Wednesday, September 29, 2021

"Ship of Fools" by Robert Plant

Song#:  3628
Date:  08/27/1988
Debut:  91
Peak:  84
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  Plant's fourth solo album, Now and Zen, would be his biggest selling eventually going triple-platinum. That was in part thanks to the Led Zeppelin sample-laden track "Tall Cool One" that got to #1 at Rock and #25 Pop. The LP also included three other Rock Top 10s including the #1 "Heaven Knows" and this ballad which made it to #3. The song crossed over to the Pop chart, but it only hung around for a brief month. Plant's next album, 1990's Manic Nirvana, would yield his last Pop chart single with the #46 "Hurting Kind (I've Got My Eyes on You)" (#1 Rock). The LP would be a gold seller as would his 1993 effort Fate of Nations. After that LP, Plant took a bit of a break from being a solo artist and released a couple of albums with his ol' Zep bandmate Jimmy Page. He would pick back up on his solo career in 2002 and has since released several albums. He started picking up Grammy nods as a solo or collaborative artist beginning in 1993 and has since won seven Grammys from fifteen nominations. In addition, as part of Led Zeppelin he received one Grammy from two nominations generated by their 2012 live album Celebration Day.

ReduxReview:  Releasing a ballad after the bombastic "Tall Cool One" was a good choice, but this song wasn't necessarily Pop chart material. It sort of meanders about with not much in the way of a hooky chorus. Let's just say it wasn't going to be any competition for the hard rock power ballads storming the chart. It was a better fit for Rock radio and it indeed did well there. I like the song. It's atmospheric and kind of gently rolls along like a ship on the water. It was a lovely album track that didn't translate well to a pop single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Amazingly, during Led Zeppelin's main era from 1969 to 1980, the only Grammy nomination they ever got was for Best New Artist. Considering that six of their eight studio albums all reached #1, sold millions of copies, and were critical favorites, the lack of any other Grammy nods is mystifying (note that their second album in 1970 did get a tech nomination for Best Recording Package, but that nod went to the artist, not the band). They were, however, awarded the non-competitive Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. Plant later made up for the lack of nods and wins later on in his post-Zep career with his biggest haul coming with his 2007 collaboration album with bluegrass star Alison Krauss Raising Sand. The Americana project would be nominated for five Grammys and would win all five including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. The LP would be a #2 platinum seller.


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