The “absurd” suggestion of a feud between Robert Plant and Ian Anderson

A couple of the most important musicians of their day were Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin. Even though they both experienced great transatlantic success and even went on tour together, there has been a persistent rumor for decades of a falling out between their respective frontmen, Ian Anderson and Robert Plant.

The history of the tale begins with an American tour in the 1970s that saw Jethro Tull open for Led Zeppelin. Certain accounts claim that because of the chilly relations between both bands throughout that tour, Anderson and Plant have harbored some contempt for one another. According to rumors, late Zeppelin drummer John Bonham even referred to the band backstage as “Jethro Dull” and dubbed their performance “Bore ’em At The Forum.”

Since the set list and planned repartee were identical each night, there were rumors that Zeppelin was dissatisfied with their backing band and the consistency of their performance. Given that it went against their vast improvisational nature, Zeppelin considered it all too dull and said that the careful preparation detracted from the musical intensity.

There have also been long-standing accusations of a rivalry between Robert Plant and Jethro Tull, with Plant allegedly being antagonistic and keeping his distance. But Anderson made a move in 2020 to wrap up the tale. Plant might have been far away, but there was definitely not the intense rivalry that the public and media thought there was. The story seemed “absurd” to him.

Anderson told to EonMusic, “While Mr. Google is an endless source of amusement and fun, as indeed is his sroeecond cousin, Mr. Wiki, we can’t always believe what we read. Some things do get endlessly copied and pasted, and they’re based on some sort of folklorish or even scurrilous untruth in the first place. So when people ask me about my ‘feud’ with Robert Plant, then they can expect a sharp retort, because there was never a feud between me and Robert Plant. It’s one of these absurd things that seems to come up.”

To shed light on the situation, Anderson stated that he and Plant didn’t usually communicate when traveling. He remarked, “Led Zeppelin were Led Zeppelin; they were rock gods, and we were the humble support act. We rarely spoke, particularly to Robert, who was on a higher plane, as a vocalist, and as a person. Jimmy Page was a little bit more friendly, but Bonham, you steered a mile away from, because he was a raving nutcase! He was always polite enough to me, but I probably just saw him on a rare good mood.”

Robert Plant would be equally perplexed by the story of a quarrel. According to Anderson, the leader of Led Zeppelin and he got together a few years after the alleged altercation: “He said, ‘I hope we can put that behind us,’ and I said, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘Whatever it as we are supposed to be feuding about,’ and I said, ‘Exactly!’ We never had a feud, because we didn’t really communicate.”

The infamous stories that Led Zeppelin were “hell-raisers who barged their way across America… [were] probably wildly exaggerated,” according to Anderson.

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