Moving on from his journey as Led Zeppelin’s wild-haired talisman, Robert Plant began his solo career with one clear goal in mind: to find a new sound that he could call his own. Always keen to apply his saintly tones to something different, Plant’s back catalogue is rich, diverse and colourful, soundtracking a life as seen through the eyes of a rock’n’roll mystic. From dabbling in 80s synth-pop to experimenting with world music and breathing new life into folk classics, the best Robert Plant solo songs reveal a fearless entertainer with a musically adventurous spirit.
20: The May Queen (from ‘Carry Fire’, 2017)
Celebrating the wonder of nature, The May Queen is the dreamy and acoustic-led opener from Robert Plant’s 11th album, Carry Fire. Unwittingly recalling a lyric from Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven (“It’s just a spring clean for the May queen”), this 2017 single found Plant reflecting on how life was opening up with the coming of springtime, bringing hope and promise for the year ahead.
“There were no spring cleans or anything,” Plant admitted in an interview with BBC 6 Music, but, he added, “the beginning of the year is such a great time, such an optimistic, great time, even for older people”. With glorious swells of viola and fiddle provided by folk musician Seth Lakeman, and instrumental backing from Plant’s long-serving band, The Sensational Space Shifters, The May Queen perfectly captures the magic of the changing season.