Paul Rodgers Helped Robert Plant Make a Big Decision About Led Zeppelin
Before Robert Plant joined Led Zeppelin, he wound up meeting Paul Rodgers of Free.
As Rodgers revealed to Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show, he gave Plant a bit of career advice that seemed to work out pretty well for the Zeppelin singer, even though it eventually annoyed the band's manager, Peter Grant.
"I met Robert up in Birmingham when I was with Free, and we played with Alexis Korner," Rodgers said. "And Robert got up to jam with Alexis and he was -- this was before Led Zeppelin -- he was full-on, you know? I mean the hair, the look, everything was there. All he needed was the band, Led Zeppelin."
As it turned out, that band was in the process of becoming a reality, Rodgers said: "He came back to our hotel for a cup of tea, and he said, 'Oh, I met this guitar player down in London called Jimmy Page. Have you heard of him?' And I said, 'Yeah, a lot of people are talking about him. He's a great session musician down in London.' He said, 'Yeah, they've offered me a job. They want to put a band together. They've offered me 30 quid a week or a percentage. What do you think?' And I said, 'Well, you know what I would do? I'd take the percentage.'"
After Rodgers left Free, he formed Bad Company and signed with Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label, with Grant becoming their manager. That's when Rodgers told him about his longtime friendship with Plant.
"Years later ... Peter Grant is my manager, and I'm sitting in his great mansion in Sussex and I tell him this story," Rodgers recalled. "And there's this silence ... after that. And he looks at me and he goes, 'Oh, that was you, was it?'"
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