What Rob Halford Learned From Robert Plant
Rob Halford said he learned an important lesson about singing by listening to Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant.
The Judas Priest frontman also named his two other favorite singers, while becoming emotional as he recalled the last time he saw Motorhead leader Lemmy Kilmister before his death in 2015.
Asked during an online Q&A about his top singers, Halford told Classic Rock, “It’s a pretty straightforward choice. One would be Ronnie James Dio; I listen to him nearly every day. I’d have to pick my mate Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, who is phenomenal. And let’s go with one from the very beginning of this form of music – Robert Plant.”
Halford noted that he "always enjoyed the bluesier elements of [Plant's] vocals and the ‘oooh’s and ‘aaah’s that they threw in were important. They may not have been words, but Planty taught me how to connect on an emotional basis with that type of phrasing.”
He went on to admit that he found Priest’s ballads the most difficult to perform. “I can really let rip on the screaming metal ones - I feel loose, free and comfortable on those,” Halford said. “It’s a song like ‘Beyond the Realms of Death,’ ‘Angel’ or the acoustic version of ‘Diamonds and Rust’ [that's] the most difficult. Anything that demands an enormous amount of tension becomes harder as you get older. You really have to zone in and focus more.”
Asked about his favorite Kilmister story, Halford shared a “bittersweet” moment. “After a South American tour together, we were heading back to Los Angeles," he recalled. "Lemmy had been sitting by himself, and you generally didn’t want to get too close to him if that was the case, but I went and said thanks for a great tour. We had a bit of a chat and internally I felt something was going to happen.”
Pausing to compose himself, Halford continued: “I asked him for a selfie and he said fuck off, but we took it anyway, and it’s the last photograph of me and Lemmy together. I still miss Lem and everything he stands for in rock ’n’ roll. But the music will last forever. That’s what I tell myself whenever I’m feeling down.”