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Big Klu

Pinpointing the gig when Plant lost it (the wailing)

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I think a 2nd breakdown in his voice occured around 1988. That's when it became difficult for him to hold a steady note without falling into a vibrato. So his melodies seem to be constant portamento like a trombone, almost talky, kind of whiney, never really staying on a note long enough to quantify as a note.

Some of his better known solo songs like Ship of Fools, 29 Palms, etc... suffer from this affectation and it hit a dubious zenith by Walking into Clarksdale.

It's not really clear to me what's going on because he can pull it together when he wants to. But maybe it physically hurts for him to do this, so that when he is left to his own devices, he too often takes the easy road out and nobody is around him willing to tell him it doesn't sound good.

Oct 72 was the month he lost it. he really struggles through that budokan gig instead of handling notes with impunity. did he become a better singer? to be honest, I think plant had peaked by houses of the holy as a vocal gymnast. he squeezed out whatever else he had by physical graffiti - notes wise. in terms of being a musician - he's never stopped trying to reach different boundaries, but i believe most of his problems were a lack of training, probably too much touring at one point, and psychological barriers.

how else could you explain hitting / screaming the notes of rock and roll during the page plant tour more than 20 years after not hitting the notes. and being able to almost hit the notes of stairway to heaven in the 1980 tour after so many years...the voice was there in many ways, but the psyche had blocks.

i think ship of fools is a nice track. plant's done it all really, it's just that he was absolutely superhuman in the days of early zep and that's way too hard to keep up. houses of the holy was his vocal peak for me in many ways - as many said, he was singing, not screeching, and he continued to do different things with his voice. if he'd been able to maintain his early 72 voice - the repertoire would've continued with less issues.

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Studio-wise he definitely lost it on HoTH. Thats the first album where theres studio effects all over his voice and he has this whiny thing going on. TSRTS, the track is almost like he's helium.

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Studio-wise he definitely lost it on HoTH. Thats the first album where theres studio effects all over his voice and he has this whiny thing going on. TSRTS, the track is almost like he's helium.

yeah they sped up his vocals to achieve that. He sounds like Plant of old on OTHAFA to me though

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Studio-wise he definitely lost it on HoTH. Thats the first album where theres studio effects all over his voice and he has this whiny thing going on. TSRTS, the track is almost like he's helium.

Is that a product of his decline or the generally overproduced nature of the album though?

The sense I get is that he started to scale back his performances during the US 71 tour, the first LA showfrom is the last time I can remember hearing him really go for everything rather than just pushing it here and there.

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This topic is somewhat interesting, but silly and pointless at the same time. It is virtually impossible to pinpoint such an event, but I will play along and toss in my 2 cents. As we all know, a vocalist’s performance is subject to multiple elements during every performance that effect his performance, including, but not limited to, age, illness, smoking, lack of sleep, drugs, lack training (control), key, venue, mixing, etc. the list is endless, but I m sure you've heard all this before. Plant was/is no different. Here's my point, I am most likely older than most of you and have seen Led Zep nine times in the 70s, heard all the recordings (bootlegs and otherwise), read everying in print and been a huge Zep fan many years, like all of you. Having said that, I can say with a degree of certainty that Plant did not lose his voice (or his wailing, as you say) in the early 70s. Why? Well, based on everything I heard, which covers 1970 through 1977 (live and bootleg performance, Plant had good and bad periods during any given tour like most singers. The very best Plant performance I ever saw/heard was in Vancouver, March 20, 1975. His performance was literally faultless, in terms of pitch, timing, power, range and the "so called" wail...it was all there. Perhaps he was extremely healthy during this leg of the tour, I don’t know, obviously we will never know, but his performance was truly amazing and nearly perfect! However, I saw Led Zep for the last time in 1977 and the entire bands performance was sub par...4 out a 10, at best. Sad. I also saw them in 1973. Plant’s performance was not nearly as good as the 1975 show. What does this mean? I am suggesting there is no one show or year, for that matter, that you can honestly say Plant lost his wail. However, I will agree its long gone. The 02 Show is proof of that. Don’t get me wrong, Plant still rocked hard on certain songs, but others, well, let’s just say, that “wailing” is a young man’s game.

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It was a sad day when Plant could no longer do his improv-wail along with Page's guitar on the jam sections of certain songs. Sure the band became more polished in the latter days, but polished being Plant's range had sharply been reduced and Page was a shadow of his former explosive self on stage. They remained great musicians, but as a 'full' unit-they peaked live in 72.

And I agree Klu, I have no idea why Page changed his guitar tone from 69-70. That tone IS rock and roll for me.

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Studio-wise he definitely lost it on HoTH. Thats the first album where theres studio effects all over his voice and he has this whiny thing going on. TSRTS, the track is almost like he's helium.

They did weird things on IV as well. He sounds like a chipmunk on Four Sticks.

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They did weird things on IV as well. He sounds like a chipmunk on Four Sticks.

ha ha ha thats funny bullshit you are giving out there. :angry:

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Yeah, I like Plant's later voice, circa ITTOD. It's rougher and more mid-range, but powerful in its own right. With the deep echo added, it had a cool vibe.

I'm with you all the way. I'll take ITTOD anyday over the wailing banshee screeches of the early days. Some of those early boots are embarrassing with all the yelping he did imitating Jimmy.

By '79 and later Plant actually matured and became a singer.

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^ I always knew youse waas crazieeeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!!

:wacko:

Joel, you know a conservative like me ain't gonna go for all that wild hippie yelling like a monkey and crap.

:D

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I think he peaked in 71, using the end of STH as a reference (There was a lady..) listen to a good quality 71 show, then listen to HTWWW and then TSRTS. In 71 he definitly had a higher range and was able to sustain those high notes, there is a slight decrease in 72 and then in 73 it is much more noticable. I figure thats the main reason that Immigrant song got dropped from the setlist eventually.

You mean "There walks a lady" right?

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I think a 2nd breakdown in his voice occured around 1988. That's when it became difficult for him to hold a steady note without falling into a vibrato. So his melodies seem to be constant portamento like a trombone, almost talky, kind of whiney, never really staying on a note long enough to quantify as a note.

Some of his better known solo songs like Ship of Fools, 29 Palms, etc... suffer from this affectation and it hit a dubious zenith by Walking into Clarksdale.

It's not really clear to me what's going on because he can pull it together when he wants to. But maybe it physically hurts for him to do this, so that when he is left to his own devices, he too often takes the easy road out and nobody is around him willing to tell him it doesn't sound good.

I'm with you on that. From Now and Zen on, I don't really like his voice at all. For me, he sounds bad, more often than not, when he tries to sing rock the last 15-20 years. Even when he can occassionally hit the high notes (like in Going to California with Page in 1998), its like a novelty, but not great to listen to. You can hear him struggle.

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I'm with you on that. From Now and Zen on, I don't really like his voice at all. For me, he sounds bad, more often than not, when he tries to sing rock the last 15-20 years. Even when he can occassionally hit the high notes (like in Going to California with Page in 1998), its like a novelty, but not great to listen to. You can hear him struggle.

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Is there any version of "Over The Hills And Far Away" where he really goes for it? Not the weird 'other' melody he started doing.

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Is there any version of "Over The Hills And Far Away" where he really goes for it? Not the weird 'other' melody he started doing.

He sang it true to the album on How The West Was Won, which was recorded in June '72, before his voice went.

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Is there any version of "Over The Hills And Far Away" where he really goes for it? Not the weird 'other' melody he started doing.

The North American tour of summer '72 he could hit those notes with ease (example How the West was Won). Some of the following Japan and UK dates of '72 he could also hit the original melody, but often with quite a struggle.

Interestingly enough, the Over the Hills melody only goes as high as a D5, and Plant can hit a tone below this (C5) when he's in good voice today (example the 2007 O2 reunion. If they did Over the Hills and Far Away again, they could transpose it down just 2 semitones and we'd be able to enjoy the original melody. Would sound brilliant.

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You're missing my point.

If in 73 he's doing what he did in MSG, he hadn't lost his voice in 72, or whatever you and others are implying in this thread. Shit, as intense, as long, and as frequent as they performed in those years, there will be variances in performance.

To say he declined before he recorded songs like Kashmir in 74 is bullshit.

You do have excellent taste in bands for your sig though...

Kim rules.

Edited by Led Zeppelin

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Sorry to say, but those "insanely high notes" from TSRTS in '73 (the best take of three MSG shows) were nothing compared to what he was hitting NIGHTLY in '70 and '71. Compare the 2003 DVD version of Whole Lotta Love from 1/9/70 to TSRTS version and you'll see what we're discussing.

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You're missing my point.

If in 73 he's doing what he did in MSG, he hadn't lost his voice in 72, or whatever you and others are implying in this thread. Shit, as intense, as long, and as frequent as they performed in those years, there will be variances in performance.

To say he declined before he recorded songs like Kashmir in 74 is bullshit.

You do have excellent taste in bands for your sig though...

Kim rules.

As Joel said before, it's all in the boots. The two examples you cite are a live cut and paste of the best of three nights at MSG, and a studio recording. Get a couple bootlegs from each Zeppelin tour and you can clearly see the progeressive loss of Plat's early years' wail. I think you're taking the "lost the wailing" too literally. Could he still wail his lemons off after 72, yes of course he could. But it definitely didn't sound like what he was hitting on a nightly basis 69-71.

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Plant was still able to hit high notes in 73 but with difficulty and irregularity. The MSG gigs were about the best of the year in my estimation. If you listen to the Physical Graffiti rehearsal bootlegs recorded (mostly) in 1974 - Plant tries wailing - at much higher keys than in the actual Physical Graffiti versions of Trampled Underfoot, In the Light, etc. Why and how his voice ended up shot at the beginning of 1975 is another matter and mystery.

The reference to WLL in MSG - he was still able to "scream" out the notes and make it work. But his usual mid range remained a struggle. OTHAFA was shot for example. His voice mutated over this period.

Most people are correct in saying he lost his wail - his voice became thinner over 72 - 73. By HTWWW - compare that to BBC sessions and the difference is apparent.

In those days, unfortunately - Plant did not do what later singers like Bon Jovi would do - go to a vocal coach...

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Now...there aren't any shows they did between July of '72 and Oct. of '72 that I THINK most of the deterioration started......but clearly..by the Oct. 2 show in Japan that year.....the banshee'd wailing was being compromised....

Regarding Plant's vocal changes, the break between the July shows and the Japan shows is interesting. Plant's voice seemed in good condition during the summer months minus some cracks here and there. The 69/70 era vocal power was really starting to diminish, but his range seemed good. Him still being able to sing OTHAFA in it's original melody is a great example. You would think that a couple months off might give him some valuable rest time. But in fact he sounded worse in October than in July. He was pretty hit and miss in Japan that year. When he did sing songs like OTH you could tell even when he hit the vocal hooks, it was more of a struggle than a few months earlier.

Not sure if I have a point to this, :lol: but I think it's interesting nonetheless. Before Japan 72, most changes were very gradual, but October seems to the first big step in a different dirction for him.

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In the beginning he tended to strain his voice. It's interesting that he has evolved to pair with Alison Krauss to play with harmonies now; not only does it sound different, but it may take the strain off his vocal chords and extend the life of his voice.

Vocal chords are like rubber bands; if you stretch them too fast, too soon, they wear and tear. You must gradually warm them up, as you would muscles before you exercise.

This is partialy true,however if one is singing correctly volume is not the problem:Opera! Damage to the vocal chords can also take place when you try to push into unnatural octives ,if you don`t have a natural capacity for a certain range don`t go there.(There are a list of otherways to do damage here as well)Also while it could take some discipline for some to pay attention to the timing to sing harmony ,there are some who are born with an ear ,and can listen & jump in and do.One other factor is chi - personal flow --- this doesn`t change range or registar it does change the force of out put.Having said all this I in no way ,buy into all the Extreme hype about Alison Krauss voice or having been mistress task master vocal teacher to Robert Plant.In all fairness Krauss as primarily a fiddle player has taken time to specialize learning how to sing the measurements of appalachian bluegrass harmonies and the soft sweetness of the real Queen Emmylou Harris.LIVING HARMONY is harder and more IMPORTANT then singing the style of the sound . This project is not an evolution for Plant ,just a shifting of gears --Listen to all his earlyest stuff 1966-68 pre Zep----he also grew up singing --his Mother was a lovely vocalist.Robert Plant has always been a great vocalist amongst other things!!!!!

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This is partialy true,however if one is singing correctly volume is not the problem:Opera! Damage to the vocal chords can also take place when you try to push into unnatural octives ,if you don`t have a natural capacity for a certain range don`t go there.(There are a list of otherways to do damage here as well)Also while it could take some discipline for some to pay attention to the timing to sing harmony ,there are some who are born with an ear ,and can listen & jump in and do.One other factor is chi - personal flow --- this doesn`t change range or registar it does change the force of out put.Having said all this I in no way ,buy into all the Extreme hype about Alison Krauss voice or having been mistress task master vocal teacher to Robert Plant.In all fairness Krauss as primarily a fiddle player has taken time to specialize learning how to sing the measurements of appalachian bluegrass harmonies and the soft sweetness of the real Queen Emmylou Harris.LIVING HARMONY is harder and more IMPORTANT then singing the style of the sound . This project is not an evolution for Plant ,just a shifting of gears --Listen to all his earlyest stuff 1966-68 pre Zep----he also grew up singing --his Mother was a lovely vocalist.Robert Plant has always been a great vocalist amongst other things!!!!!

Robert Plant said Alison Krauss was being strict with him; it's his fault if people get that impression. :lol: He did not have nice things to say about Emmylou Harris however.

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