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Jahfin

Pictures At Eleven Turns 30

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From All Things Music Plus:

Pictures at Eleven is the debut solo album by Robert Plant, released on this date in June 1982.

Led Zeppelin fans dazed from the 1980 death of drummer John Bonham and the breakup of the group shortly thereafter didn't have to wait long for Robert Plant's first solo album, 1982's Pictures at Eleven. Following in the more modern rock direction that Zep was headed on their final release In Through the Out Door, Pictures at Eleven remains one of Plant's best solo albums.

By downplaying his former band's penchant for stomping, guitar-based hard rock, Plant comes up with a pretty original sound and direction overall - as proven by such highlights as "Moonlight in Samosa," "Slowdancer," and "Burning Down One Side." Genesis drummer Phil Collins played drums for six of the album's eight songs. Ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell handled drums on "Slow Dancer" and "Like I've Never Been Gone".

Pictures at Eleven signaled the return of Robert Plant, who spent the rest of the 1980s issuing solid solo albums.

REVIEW by Mike DeGagne, allmusic

For his debut solo album, Robert Plant doesn't exactly succumb to everyone's expectations. With a less-potent vocal style, Plant manages to carry out most of the songs in smooth, stylish fashion while rocking out rather convincingly on a couple of others. He gets some pretty good help from guitarist Robbie Blunt, who truly comes to life on "Worse Than Detroit," and both Phil Collins and Cozy Powell give Plant enough of a solid background to lean his sultry yet surging rock voice against. Plant channels his energy quite effectively through songs like "Pledge Pin" and "Moonlight in Samosa," while the single "Burning Down One Side" is a creditable one, even though it failed to crack the Top 50 in both the U.K. and the U.S. The most apparent characteristic about the album's eight tracks is the fact that Plant is able to escape most of his past and still sound motivated. Without depending too much on his Led Zeppelin days, he courses a new direction without changing or disguising his distinct vocal style whatsoever. Pictures at Eleven peaked within the Top Five on both sides of the Atlantic, successfully launching Plant's solo career.

TRACKS

All songs written by Robert Plant and Robbie Blunt, except "Burning Down One Side," "Fat Lip," and "Far Post," written by Plant, Blunt and Jezz Woodroffe.

Side One

1. "Burning Down One Side" – 3:55

2. "Moonlight in Samosa" – 3:58

3. "Pledge Pin" – 4:01

4. "Slow Dancer" – 7:43

Side Two

1. "Worse Than Detroit" – 5:55

2. "Fat Lip" – 5:05

3. "Like I've Never Been Gone" – 5:56

4. "Mystery Title" – 5:16

2007 remaster CD - bonus tracks

* "Far Post" – 4:42

* "Like I've Never Been Gone" (live)

Edited by Jahfin

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I really enjoy this one too. I remember listening to it the first time...I was excited, yet sad. It really hit home that Zeppelin was gone, but was happy to have new music to listen to from my favorite vocalist.

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Wow, 30 years...

I remember I was working the night shift, and had to get up for school the next morning, but couldn't sleep. So I popped in my earphone and turned on the radio and they were doing a "new album play". I was listening, and I'm thinking "Boy, that Billy Squier sounds more and more like Plant all the time" and "if it's not Squier, then someone is severely imitating Zep". Then when they finished they said "this one just came in today, the new Robert Plant solo album."

Great stuff, really holds up well to the passage of time!

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......pivotal album for me personally -- yes there was a lot of grief still going on but this was the record that initiated my lift out of that sad place -- knowing robert like we do...well i think it's pretty cool how phil was such a huge factor in helping robert find his feet again and our intrepid hero has never looked back. i'm proud of his solo work yes all of it but i just love how it all began with pictures at eleven!

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Wow it is hard to believe that it has been 30 years ago. I waited on baited breath for anything from Plant or any member of the band after the Zep break-up, I was not disappointed. This still remains one of my favorites of his solo work. I had it on LP and cassette tape for the car. Oh Burning down one side .....love it.

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I remember having my dad drive me to the record store the day it came out so I could get it.

30 years - wow, I'm freakin' old. ;)

And I can say with total confidence that I have absolutely no idea what that video was about. I love that early '82-'84 MTV period. It's like some bizarre, surreal, wonderful aberration.

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And I can say with total confidence that I have absolutely no idea what that video was about. I love that early '82-'84 MTV period. It's like some bizarre, surreal, wonderful aberration.

Even though it gets more than a bit gossipy with some of the details, I'm really enjoying reading I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution as it provides the back story behind lots of the early (as well as latter day) videos that aired on MTV. The book concentrates solely on the years when MTV was known primarily as a music channel and ends just prior to The Real World and so-called "reality" programming taking off.

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Even though it gets more than a bit gossipy with some of the details, I'm really enjoying reading I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution as it provides the back story behind lots of the early (as well as latter day) videos that aired on MTV. The book concentrates solely on the years when MTV was known primarily as a music channel and ends just prior to The Real World and so-called "reality" programming taking off.

It is a good book all around. The Van Halen chapter is great & I'll never look at Dale Bozzio the same.

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Wow, has it really been 30 years? It seems like only yesterday. I remember playing this album on my direct drive Sony turntable through my giant Pioneer speakers....what glorious memories.

That turntable is long gone, but got a new one for Xmas, and this is going to make me get off my duff and finally get it hooked up. :)

To hear songs like this...Oh, Robert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4CjpBg-l7Q&feature=related

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It's an OK album - for what was the worst decade in the history of modern music.

Saw both his shows in Manchester on that tour and to be fair was really looking forward to them. But from memory It was a so-so affair. What was shocking though was when someone shouted "Stairway". I mean of course he was never going to play it, but his reaction was "Piss Off". A bit harsh I thought. He then rambled on about that was then and this is now - which I agree was a fair point. His attitude to the crowd, not his favourite city he will agree, was a bit, well rude and aloof. And towards the end of the show quite a few people had walked. If I had a tape player I could recall this, as I have the tapes from the show in excellent quality too. He constantly bemoaned the "Twisted Wheel" venue saying how bad it was "back in the day" - "worse than detroit". I think he used that link to introduce the song.

It didn't get any better for the second night which was a lacklustre affair. So much so that for the encore he walked back on stage, waved, and walked straight off. Reluctantly he came back on but by this time I'd done one and went for a beer in the pub next door.

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It's an OK album - for what was the worst decade in the history of modern music.

The worst decade in the history of modern music? Far from it. Maybe for people that only watched MTV and didn't venture beyond what was getting played on commercial radio (which was mainly a mirror of what was popular on MTV, especially after MTV took off). Just off the top of my head I can think of my favorite artists of that decade including (but not limited to) Stevie Ray Vaughan, R.E.M., the Replacements, U2, the Cure, X, Rank n' File, Lone Justice, XTC, the The Three O'Clock, Peter Tosh, the Itals, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Third World, the Blasters, Drivin' n' Cryin', Uncle Tupelo, the Gourds, the Long Ryders, Jason and the Scorchers, Guadalcanal Diary, the Connells, 10,000 Maniacs, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, World Party, Midnight Oil, Indigo Girls, etc. The list is nearly endless. Definitely one of the very best decades on record for music, ever. This was a time period that helped to give rise to college radio and therefore more and more artists were reaching a larger audience than ever before. There was also the diversity of the music itself: ska/twotone, blues, reggae, punk rock, alternative (before it was called that), country and western, the paisley underground, cowpunk, roots rock. There's not been anything quite like it since.

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The worst decade in the history of modern music? Far from it. Maybe for people that only watched MTV and didn't venture beyond what was getting played on commercial radio (which was mainly a mirror of what was popular on MTV, especially after MTV took off). Just off the top of my head I can think of my favorite artists of that decade including (but not limited to) Stevie Ray Vaughan, R.E.M., the Replacements, U2, the Cure, X, Rank n' File, Lone Justice, XTC, the The Three O'Clock, Peter Tosh, the Itals, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Third World, the Blasters, Drivin' n' Cryin', Uncle Tupelo, the Gourds, the Long Ryders, Jason and the Scorchers, Guadalcanal Diary, the Connells, 10,000 Maniacs, Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, World Party, Midnight Oil, Indigo Girls, etc. The list is nearly endless. Definitely one of the very best decades on record for music, ever. This was a time period that helped to give rise to college radio and therefore more and more artists were reaching a larger audience than ever before. There was also the diversity of the music itself: ska/twotone, blues, reggae, punk rock, alternative (before it was called that), country and western, the paisley underground, cowpunk, roots rock. There's not been anything quite like it since.

I agree with you mate there were a few from your list who I listened to - World Party I'lI agree- I have seen them live at least 3 times in the 80's. There are many in your list who I've never heard of and before you mention MTV, I don't recall MTV in my house in the eighties. It would have been on satellite which I'm afraid in the UK anyway, not many had then

Anyway The Buggles "Video Killed The Radio Star" was the first tune played on MTV. And on that note I rest my case.

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We didn't get cable TV until the 80's so MTV didn't play a very big part in the music I heard. I've also never put much stock in the whole "Video Killed the Radio Star" nonsense, probably because it didn't. Did music videos make an impact? Most certainly but I believe the effects of that have been overstated to the point of exaggeration. If one was a music fan (then, like now) you sought out music wherever you could find it: friends, record stores, magazines, radio, etc. The 80's tends to get a bad rap, especially on "classic rock" oriented boards like this where more often than not, many of the members are stuck in the past and extremely unreceptive to anything new or challenging. Not really all that surprising since the board is devoted to a band that for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist as a creative entity in 1980. I'm not saying that goes for everyone here but it's been my experience that it goes for the majority rather the minority of members here.

As for Pictures At Eleven, I think it stands up pretty well especially given the amount of time that has passed. Yes, there are some telltale signs of 80's production techniques here and there but otherwise I don't think it's a bad record at all. In regards to seeing Plant in concert during that time period, I can't speak to that as I didn't see him in concert for the first time until the Non Stop Go tour in '88 but I hate to hear you had a less than pleasurable experience.

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Well it's just as well you didn't see him on the Shaken n Stirred tour. I have posted about this before. The only good thing about that record was the end of it, and the tour was of any interest because of Richie Hayward.

I appreciate members are "Stuck in the past" but that ain't me man. I was a musical sponge from when I first heard my sisters Free "All Right Now" single in 1970. I was a classic rock man but that didn't stop me from seeing The Police in the seventies and Patti Smith in 1978 to The Del Fuegos or Roy Harper in the 80's. In my top ten gigs in my life I'll put Zero 7 and Orbital.

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Shaken n' Stirred is one of my favorite records by Plant. As for those that are stuck in the past or those that believe rock n' roll is "dead", I've never been one for that as I'm constantly seeking out new music and have never stopped doing so. Like I've said countless times, the train of thought that no good music was made after 1980 or that there is no good music currently being made are unique to boards such as this one. Good rock n' roll didn't stop being created just because Led Zeppelin came to an end in 1980.

Edited by Jahfin

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Shaken n' Stirred is one of my favorite records by Plant.

So I've just listened to a snippet of each track off that album - to get a feel. It is probably 27 years since I listened to it. Trouble Your Money and Sixes and Sevens sound passable but the rest sounds like eighties big hair shite. But hey I resect you for saying that "it is one of your favs". And your correct, good rock and roll didn't get being created after 1980 - look at Oasis :hysterical:

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So I've just listened to a snippet of each track off that album - to get a feel. It is probably 27 years since I listened to it. Trouble Your Money and Sixes and Sevens sound passable but the rest sounds like eighties big hair shite. But hey I resect you for saying that "it is one of your favs". And your correct, good rock and roll didn't get being created after 1980 - look at Oasis :hysterical:

Never have cared for Oasis a whole lot but I do love Ryan Adams' version of "Wonderwall". As for Shaken n' Stirred, I never revisited it until a few years ago when the Nine Lives box set came out. Lots of good stuff there as well as his more recent material. Some love to hate on that too but I'm not one of them. Plant and Zeppelin have led me down many other musical paths including blues, rockabilly and Tinariwen. Of course they alone weren't always responsible for that but their music and influences certainly played a part and continue to do so all these many years later.

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The first ten years of the 00's was also a great time for new music as is the present day. Nowadays with commercial radio pretty much being a corporate arm controlled by the likes of Clear Channel you have to explore other options to get your musical fix. With the advent of the internet and access to radio stations from around the world, that really isn't much of a problem. Add satellite radio in there as well as a means of being exposed to new music and you have even more options than before.

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make's me feel rather old, a very dip your toes type album!

Edited by Cecil.

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For me, "Slow Dancer" is THE song on Pictures At Eleven. I could have seen Led Zeppelin doing that one, easily.

For that matter, I don't know how many times I've played P@11 for people over the years and they automatically thought it was Zeppelin. On the whole it sounds pretty Zeppelinish to me, and a lot more convincing than when Robert conciously started aping Zeppelin on Now And Zen. I wasn't as impressed with The Principle Of Moments.

Deduct a point for Phil Collins just having to bring in his Roland Drum Machine for "Fat Lip", though. Otherwise Phil does a pretty good Bonham impersonation throughout the album.

Robbie Blunt kicks ass! Other than Jimmy, Blunt is easily the best guitarist Plant has worked with. Too bad that partnership fizzled after Shaken And Stirred. What's Mr Blunt doing these days, anyway?

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