Robert Plant Recalls Early Rolling Stones Show as ‘Eye-Opener’
Years before he found success with Led Zeppelin, Plant was taken to see Mick Jagger’s band in the English West Midlands city of Wolverhampton when they were on the road with Little Richard and Bo Diddley.
“You probably may have realized that in my early history as a singer and a recording artist, and the adventures that I had in the music game, I was really drawn and obsessed by the music of Chicago and Mississippi and the Delta blues,” he told the BBC in a recent interview. “I think on the English music scene, one of the main forerunners and purveyors of this music bringing it to us as early teenage kids was the Rolling Stones.” He cited their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” as “just the beginning of their great career promoting and perhaps giving us inspiration for country blues and [the] blues of North America.”
Plant noted that, since he was based further north, he “didn't really know about the scene down in London too much.” “I did actually see the Stones," he said. "They did a theater tour with Bo Diddley and Little Richard, and it was the Rolling Stones' first-ever package tour. It was really an eye-opener – we were all leaning towards that music, but nobody really had it down. I think in those days the Stones were bringing the stone down the mountain, so that was really special.”
He also remembered another moment from the night that left him considering his own approach to music. “My auntie Gwen and uncle Stan took me there," he recalled. "And I saw Little Richard come out onstage towards the end of the show, and, obviously, he had a huge pompadour on top of his head. He was covered in lashings of makeup, and this great flurry of energy went past me. And I went, ‘Oh! OK.’”