Robert Plant’s 1966 Blue Eyed Soul Single

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Robert Plant’s pre-Led Zeppelin soul single You Better Run.

The pre-Led Zeppelin careers of Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones are well known – their extensive session work throughout the 1960s and Page’s time with The Yardbirds are the stuff of legend. Robert Plant and John Bonham’s work with Birmingham heavy psychedelic group The Band of Joy is also a well known part of the story. But Plant had worked his way through several local bands by the time he was approached to join The New Yardbirds (as Zeppelin were still known at the time), and one of them, Listen, had made their own stab at the charts a couple of years earlier.

Signed to CBS on a one-shot deal, Listen were a blue-eyed soul act and Plant’s voice is a little out of place – he’s too powerful for the material, frankly, and the backing singers don’t help things. You Better Run is not particularly good, truth be told – but you can see why Plant was destined for bigger things. Fortunately for musical history, the record was not a hit, CBS declined to extend the contract and the band split, leaving Plant at a loose end and open for the offer he couldn’t refuse a couple of years later.