By RAMON PRESSON

Haven’t you ever wished you could meet and interview one of your favorite musicians, actors, or athletes about a particular moment in their career and ask the question, “What in the world made you think THAT was a good idea?”

I recently had the opportunity (albeit completely imaginary) to sit down with one of my favorite musicians, a successful solo artist and the former lead singer of the greatest rock band of all time, Led Zeppelin. I’m speaking, of course, about Robert Plant.

After asking Robert what product he uses in his hair, and after inquiring about the meaning of such Zeppelin lyrics as “If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow don’t be alarmed now, it’s just a spring clean for the May queen,” I got around to posing the question regarding the issue I’ve been grappling with since 1984.

Ramon: Robert, as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all-time fronting the greatest rock band of all-time, your first big hit as a solo artist was a tune so sappy that not even Barry Manilow or Neil Diamond would touch it — “Sea of Love.” So, I have to ask, “Dude, what were you thinking?”

Robert: Zeppelin never had a number one hit on the adult contemporary charts and I saw this as my chance. After he left the Commodores, I watched Lionel Richie camp out at the top of the easy listening charts in 1983. I wanted a piece of that. I even named my band The Honey Drippers.

Ramon: Yep, that should’ve been our clue. But why “Sea of Love”? Couldn’t you have done a mellow acoustic version of “Whole Lotta Love” or “When the Levee Breaks”? Robert, just look at these lyrics:

 

Do you remember when we met?

That’s the day I knew you were my pet

I want to tell you, how much I love you.

 

Come with me, my love, to the sea

The sea of love

I want to tell you, just how much I love you.

 

Do you remember when we met?

Oh, that’s the day I knew you were my pet

I want to tell you, oh, how much I love you

 

Come with me to the sea of love

Come with me, my love, to the sea

The sea of love

 

I want to tell you just how much I love you

I want to tell you, oh, how much I love you

 

Robert: Catchy isn’t it?

Ramon: Well, it’s certainly not difficult to remember the lyrics. I’ve seen less repetition in a children’s lullaby and more redundancy in a haiku. Only Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” recites the same few words more than this song does.

Robert: Oh, that explains it. The first time I heard that song I thought the needle was stuck.

Ramon: OK, help me with this line: “That’s the day I knew you were my pet.” Even back in ’84 I don’t believe that women responded well to being called a “pet.” It implies not only ownership, but something subservient like a cat or a dog, or something to be kept in a cage like a hamster.

Robert: I believe you’re really overthinking it, lad. I just needed something that rhymed with “met.”

Ramon: And then there’s the video. Robert, I watched your music video for Sea of Love https://bit.ly/1hNYUog and…well, I thought you had been abducted by aliens and replaced with an actor from an ’80s soap opera. And the guy in the Speedo who can’t decide whether or not to play the xylophone — good Lord, what was that?

Robert: Well, I was hoping the music video would help the song be picked up for use in a commercial for a woman’s shampoo and conditioner. That’s where the big money is, you know. Royalties for TV commercial jingles.

Ramon: This is crushing my Zeppelin soul. We need to stop.

Robert: Wait, do you want to hear about my upcoming tour with Barbara Streisand and Engelbert Humperdinck.

Ramon. No. No, I do not.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at ramonpresson@gmail.com. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson

 

 

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