Robert Plant and the Commando Lunge

Here’s one way I know I’m get­ting to be an old fart:

I first saw Led Zep­pelin’s con­cert movie The Song Remains the Same when I was 15, waaay back in 1978.

The­ater sound sys­tems weren’t much bet­ter than a cheap AM radio back then, but although I did­n’t own Charles the Deep Breather or the leg­endary under­dash Pio­neer Super­tuner yet, I had some friends with decent stere­os and I had a pair of Koss head­phones at home, which no doubt con­tributed to my old fart hear­ing, but they did a far job of pound­ing “Whole Lot­ta Love” and “Heart­break­er” and “Dazed and Con­fused” into my skull, so my brain could fill in the son­ic gaps.

It was, how­ev­er, the first time I’d seen what any­one in the band looked like.

I remem­ber think­ing how wicked cool they looked, espe­cial­ly Jim­my Page’s embroi­dered black/silver kimono-jack­et-bell-bot­tom-what­ev­er-the-heck-it-was out­fit.

I thought Robert Plan­t’s hair was cool, but I also thought then, and do now, that his pack­age-bulge, which had white bleach marks or dried splooge or liq­uid paper kan­ji sur­round­ing it, was either a cucum­ber stuffed down his pants a la This Is Spinal Tap, or it was his real pack­age and he had to spend time in the dress­ing room every show rear­rang­ing his junk so the white crap sur­round­ed it just so, but either way it looked uncom­fort­able as hell—not to men­tion that he was obvi­ous­ly singing com­man­do, giv­en that the jeans were tighter than a strip­per’s G‑string, which might have helped him gain an octave or two more range on the high­er notes.

All right already! We get it!

I also remem­ber think­ing the cam­era spent an inor­di­nate amount of time focused on Plan­t’s crotch, lov­ing­ly cap­tur­ing for pos­ter­i­ty his pelvic thrusts for future gen­er­a­tions to study.

Any­way, ear­li­er today I came across1 a lis­ti­cle of inter­est­ing facts about the movie, includ­ing that the movie was shot over a three-day gig at Madi­son Square Gar­den, dur­ing which every­one in the band wore the same out­fit for all the shows except John Paul Jones, who wore dif­fer­ent clothes each day and horked up the movie’s already shaky con­ti­nu­ity.

Zep­pelin’s con­certs were famous for last­ing four hours or more, so I thought Man, those clothes took a seri­ous beat­ing.

This got me to think­ing about oth­er pho­tos and video of their con­certs I’d seen here and there, and after some Googling I ver­i­fied that Robert Plan­t’s bolero-style shirt and pack­age-stran­gling pants, along with Jim­my Page’s kimono-gi-kung-fu-paja­mas thing, appear in dozens of their con­certs from about 1970 up till 1980, when they broke up after John Bon­ham died.

This brought me back around to the triv­ia fac­toid about 75% of the band wear­ing the same clothes for three days in a row. Which in turn made think those out­fits (espe­cial­ly Plan­t’s jeans, which by all rights should have had exter­nal­ly-vis­i­ble per­ma­nent skid marks in back by then) would have been god-awful funky enough to kill the first 20 rows of fans at their con­certs.

Watch Smell Remai—I mean, Song Remains the Same and you’ll notice they’re all drenched in sweat, and giv­en their noto­ri­ety for debauch­ery and par­ty­ing on the road, the mun­dane swamp-crack fra­grance suf­fered by we mere mor­tals had to be an epic, eye-water­ing melange of sweat, booze, tobac­co, pot, hotel carpet/drapes, smegma/sanitary napkin/splooge/swamp crack/smog/overflowing toilet/mace/sewer/sushi/caviar/effluvia abom­i­na­tion that would gag a vul­ture.

I mean hell, when I was still healthy enough to train in Kem­po and work out almost every day, my cup and gi pants (even though I had sev­er­al of each, washed them after a sin­gle use and wore a clean one every day) got so funky so fast I had to ditch them every cou­ple months.

All that to say I’m sure glad John Waters’ Smell-O-Vision idea nev­er got off the ground.


  1. “Came across”! Uh-huh-huh-huh-huh! He said “Came across”! It’s a post about Robert Plan­t’s wed­ding sausage and he said “Came across”!

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