Robert Plant’s third fully-fledged solo release, 1985’s Shaken ’n’ Stirred, was aptly titled. It performed well in the charts – cracking the Top 20 in both the UK and US – but it shook up his fans’ expectations of his solo work, and arguably remains the most left-field title in his canon.
Listen to ‘Shaken’n’Stirred’ here.
“I wanted my music to be sharp and mildly aggressive”
To his credit, Plant’s initial solo salvoes, 1982’s Pictures At Eleven and its erstwhile follow-up, The Principle Of Moments, served notice that he was serious about moving away from Led Zeppelin’s stadium-slaying rock. However, he then confused his fanbase by forming The Honeydrippers – an all-star side project also involving Nile Rodgers, Jeff Beck and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page – and releasing the EP The Honeydrippers: Volume One late in 1984.
Comprised entirely of covers, the EP indulged Plant’s love of 50s rock’n’roll and jump blues. It was recorded primarily for fun but, thanks to the popularity of The Honeydrippers’ version of Phil Phillips’ 1959 hit, Sea Of Love, the record had legs – it rose to No.4 in the US and eventually yielded a platinum disc, surprising no one more than Plant himself.
“That song was good for me,” Plant told the Los Angeles Times. “It broke through to all the radio stations that wouldn’t normally play a Robert Plant record. My music usually isn’t accessible… I’ll never be a real pop star, but that doesn’t bother me.”