Underappreciated '80s: Robert Plant, "Heaven Knows"
Robert Plant had his first and only truly massive solo hit in 1988 with "Tall Cool One" from his smash album Now and Zen. This single was so popular that Coke subsequently bought the rights to use the song in its ads, a sure--albeit sad--sign of obscene success.
Much more impressive, but less well remembered, is the opening track of the album, "Heaven Knows," which features the former Led Zeppelin lead singer at his best.
Although he didn't write the lyrics, Plant couldn't have picked better words to start off his first true solo album since 1985:
A brand new human being
Razor sharp, all firm and tan
All clean, all pure
With a 30 second attention span
Look at that album cover. He DID look razor sharp, after some questionable fashion and musical choices in the early and middle '80s. (Not to mention that it was good to see him again embracing, at least visually, the vibe of "Kashmir.")
"Heaven Knows" moved quickly enough between verses, chorus, and interludes to prove that a 30 second attention span wasn't all bad. Especially with lyrics like this, which would have seemed much cheesier coming from a less smooth voice:
Now I find myself fully occupied
And half alive
With your hands, heart, arms, and legs
Wrapped around my family pride
Not that I really wanted to picture a middle-aged Plant in such a position ... but it was good to HEAR him back in the proverbial saddle.
Especially when we get a Zep-era scream at the end of the bridge, when he follows the word "anything" with an eleven-syllable rendering of the word "goes."