The Rolling Stones song Robert Plant called “incredible”

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has been fond of The Rolling Stones since he was a teenager and saw the band perform in concert. At that time, the Stones were an exciting young group who had successfully captured the attention of the masses, but Plant was unable to predict the cultural institution they’d go on to become.

Plant was the perfect age during the arrival of The Rolling Stones in 1963. As a 15-year-old teenager, the group’s debut single, a cover of the Chuck Berry song ‘Come On’, was beyond exciting. The rock singer had already developed an obsession with the Delta blues, and hearing a British band with the same passion for the genre was the inspiration he needed to advance his musical ambitions.

As Plant was yet to move to London, he missed out on witnessing The Rolling Stones during their legendary early shows in the capital at venues such as the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. However, when the Stones finally explored the other regions across the country, Plant was there for their first show in the Midlands.

The package tour saw The Rolling Stones open up for headliners Bo Diddley and Little Richard, a thrilling proposition Plant was unwilling to miss. Looking back on the concert with Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 in 2020, the Led Zeppelin vocalist said: “We were all leaning towards that music. But nobody really had it down. I think in those days, The Stones were bringing the stone down the mountain. So that was really special.”

From that point on, his infatuation with the group only enhanced, as did The Rolling Stones’ quality of material. The release of ‘Street Fighting Man’ in 1968 was another crucial moment for Plant and showed a political side to the Stones, with the song reflecting the protests across the Western world.

Mick Jagger told Rolling Stone in 1995: “It was a very strange time in France. But not only in France but also in America because of the Vietnam War and these endless disruptions … I thought it was a very good thing at the time. There was all this violence going on. I mean, they almost toppled the government in France; de Gaulle went into this complete funk, as he had in the past, and he went, and sort of locked himself in his house in the country. And so the government was almost inactive. And the French riot police were amazing.”

Plant was impressed by The Stones’ transition into political music, telling BBC 6 Music in 2021: “There is so much to be said about this band. About the politics of the time in the late ’60s, early ’70s and how great that The Rolling Stones’ Jagger and Richards were putting together songs that were really quite vital absolutely and are in many ways timeless.”

He continued: “This track’ Street Fighting Man’ from Beggars Banquet is just incredible. And, of course, many stations banned the record because they said it was subversive. There is a great comment from the band that said: ‘Of course it’s subversive. It’s stupid to think that you can start a revolution with a record; I wish you could.’”

With ‘Street Fighting Man’, The Rolling Stones proved the societal importance of rock ‘n’ roll and rather than delivering another love song, they used their platform to provide a message much bigger than themselves.

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