February 9, 2009: Robert Plant Nabs 5 Grammys

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Plant & KraussAfter Led Zeppelin being one of the biggest (and greatest) acts on the planet but largely snubbed by the Grammys, the band’s former singer, Robert Plant, enjoys a nice sweep of awards on February 9, 2009, for his duet album with bluegrass singer/fiddler Alison Krauss. Raising Sand earns five of them: Album of the Year; Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album; Record of the Year (for “Please Read the Letter”); Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (for “Rich Woman”); and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (for “Killing the Blues”).

“When we started this project together, the whole game was a mystery,” Plant recalls. The very idea of hard rock’s most wailing singer and the dulcet top vocalist in bluegrass collaborating didn’t seem natural at first glance. “We gave ourselves 3 days, and we said if it doesn’t work, we’ll just take lunch, and I’ll go back to Wolverhampton.”

[Note: Plant’s 2018 North American tour begins Friday, Feb. 9. Tickets are available here and here.]

One of the convincing numbers was Grammy winner “Please Read the Letter,” as Plant tells it. “[W]e brought this song out and it’s been given that Nashville touch and it feels pretty good.” He’d already recorded it once before on the 1998 album he made with Zep bandmate Jimmy Page, Walking Into Clarksdale. The album’s producer, T Bone Burnett, suggested the song for this twosome as well.

“It’s a song that hadn’t reached its true potential before. Now it’s become something else,” Plant raved.

He was also very pleased to finally get down his take on a longtime favorite and have it win an award. “The original version of ‘Rich Woman’ is hysterically good. That song is part of my epidermis. I had it on my jukebox for 25 years,” Plant noted.

While Led Zeppelin was active, they were ignored by the Recording Academy, with just a single nomination (for Best New Artist).

Related: Plant’s interview with radio legend Dennis Elsas

The duo tried to make the magic happen again when they convened in 2009. “[Producer Daniel Lanois] and I wrote about five songs in two or three days up in Silver Lake,” Plant recalled. “They were pretty good,” Plant says, “but they didn’t really lend themselves to a vocal collaboration, so I took them away.”

More recently, Krauss suggested they make an album like Daft Punk. Plant’s response? “I said, ‘Alison, get a clue.'” Plant feels the magic can only happen again if they have some “really pretty songs” to do together.

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Led Zeppelin celebrates their 50th anniversary in 2018

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