Rob Halford Recalls The Time He Tried To Imitate Robert Plant’s Voice
Judas Priest’s Rob Halford gave an interview to Revolver’s Fan First in which he revealed that he has tried imitating Robert Plant‘s voice while performing.
Although Rob Halford is a metal musician, it is known that his influences ranged from blues to rock. As a vocalist, the ‘Metal God’s early influences included Little Richard, Janis Joplin, and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant. According to Halford, he even tried to imitate these musicians during his career, especially Robert Plant.
In the interview with Revolver’s Fan First, the host Christina Rowatt asked Rob Halford about a passage from his book ‘Confess.’ The passage included an incident that Halford was lying on his bed while listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ for the first time. While listening to that song, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant’s harmonious performance deeply impressed the musician.
Following that, Christina asked Halford whether Robert Plant’s vocal power affected him. As a response, Rob Halford said that all musicians are inspired by fellow musicians. He then said he realized the capabilities of the human voice after listening to Robert Plant. Moreover, Halford revealed that he tried to imitate Robert Plant’s expressions in jams, rehearsals, and performances.
After saying that, Halford mentioned the blues musicians Betsy Smith, Muddy Waters, and Little Richard. He said that they were performing while letting all of their emotions free, and they also influenced Robert Plant in that sense. Noting Robert Plant’s and Janis Joplin’s powerful singing style, Halford said they opened the way for his future musical career.
In the interview by Revolver’s Fan First, host Christina Rowatt told Rob Halford that:
“I’d like to start with a passage from your book: ‘Led Zeppelin blew me away. I’ll never forget lying down on my bed in the beach shell between my two speakers hearing ‘Whole Lotta Love’ the first time. The left-right-left-right interplay between Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, back and forth between the speakers amazed me.’ So, how did that vocal power and intensity affect you in a primal way?'”
Rob Halford then responded:
“All musicians are inspired by fellow musicians. It’s what we do. That’s the great thing about rock and roll, we’ve all got our heroes. It’s great that you’ve referenced that moment Christina because I didn’t have a stereo record player. I mean, it sounds nuts, but I got an amplifier, and I somehow figured out how to do stereo left and right. It was just mesmerizing that stereo was being used by Jimmy that way for Led Zeppelin. That was one of my first loves of that musical experience, that metal magic that we can have.
But, Robert’s voice particularly, then and now, was a great springboard for me as a singer because I realized that the human voice has so many different possibilities. I don’t think I was singing that way when I heard Robert sing. You know, obviously, I was just [in] my early metal years. But I’m sure [that] in jams and rehearsals and whatever else, I was emulating his expressions.
Robert loves the blues, and if you go way back to Betsy Smith, Muddy Waters, Little Richard, where everybody was screaming and wailing, I also think you’re never old enough for new memory or a new thought. I think that what I realized from those particular performers was that you’ve just got to let your own inhibitions go. You’ve just got to show it off in the purest emotional sense and not be afraid.
And there’s something very powerful about watching either Robert Plant or Janice Joplin screaming her heart out at Monterey. Women weren’t supposed to perform like that. That was the way it was back in the day. So, all of those great performers and singers particularly were just an exciting opening for me that led to all these great adventures that I had later on.”
You can watch the rest of the interview below.