Potted Plant

Germany’s Der Spiegel has interesting news on the rock-n-roll front: Led Zeppelin looking for a new singer. You remember that the surviving band members, plus John Bonham’s son Jason, just had to get together for that charity concert in honor of deceased Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegün that was such a hit last December. Well, it seems that the fellows had such a good time with that, that the experience spurred a hankering to go play together some more on tour – at least among lead guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist/keyboard-man John Paul Jones.

But singer Robert Plant was the exception, who proved stubbornly resistant to the idea of hitting the road again, even though he is the band’s youngest member (now at 60 years). So now, as the unnamed Spiegel journalist (whose initials are “bor”) would have it, Page and Jones are ready to find someone else. Says Jones: “We want to perform again – and we’re not going to hang around and wait for Plant to change his mind.”

The thing is, just who to replace Plant with is a ticklish question. It’s basically matter of finding someone who is not just a Robert Plant clone – as Jones puts it, “we don’t want to be our own tribute band” – but who otherwise is somehow just right for the band’s style of music. The article brings up other instances when a leading rock band’s dynamic front-man has needed to be replaced, such as when the Doors recruited Ian Astbury to substitute for Jim Morrison or Queen went with Paul Rodgers for Freddy Mercury, but of course those two examples had an important common thread: the replaced singer had already gone up to that great dressing-room in the sky, and so wasn’t around to cast his own judgment on (or otherwise interact with) his successor. Plant, on the other hand, will likely remain on the scene for some time to come, and in fact has recently pursued a solo career, so tricky matters of diplomacy and rock-protocol will have to be attended to.

The Spiegel article even provides a user-poll on the question of Plant’s replacement, with a list of suggested singers to vote for: Jack White (White Stripes and the Raconteurs), Robbie Williams, Chris Martin (Coldplay), Joss Stone, Paul Potts (“Britain’s Got Talent” televised contest winner) or Herbert Grönemeyer. (Of course Der Spiegel would put forth a German candidate, but then again, that culture did contribute “Zeppelin” at the band’s very beginning.) Move fast and go to the page to cast your vote: you could influence rock history!

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