100 Greatest Singers
August 20th, 1948
Key Tracks "Dazed and Confused," "Immigrant Song," "Sea of Love"
Influenced David Lee Roth, Freddie Mercury, Tori Amos, Axl Rose
As a teenager in the English Midlands, Robert Plant was obsessed with the rawest American blues. "When I saw Sleepy John Estes and heard that voice — part pain, part otherworldly — I went, 'I want that voice,' " Plant told Rolling Stone in 2006. Somehow, he got that voice, and more: The unearthly howl he unleashed with Led Zeppelin was a bluesman crossed with a Viking deity. Singing like a girl never seemed so masculine, and countless hard-rock singers would shred their vocal cords reaching for the notes Plant gained by birthright. "His voice is picturesque," says collaborator Alison Krauss. "It sounds so new and so old at the same time, with this crazy European mystery to it."