When John Bonham died in 1980, Led Zeppelin fans everywhere were stunned and deeply saddened at the loss. One of the biggest and baddest bands of all time had taken a mortal blow and would play no more. The band would not be the same without him and Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones all moved on to other projects. Page scored some movies, joined a short-lived band called The Firm and released an album or two. Plant continued to release albums with little commercial success. Jones went on to work with many other artists and scored some films, as well. It just wasn't the same for the surviving members of Led Zeppelin or their fans.

1994 finally brought about the event that fans were looking for. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had decided to return to the studios and record some new material. Not wanting to have too many comparisons drawn between their new work and their old, Page and Plant decided to record on their own, leaving out John Paul Jones. Many fans and Jones himself remain bitter about this decision, but the quality of the resulting work is undeniable.

When Page and Plant began recording again at their old studios in King's Cross, they realized what they had been missing during all the years after Led Zeppelin. Plant can still wail and holler like the good old days and Page's talent for ripping through complex and edgy guitar licks remains firmly intact. Better yet, they could still conjure up the ideas and innovations that made Led Zeppelin what it was. Their first album, No Quarter, was an ambitious collection of new material and remakes of Led Zeppelin classics. Continuing a creative trend they had begun years before with Tangerine and Kashmir, the album drew heavily on Moroccan style rhythms and harmonies. The album was recorded with the help of the London Metropolitan Orchestra and a talented ensemble of Egyptian musicians playing bodhrans, violins, bouzoukis, and bamboo flutes. Many of the new interpretations bore little resemblance to the originals. Nobody's Fault But Mine, No Quarter and Kashmir sutained the most significant changes, while some other pieces were left nearly untouched. The new contributions all have the same North African flavor and fit in beautifully with the rest classic songs. The result is a superb album that takes the best of elements of Led Zeppelin and gives them an exotic twist.

They recorded a live MTV special entitled Page and Plant: Unledded which kicked off their 1995 world tour. After thrilling fans across the world with their new material and Led Zeppelin hits of yore, Page and Plant knew they had a good thing going and decided to record a new album. The focus would no longer be on new renditions or rehashing the past. Walking Into Clarksdale would be Page and Plant's first album of entirely new material since In Through The Out Door. Released in 1998, the new album featured a set of hard bluesy pieces, some somber and heavily orchestrated songs built around haunting melodies and a smattering of the Moroccan flavor of No Quarter. Most songs hit the mark dead on, with only a pair of songs that seem to lack the edge of the Led Zeppelin songs they so resemble. Not once breaking the seven minute mark, Walking Into Clarksdale is much more streamlined than any of their work with Led Zeppelin amd took only 35 days to record. Most High is very Kashmir-esque and stands out as one of the high points of the CD. The title track and When The World Was Young are similarly excellent in a more traditional Led Zeppelin style.

They finished up their Walking Into Clarksdale tour in 1998 and have not made any specific plans aside from appearances at some benefits and festivals. They have performed at a number of events such as the Montreaux International Jazz Festival in 2001. Unfortunately, after rumors that they would play, they were noticeably absent at the NetAid benefit concert in 1999 and the Madison Square Garden concert for New York City in 2001. Hopefully the future will see them reentering the studio and following up on their two excellent releases.


No Quarter

  1. Nobody's Fault But Mine
  2. Thank You
  3. No Quarter
  4. Friends
  5. Yallah
  6. City Don't Cry
  7. Since I've Been Loving You
  8. Battle of Evermore
  9. Wonderful One
  10. That's the Way
  11. Gallows Pole
  12. Four Sticks
  13. Kashmir

Walking Into Clarksdale

  1. Shining in the Light
  2. When the World Was Young
  3. Upon a Golden Horse
  4. Blue Train
  5. Please Read the Letter
  6. Most High
  7. Heart in Your Hand
  8. Walking into Clarksdale
  9. Burning Up
  10. When I Was a Child
  11. House of Love
  12. Sons of Freedom


Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.