Great Rock Albums of 1982: Robert Plant- Pictures At 11

220px-Pictures_at_Eleven

What is probably the biggest misconception in the world about heavy metal founding fathers, Led Zeppelin, is that most people tend to remember them more for their hard rock/heavy metal sound from the early 1970s. Many supposed Led Zeppelin officianados forget that in the middle and latter part of that decade, they were moving away from the heavy sound for a more progressive sound. There were many reasons for this which I have already stated when I visited some Led Zeppelin albums in the past. Unfortunately, some of those same people had this same misconception when Robert Plant released his first solo album in 1982, “Pictures At 11.”

This album is definitely more Led Zeppelin in the late 70s and I think that Robert wanted to continue in this vein and he does a very good job in doing so. The opening track, “Burning Down One Side” is a sure fire reminder of the Zeppelin days from the opening riff. It definitely makes a statement for the rest of the album. However, Plant does seem to venture more into new territories as well. The slower second track “Moonlight in Samosa” bears testimony to this. Things go a bit more up tempo with “Slow Dancer” and it is the first track where I was tempted to begin comparing guitarist Robbie Blunt to Plant’s former band mate. Fortunately, I was able to resist temptation and make judgement on Blunt in his own right. My verdict: he can certainly play guitar as evidenced on not only “Slow Dancer” but “Worse Than Detroit” and “Fat Lip” and no, Sum 41 would not make a cover of that last song twenty years later, not even close. Sorry, forgive my weird sense of humour. However, those last two tracks are further evidence of Plant wanting to go forward into new areas. Then, almost as some anti- climax, the closing song, “Mystery Title” reminds me of two Led Zeppelin classics, “Trample Underfoot” and “When the Levee Breaks,” not that I’m complaining.

Track Listing:

1. Burning Down One Side

2. Midnight in Samosa

3. Pledge Pin

4. Slow Dancer

5. Worse Than Detroit

6. Fat Lip

7. Like I’ve Never Been Gone

8. Mystery Title

Robert Plant

Robert Plant

Robert Plant- vocals

Robbie Blunt- guitar

Jezz Woodroffe- keyboards, synthesizers

Paul Martinez- bass

Phil Collins- drums, except tracks 4 & 7

Cozy Powell- drums on tracks 4 &7

Raphael Ravenscroft- saxophone on track 3

It was always great to see that Robert Plant had moved on after Led Zeppelin, as did Page and Jones. He managed to find some good musicians to help him on the album and got Collins and Powell to play drums which was an added bonus. “Pictures At 11” marked a triumphant return for Plant.

Next post: Steve Winwood- Talking Back to the Night

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

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8 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1982: Robert Plant- Pictures At 11”

  1. One of my favorite albums of the ’80s and a record I know pretty much note for note from playing it hundreds of times starting on the release date in 1982. Plant remains my favorite singer of all-time and he was still at the top of his game at this time…if not his early-’70s other-worldly peak. I’m glad you’re also a fan and you did a great job with this review.

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    • Thanks! I was wondering if you could clear up a rumor I once heard about Robert Plant. That is he went for voice coaching after he left Led Zep. If true, I found that very amusing. He is a great vocalist and puts many of today’s wannabees to shame.

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      • I never heard anything about him having voice coaching after Zeppelin split, but I know he had throat issues in the early- to mid-’70s when his voice changed drastically (you can hear the difference on Physical Graffiti when you compare songs recorded for Houses Of The Holy and newly recorded tracks).

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      • It was probably just a rumour going around at the time. I will listen to both of those albums to hear the difference in Plant’s voice.

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      • No need to play both albums. Several of the songs on Physical Graffiti were recorded for Houses Of The Holy (“The Rover,” “Black Country Woman” and “Houses Of The Holy”), and a few were even older than that (“Down By The Seaside” and “Night Flight”). The fact that they made all of those songs into a cohesive double album is further evidence of their greatness.

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      • Thanks for the tip, I’ll try that, especially with the songs you put down here.

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  2. Why would he want to spend midnight in a samosa?!!

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