Why did Robert Plant lose his voice?
AdrianD Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 103
edited January 2014 in Vocal Health and Wellness
Just curious if anyone knows why/how Robert Plant lost his vocal range? Ken said he was quite pharyngally spread all the time in a webinar I had watched.
I saw Led Zeppelin live 3 times. Each time an explanation was given, "Oh, you should have been there last night!" and supposedly Robert had blown his voice out on the high parts of all of the songs in the previous night's performance. Out of three live performances I saw back in their heyday, he could barely hit ANY of his high notes, the ones you were waiting for him to hit. .
It was evident from their 3-piece (instrumentally) live sound that they could never match their album overdubs. Don't get me wrong, they were still a very powerful band, but the sound of their albums depended heavily on studio layering of tracks. Bonham and Page's solos were dynamite, and they were the epitome of the phrase "not bad for a 3-piece". In order to compensate for the lack of filler, they would play the entire concert at the sound pressure level of a 747 taking off inside the arena.
That said, Plant's current level of his voice is much less robust than it was even when I saw him with a "blown"" voice from the "night before". The moment above at 55:00 to 55:20 doesn't make up for the 55 minutes leading up to it and the time after. Nothing against Robert, he's a great artist and was once a powerful singer with a huge range. If he had taken better care of his voice and his body, he could still have a good chunk of his old voice to this day. Let that be an encouragement to us all to listen to Ken and avoid the temptations of strain and vocal abuse.
You want to be able to sing for as long as you live!
Listen to him here.
What a difference a year makes:
Highmtn, given that you said Plant's voice was bad everytime you heard them, I'm wondering if your first Zeppelin concert was '73 or later. By then Plant's voice was toast.
There was another big change for their last studio album, in through the out door. (check knebworth live 1979 as well), this era lasted till about 1985. It's characterized by an almost shouty rasp but very very pingy. Its kinda my favorite era of plant, its not all over the place but still very tonally powerful. Check out this from 1981 https://youtube.com/watch?v=QibiJtk10s8
Then something massive happened again, (perhaps on the 1985 tour) that would change his voice forever and its been pretty much the same more or less since then. Basically he started sounding breathy and old. Lost his ping, and couldnt bring his tone forward- as if his vocal folds couldnt close. I always wondered what exactly happened in between the Principle of moments (1984) album and Now and Zen (1987). Maybe someone here can guess whats going on?
Check out how much his voice changed from 1984
Now ive seen Robert hit all the right notes in some page and plant shows in the 90's but that isnt really the issue, the timbre of his voice is just very different.