If Led Zeppelin fans were taken aback at the increasing number of synthesizers on the final proper Zep album In Through The Out Door, a product of vocalist Robert Plant and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones huddling together at the exclusion of guitarist Jimmy Page, they may have completely revolted when faced with Plant’s early ’80s solo output. Awash in keys, synth flourishes and even some drum machines, Plant’s solo work edged closer and closer to New Wave with each release, culminating in 1985 with a straight-ahead synthpop single, “Little By Little”, complete with club mixes.
But first (there’s my Julie Chen impersonation for you!), Plant had a breakthrough on the Top 40 charts with a couple of singles from 1983’s (Best Year for Music Ever!) The Principle of Moments, starting with the plodding, Zeppelin-ish “Big Log”, but it was the lazy-sunshine-y, sublime, synth-soaked “In The Mood” that made non-Zep fans’ ears perk up. As a black-hair-dyed in the wool New Waver, I normally wouldn’t be caught dead with a Led Zep LP, but “In The Mood” made me buy a cassette of Principle… and crank it in my Walkman daily during my paper route.
And the rest of the album didn’t disappoint. Far from squealing bluesy guitar workouts, the disc is full of evocative mood pieces like a particular favorite, “Thru’ With The Two Step”, which swings from a dark synth intro to an AOR guitar ballad to a near waltz within 5:32, all held together by a enjoyably restrained Plant performance. It’s quite a feat.
Plant went even further into New Wave territory with his next album, Shaken & Stirred, but that’s another story for another time…
“In The Mood” peaked at #39 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #4 on the Mainstream Rock Charts in 1983.
“Thru’ With The Two Step” was an album track.
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