While Robert Plant successfully established himself as a solo artist during the 80s, he spent much of that decade crafting records which consciously shied away from his celebrated past with Led Zeppelin. However, that all changed in 1990, when the singer issued Manic Nirvana: a muscular set of vintage rock songs which unashamedly reconnected with his hard-rock roots.
Listen to ‘Manic Nirvana’ here.
“It takes Plant and company across a wide spectrum of sounds and emotion”
In retrospect, the record’s overall sound was influenced by the events of recent years. Manic Nirvana’s predecessor – 1988’s widely acclaimed Now And Zen – included two high-profile collaborations with Jimmy Page, and one of these, Tall Cool One, even featured strategic samples swiped from some of the best Led Zeppelin songs, Whole Lotta Love and Dazed And Confused among them. Plant then presented further evidence that he’d made peace with his past during Now And Zen’s supporting tour – a trek during which he regularly included the Zeppelin staples Misty Mountain Hop and Trampled Under Foot in his set list.
However, while Plant reunited with Page and bassist John Paul Jones for Atlantic Records’ 40th-anniversary concert, he had no intention of participating in a full-scale Led Zeppelin reformation. Instead, he drew upon both past and present to make the thrillingly contemporary Manic Nirvana, which, as the Chicago Tribune observed, “takes Plant and company across a wide spectrum of sounds and emotion, from the acoustic moan of Liars Dance to the hilarious metal crunch of Big Love”.