Robert Plant lists his favourite songs of the 1960s

In 1968, at the tender age of 20, Robert Plant joined Jimmy Page’s Yardbirds reboot. Initially, this group, which also welcomed John Paul Jones and John Bonham, was known as The New Yardbirds, but following a legal disagreement with former Yardbirds members, the band was christened Led Zeppelin.

The Yardbirds had been a launchpad for three of rock’s most celebrated guitarists: Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. However, Page’s talent was somehow equalled by the instrumental virtuosity of Jones and Bonham and the powerfully dynamic and unique vocal abilities of Plant.

“I was appearing at this college when [manager Peter Grant] and Jimmy turned up and asked me if I’d like to join the Yardbirds,” Plant recalled of his first meeting with Page in a 2008 interview with Classic Rock. “I knew the Yardbirds had done a lot of work in America – which to me meant audiences who would want to know what I might have to offer – so, naturally, I was very interested.”

The frontman sang Jefferson Airplane’s song ‘Somebody To Love’ to Page during this first encounter. The guitarist later recalled the moment: “When I auditioned him and heard him sing, I immediately thought there must be something wrong with him personality-wise or that he had to be impossible to work with because I just could not understand why, after he told me he’d been singing for a few years already, he hadn’t become a big name yet. So I had him down to my place for a little while just to sort of check him out, and we got along great. No problems.”

Throughout Led Zeppelin’s 12 years of existence, Plant helped redefine blues-based rock ‘n’ roll with a heavier, more intense delivery style. While their music has been hailed for its influence on heavy metal and hard punk styles, Led Zeppelin was more readily associated with the contemporary prog-rock movement, thanks to the group’s penchant for compositional complexity.

Led Zeppelin and their prog-rock peers, including Pink Floyd, Yes and Genesis, are seen as the most direct descendants of the so-called British Invasion wave of the 1960s. During the colourful decade, the Brits took American blues rock and treated it to a psychedelic and soulful overhaul teeming with oblique lyrical concepts and sonic experimentation. As the 1970s dawned, the prog-rockers assumed this vanguard.

In 2022, Robert Plant appeared on BBC Radio 6 to pick out some of his favourite and most influential songs of all time. Understandably, most of these formative songs hailed from the 1960s, when his dream was both realised and achieved. See the full list of Plant’s 1960s selections below.

Robert Plant’s favourite songs of the 1960s:
Jeff Beck – ‘I Ain’t Superstitious (feat. Rod Stewart)’
The Animals – ‘I’m Crying’
The Spencer Davis Group – ‘Stevie’s Blues’
Shane Fenton & The Fentones – ‘I’m A Moody Guy’
Jimmy Powell and the 5 Dimensions – ‘Sugar Baby’
The Poets – ‘Now We’re Thru’
Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers – ‘I Can’t Stand It’
Pisces – ‘Sam’
The Velvets – ‘Spring Fever’
Richie Barrett – ‘Some Other Guy’
Don Covay – ‘Can’t Fight It Baby’
Dick & Dee Dee – ‘The Mountain’s High’
The Contours – ‘It Must Be Love’
Betty Harris – ‘Ride Your Pony’
The Marauders – ‘That’s What I Want’
The Blue Rondos – ‘Little Baby’
The Soul Sisters – ‘I Can’t Stand It’
Amen Corner – ‘Gin House Blues’

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