Robert PLANT: Now and Zen LP 1988. Led Zeppelin singer. Jimmy Page the Led Zeppelin guitarist on “Heaven Knows” + “Tall, Cool One”. Check videos + review video

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As the title suggests, Robert Plant’s fourth solo album is both forward- and backward-looking The legendary vocalist surrounded himself with a new band of young but very capable musicians, collaborated for the first time with Phil Johnstone, whose keyboards lend the record a glossy sheen, while a certain Jimmy Page the Led Zeppelin guitarist, plays guitar on the singles Heaven Knows and Tall, Cool One.

Robert spent much of 1986 and 1987 putting together a new band. His regulars were Doug Boyle on guitar, Chris Blackwell on drums, and Phil Johnstone on keyboards. They were later joined by Charlie Jones on bass, succeeding Phil Scragg. Charlie Jones joined up with Plant in more ways than one by marrying his daughter Carmen.

Their first album was Now and Zen, released in February 1988. It met with some success, in part due to the song Tall Cool One and its association with Coca Cola! Jimmy Page played guitar on two of the tracks.

Now and Zen is an album by the former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, released in 1988 under the label Es Paranza. The album made the top 10 in both the U.S. and the UK, reaching #6 in the former, and #10 in the latter. The album was certified triple platinum by the RIAA on September 7, 2001.
With a new band and a new perspective on his music, Plant returned in late 1987 with more of the sound that had previously defined him in Led Zeppelin. Although Plant continued to utilise computerized audio technology in a similar fashion to his previous solo albums, for this album Plant integrated the blues that had all but been abandoned on his most recent album Shaken ‘n’ Stirred (1985). A prominent guitar sound and an exotic feel to the recordings also marked another change in direction for the artist, who now added Middle Eastern tones in songs like “”Heaven Knows””. This is a direction that he would eventually follow in the 1990s with Page and Plant.
The tracks “”Heaven Knows”” and “”Tall Cool One”” featured Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page. (On the liner notes, Page participation on the songs was noted with a Zoso symbol.) In response to the Beastie Boys’ unauthorised sampling of some Led Zeppelin songs on their 1986 album Licensed to Ill, Plant also used samples from Led Zeppelin songs (“”Whole Lotta Love””, “”The Ocean””, “”Black Dog””, and “”Custard Pie””) on “”Tall Cool One””, additionally singing words from “”When the Levee Breaks””.
“”Walking Towards Paradise”” was originally a bonus track available only on CD versions of the album. Rhino Entertainment released a remastered edition of the album, with bonus tracks, on 3 April 2007.
Plant performed “”Ship of Fools””, “”Tall Cool One”” and “”Heaven Knows”” at the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert in 1988. “”Ship of Fools”” was also featured on the final two-hour episode of Miami Vice titled “”Freefall””. It is the musical accompaniment to Crockett and Tubbs return to Miami via motor yacht after rescuing General Bourbon (a thinly veiled Manuel Noriega-type character) from the fictional Central American nation of Costa Morada.
In an interview he gave to Uncut magazine in 2005, Plant commented that “”by the time Now and Zen came out in ’89, it looked like I was big again. It was a Top 10 album on both sides of the Atlantic. But if I listen to it now, I can hear that a lot of the songs got lost in the technology of the time.””

Released 29 February 1988
Recorded Late Fall, Early Winter, 1987
Genre Rock
Length 46:59
Label: Es Paranza Records  – 790 863-1, Es Paranza Records  – WX 149
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK & Europe

Track listing:
“”Heaven Knows”” (David Barratt, Phil Johnstone) – 4:06
“”Dance on My Own”” (Robert Crash, Johnstone, Robert Plant) – 4:30
“”Tall Cool One”” (Johnstone, Plant) – 4:40
“”The Way I Feel”” (Doug Boyle, Johnstone, Plant) – 5:40
“”Helen of Troy”” (Johnstone, Plant) – 5:06
“”Billy Revenge”” (Johnstone, Plant) – 3:34
“”Ship of Fools”” (Johnstone, Plant) – 5:01
“”Why”” (Crash, Plant) – 4:14
“”White, Clean and Neat”” (Johnstone, Plant) – 5:28
“”Walking Towards Paradise”” (Jerry Lynn Williams) – 4:40

Album Chart (1988) Peak Position
Norwegian Albums Chart 12
UK Albums Chart 10
Swedish Albums Chart 18
Canadian RPM Top 100 Chart 4
US Billboard The 200 Albums Chart 6
Australian ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart 27
German Albums Chart 48

Singles:
Year Single Chart Position
1988 “”Heaven Knows”” UK Singles Chart 33
1988 “”Heaven Knows”” US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart 1
1988 “”Heaven Knows”” Canadian RPM Top 100 Chart 65
1988 “”Tall Cool One”” US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart 1
1988 “”Tall Cool One”” UK Singles Chart 87
1988 “”Tall Cool One”” Australian ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart 47
1988 “”Tall Cool One”” US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 25
1988 “”Tall Cool One”” Canadian RPM Top 100 Chart 15
1988 “”Tall Cool One”” US Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart 31
1988 “”Dance on My Own”” US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart 10
1988 “”Ship of Fools”” US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart 3
1988 “”Ship of Fools”” US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 84
1989 “”Walking Towards Paradise”” US Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks Chart 39

Personnel:
Robert Plant – Vocals, Producer
Phil Johnstone – Keyboards, Producer, Programming
Tim Palmer – Producer
Jimmy Page – Guitar (on tracks 1 & 3)
Doug Boyle – Guitar
Phil Scragg – Bass
Chris Blackwell – Drums, Percussion
David Barratt – Programming, Keyboards
Marie Pierre – Vocals (Background)
Toni Halliday – Vocals (Background)
Kirsty MacColl – Vocals (Background)
Robert Crash – Programming
Rob Bozas – Engineer
Martin Russell – Engineer
Richard Evans Design & Art Direction

Additional information

Weight 0.25 kg

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