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World Cafe Looks Back: Robert Plant

Throughout the month of October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Cafe by revisiting some of the best and most memorable interviews of the past 20 years.

Today's episode of World Cafe is a celebration of Robert Plant. He's been a major figure in rock for more than 40 years, from leading Led Zeppelin to maintaining both a successful solo career and many award-winning collaborations. Most importantly, his deep understanding of blues-rock and willingness to push his own boundaries has left a lasting impression on artists all over the world.

Plant has been on World Cafe several times. In a 2007 interview (one of our best), he talks about discovering the music of Alison Krauss, an accomplished vocalist and fiddler who's been instrumental in bringing folk and bluegrass to a wider audience. Their Grammy-winning collaboration, Raising Sand, was recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles with legendary producer T-Bone Burnett, and finds the duo interpreting blues, R&B, folk and country by classic songwriters.

With his backing band Strange Sensation, Plant came by in 2005 after the release of The Mighty Rearranger, a blend of world and Western music that features World Cafe favorite "Shine It All Around." His co-writer Justin Adams joined Plant, and the two discuss their inspiring trip to Mali and the Festival of the Desert.

Finally, we'll revisit a 2002 interview, in which Plant tells one of his funniest stories — it involves pledging to a Portland public radio station so it would never again play "Stairway to Heaven."

This segment originally aired on October 14, 2011.

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