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The Nine Lives of Robert Plant

Retrospective of a Second Career

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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The Nine Lives of Robert Plant
Photo by Mishka Westell, courtesy Rhino Media
"All I am is a singer who writes a few songs."
- Robert Plant

Yeah. Coming from the man who wrote and sang the lyrics to the #1 song on virtually every list of the all time greatest classic rock songs, "Stairway To Heaven," that might be considered a classic bit of understatement.

When drummer John Bonham died suddenly in 1980 and the remaining members of Led Zeppelin decided to dissolve the band, Robert Plant embarked on a solo career with a mixture of feelings. He welcomed the freedom to experiment, but felt suddenly alone outside the Led Zeppelin cocoon.

One thing was certain. Plant didn't want himself or his music to be typecast. Even after 12 years as the very visible lead singer of one of the most popular bands of the 70s, Plant hoped to establish a musical identity separate and apart from his Led Zep persona.

Did he succeed? Singer Tori Amos says, "Watching him try and stylistically experiment but also not be all things to all people -- that's the one thing that he's been quite surefooted about."

Amos -- along with The Who's Roger Daltrey, Phil Collins (ex-Genesis) and Lenny Kravitz -- is among those who appear in the documentary that is included in the Nine Lives package.

As the title implies, the set includes nine of Plant's solo albums, from his first -- 1982's Pictures At Eleven -- through his most recent -- 2005's Mighty Rearranger. Rounding out the box are The Principle of Moments, The Honeydrippers, Volume 1 (a "supergroup" made up of Plant, ex-Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page, guitarist Jeff Beck, keyboardist Paul Shaffer and rhythm guitarist Nile Rodgers from CHIC), Shaken 'n' Stirred, Now and Zen, Manic Nirvana, Fate of Nations and Dreamland.

Each CD includes bonus tracks of live versions and unissued studio tracks. In addition to the documentary, the DVD includes 20 Plant music videos.

It's Hard Not To Like

Courtesy Rhino Media
Nine Lives packs a lot into one box. In addition to about 12 hours of music, there's the 60-minute documentary, the music videos and a slick 60-page book that add up to an interesting, informative and entertaining portrait of a guy who wants us to believe that he's just a singer who writes a few songs.

Nine Lives Track Lists with Audio Samples

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