Throughout his career, rock icon Robert Plant was always more than just the voice of Led Zeppelin. His commanding stage presence was also crucial to Zeppelin’s phenomenal success. The singer captured the attention of numerous music enthusiasts, regardless of musical preference or age. Early in his life, he developed an interest in music and made numerous unsuccessful attempts before achieving worldwide recognition with Led Zeppelin. While initially influenced by Elvis Presley’s rock and roll sound, Plant also discovered blues, which would have a significant impact on his own style. The rock star joined several groups after leaving his parents’ home at age 16. Perhaps he failed to achieve success, but these experiences enriched his understanding of music. During those times, he also attempted to join the Who after learning that they were experiencing a turbulent period.
During the mid-1960s, tensions grew between The Who’s members. By the mid-1960s, the Who had amassed a large fan base through their captivating live performances. Later, with early singles such as ‘I Can’t Explain’ and ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere,’ they began to increase their visibility by appearing on commercial radio stations and television programs. Nonetheless, tensions grew among the band members around 1965, when they were still attempting to establish themselves. The conflicts between the singer Roger Daltrey and the drummer Keith Moon were primarily a result of Moon’s drug addiction. Daltrey did not want his bandmates to abuse drugs during work hours because it would negatively impact their performance. When Daltrey flushed drummer Keith Moon’s pills down the toilet and attacked him, a physical altercation ensued.
After this incident, Daltrey spent time away from the band. The remaining members of The Who considered replacing him with another lead singer, but the notion was quickly abandoned. Daltrey was brought back to the Who with the warning that he needed to stop acting like the leader of the band. Nonetheless, when the band was forced to cancel a few shows during that time, a young Robert Plant saw it as an opportunity to prove himself. Robert Plant desired to join The Who as lead vocalist. During the band’s turbulent period in the mid-1960s, 17-year-old Robert Plant attended three consecutive Who concerts in an attempt to achieve his first significant breakthrough. When the band canceled two shows in Worcester and Kidderminster due to Roger Daltrey’s absence, Robert Plant believed he would be the ideal candidate to fill the vacant lead vocalist position.
The rock star mustered all his courage and approached the band’s guitarist Pete Townshend to inform him that he was prepared to assume the position. It was a great opportunity for a young singer to stand out, as The Who were just beginning to gain recognition. However, Townshend ultimately decided that it would be more advantageous to continue with Roger Daltrey than to replace him with another vocalist. During a 1990 interview, Pete Townshend recalled Robert Plant’s offer as follows: “Plant came to see us three nights in a row and offered himself for the job, as did Steve Gibbons when he came to see us without Roger. Clearly, none of them thought I was a talented singer!” Thus, Robert Plant’s desire to join the Who was never realized, but he would eventually achieve the success he had spent years pursuing with Led Zeppelin. If Townshend had accepted his offer to join the Who, we would have likely never heard the band’s distinctive music.