigious awards the pair have accumulated singularly and together over the past 50 years but perhaps more importantly, the list genre-spanning list of classic, soundtrack-to-life hits the duo have gifted pop culture over the decades.
In 2007, the Plant and Krauss released a collaborative LP Raising Sand, a surprise sales smash, earning the duo six Grammys, including the top two prizes, Record and Album of the Year. And while equally surprising was the fact that the eminent pair seemed in no rush to follow up this monster, we've recently learned that good things truly do come to those who wait!
Now, 14 years on, the pair have announced a brand new joint album, Raise the Roof is set to arrive on November 19th (pre-order, here). With the news, came the unveiling of the first single from the collection, Can’t Let Go, a track originally released on Lucinda Williams’ classic 1998 album, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road album. Listen closely to hear Williams herself contributing backing vocals on the recording.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss | Can't Let Go
In anticipation of the release of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' upcoming LP Raise the Roof, we’re revisiting seven iconic works, released by the master artists over the past 50 years, below.
Led Zeppelin | Whole Lotta Love
It’s pretty much impossible to talk about Robert Plant without mentioning his glorious debut on the world stage, fronting one of the most quintessential rock acts of all time – Led Zeppelin. At the height of the peace and love era, the band unleashed their insubordinate guitar-driven sound and glam aesthetic on an unexpected audience, standing as a precursor to the hard rock and heavy metal bands that would dominate the 80s.
Whole Lotta Love is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Led Zeppelin’s rock and roll legacy, but it exemplifies the band’s mythical ability to articulate never before seen heaviness with confidence and swagger, delivered in a masterfully arranged pop song that made teenage girls melt. Robert Plant makes it look so easy, but in truth, he’s more to less reinventing the musical wheel in this trailblazing clip from 1969.
Robert Plant | Big Log
With the arrival of the 1980s, Plant struck out on a solo career. Starting with his debut LP Pictures at Eleven, he took a sharp departure from Led Zepp's hard rock origins with a collection of soulful, bluesy, almost country-twinged cuts. Big Log was the lead single from Plant’s 1983 follow-up LP, The Principle of Moments that landed the singer with his first Top 40 solo hit.
Fun fact: Genesis drummer Phil Collins played drums for many of the tracks on both Pictures at Eleven and The Principle of Moments, with former Jethro Tull drummer Barriemore Barlow stepping behind the kit for the remainder.
Robert Plant | Ship of Fools
1988’s Now And Zen LP marked yet another turning point for Plant, consolidating his rocksteady past with a more introspective present. On a technical level, this dynamic ballad cements Plants place among the vocal masters, demonstrating exquisite vocal restrain that emotionally twists and turns the song at will.
Alison Krauss could be described, without exaggeration, as a prodigy. The bluegrass-country singer and musician was a standout child star, winning local contests by the age of 10 and getting comfortable in the recording studio by the time she was 14. She started performing with her longtime band Union Station in the late 1980s – a musical union still going strong – and appeared has on numerous soundtracks over the years. Krauss was the second youngest Grammy winner of all time when she took home her first award in 1991, and these days, with 27 wins from 42 nominations to her name, the singer sits fourth behind Beyoncé for most Grammy Award wins overall.
Alison Krauss | When You Say Nothing At All
In 1995, Alison Krauss and Union Station released a cover of the 1988 Keith Whitley single, When You Say Nothing At All that surprised everyone, perhaps none more than the singer herself, when it became a radio hit. Despite amassing a dedicated following on the country circuit, the band were yet to crack the country charts – until When You Say Nothing At All peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
Krauss expressed her surprise in a 1995 interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying: "It's a freak thing. It's kinda ticklin' us all. We haven't had anything really chart before. At all. Isn't it funny though? We don't know what's goin' on...The office said, 'Hey, it's charting,' and we're like, 'Huh?'"
Alison Krauss & John Waite | Missing You
Missing You was originally released by UK singer John Waite in 1984. While on the road, soaking up the twang of his once hometown of Nashville, he called up Krauss to see if she could’s be interested in recording a duet of the number one hit with him. According to Waite, she said: “‘I’ll be there at 2.’ She’s friendly, kind, generous — one of my favourite people in the world.”
This iconic duet kickstarted is even rumoured to have ignited a long-term romance between the pair…
In 2007, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ debut joint LP, Raising Sand crushed all expectations, garnering widespread critical acclaim and selling over two million copies worldwide. The album also won the pair six Grammy Awards including the coveted, Album of the Year.
Let’s remember the two official music videos that arrived with the seminal album back in 2007, starting with the heartrending ballad, Please Read the Letter.
Robert Plant, Alison Krauss | Please Read the Letter
Follow-up single, Gone Gone Gone which, interestingly enough, expresses a very similar sentiment from a very different perspective. Sitting somewhere between a spy theme and rockabilly classic, this upbeat swinger celebrates newfound freedom from a lover who has done you wrong.
Robert Plant, Alison Krauss | Gone Gone Gone
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ brand new upcoming album, Raise the Roof features twelve new recordings of songs by classic legends and cult heroes, including Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, The Everly Brothers, Anne Briggs, Geeshie Wiley, Bert Jansch and more. Other highlights include the Plant-Burnett original, High and Lonesome, and the Lucinda Williams classic Can’t Let Go (above).
“We wanted it to move,” Krauss said in a statement announcing the record. “We brought other people in, other personalities within the band, and coming back together again in the studio brought a new intimacy to the harmonies.”
“You hear something and you go ‘Man, listen to that song, we got to sing that song!’” added Plant. “It’s a vacation, really—the perfect place to go that you least expected to find.”
Raise the Roof arrives November 19th. Stream the first single and pre-order below.
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