Friday, February 23, 2018

"Little By Little" by Robert Plant

Song#:  2325
Date:  05/18/1985
Debut:  80
Peak:  36
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Plant got his first Top 10 Pop hit outside of Led Zeppelin when "Sea of Love," a cover song recorded with his side band/project The Honeydrippers, made it to #3. The associated album also did well, but instead of following it up with another Honeydrippers effort, Plant decided to get back to his own solo music. For his third album, Shaken 'n' Stirred, Plant chose to move away from some of the commercial rock elements of his previous albums (which netted him the #20 Pop hit "Big Log") and lean towards something more experimental. While the bulk of the album did take on that feel, Plant still made room for this radio-ready rock track that got issued as the LP's first single. It caught on a Rock and became his second to top that chart. The song was able to cross over to Pop where it peaked just inside the Top 40. However, besides the #18 Rock track "Sixes and Sevens," the LP didn't have anything further to offer. It seemed that Plant's less accessible approach couldn't fully attract the same audience that made his first two solo albums Top 10 platinum hits. The new effort could only get to #20 and go gold.

ReduxReview:  This chorus-less song tries to hook you in via its jittery keyboard lick and the repetitive title line. It's atmospheric, dark, and a solid fit for Rock radio with its extended instrumental sections. It's not really the stuff that pop dreams are made of, so I was a bit surprised when the single climbed into the Top 40. My guess is that his earlier track record along with the Honeydrippers hit helped the song get more airplay at Pop. It's an interesting tune, but not one that comes to mind quickly when thinking about Plant's catalog.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  The drums on Plant's previous two solo albums were mainly provided by Phil Collins. For the new LP, Plant decided to bring in drummer Richie Hayward for the sessions. Hayward was a founding member of the successful rock band Little Feat. He would remain with that band from 1969 through to 2009 (he died in 2010). During that time, the band, headed up by Lowell George (who died in '79), would issue a series of highly regarded albums including what many considered their masterpiece, 1973's Dixie Chicken. While a handful of their albums made the chart, the band never had a Pop chart entry. Along the way, Hayward would co-write a few of the band's songs. He also got songwriting credit on some of the tracks on Plant's album as most of the tracks were written during the recording sessions, so band members who helped shape the tunes got songwriting credit.


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