Robert Plant Regrets Not Going Into Accounting Like His Dad Wanted

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Woulda, coulda, shoulda

Robert Plant, the golden haired and golden voiced singer for the legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin, says in an interview on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” that he should have listened to his dad and become an accountant rather than leave home when he was 16 to live the rock-and-roll lifestyle.

“If I were to live my life again, would I have that nasty break with my family and sing for various bands before finally joining Pagey and the others to form Led Zeppelin? I think on balance what I did was a mistake and, in retrospect, I should have listened to my dad.”

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God or CPA?

Plant, 66, says his “tens of millions of dollars” is nice to have in the bank and he’s gratified to have had success with both Led Zeppelin and his later musical projects, including a popular collaboration with Alison Krauss in 2009 and the revamping of one of his earlier bands, the Band of Joy. His later albums have sold well and, all told, throughout his 50-year career in music, he’s been involved in some two dozen original studio albums and dozens of live and compilation albums totaling nearly half a billion in unit sales for tens of billions of dollars. He has been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and was feted in 2012 by President Barack Obama after Led Zeppelin received the most prestigious artistic award in the United States, the Kennedy Center Honors.

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Misguided youth at ‘work’

“Ever since I was a child, all I could think of was music,” says Plant. “That caused a rift with my parents, because they wanted me to enter a more stable field, particularly accounting. But I was obsessed with American blues—Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf—and capturing the essence of those Delta blues was all I wanted to do. And I was willing to break my dad’s heart to do it. Now that I’m older, I see how misguided I was.”

Led Zeppelin, which burst onto the scene in 1968, quickly became a sensation, thrilling audiences and selling albums as fast as they could be produced. Every one of the band’s albums have gone multiple platinum, and its big single from Led Zeppelin IV, “Stairway to Heaven,” has become the defining rock ballad of all time. In total, the band and its members as solo artists have sold a billion albums worldwide, making them the most successful musical collaboration of all time even though the four original members were only together for a dozen years.

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Nice recognition for yelping

An integral part of that success was Plant’s piercing vocals and his sensual stage style. “A Led Zeppelin concert was better than sex,” says Mindy Davis, 60, of Irvine, Calif. “The music, the way Robert Plant moved and gyrated, and the way he interacted with Jimmy Page. That was my intercourse.”

John Donne, 61, an attorney in Portland, Ore., says he was obsessed with the band well into his 20s. “I loved the sonic quality of the music, the power, the sensuality of it all,” he says. “It changed my life, it was such a heady mix of aggression and softness, light and shade. They made me realize how powerful art could be.”

But today, Plant sees it differently. “The power of art to make people see the world in a new way, to change people for good or for ill, to move them in one direction or another—that’s all well and good. That’s nice. And all the sex we had—groupies throwing themselves at us, doing whatever we wanted them to do. It’s not something many people get to experience. But when I think about the good sense of what my dad was telling me to do—study accounting, get set up with a good, respectable firm, raise a family and ride the train every day to the office, make the right column of numbers total up with the left column of numbers, and live in a house—I realize he had it right. He got it. I was just a stupid kid who wanted to be up on stage prancing around like a jackass. You don’t think of your folks as cool, but I see that, of all the cool people I’ve ever known, the coolest one was the one raising me back in Staffordshire, England. My dad. Not listening to him was the greatest error of my life. I had a chance to be an accountant and I missed it.”

This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified): dr, at, more (Creative Commons and public domain). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.

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