Number Ones: #126


  • ROBERT PLANT Heaven Knows (Atlantic/Es Paranza)
  • Week Ending 5th March 1988
  • 2 Weeks At #1

As evidenced by the likes of Whitesnake and The Mission, aping the classic Led Zeppelin sound was coming back into vogue. So who could blame Robert Plant for thinking to himself, “hey I’d like a bit of this, thanksverymuch”, and emerging from a solo career slump with his best record in years.

The studio technology had been tamed, and now served the material rather than dictating its style. Plant hired some young guns to bring a bit of zip and zest to proceedings, while the glossy widescreen synth textures sounded genuinely impressive rather than trend-chasing.

Heaven Knows was essentially a bit of clever wordplay set to a chiming, martial beat, with some razor-sharp guitar licks splashed liberally over it. State-of-the-art stuff. It may not sound like a real, live band and all that authentic nonsense, but this is 1988. Everyone (well, almost everyone) wanted their records to sound pristine, rather than pretend it was still 1973.

Aided by an enthusiastic Johnnie Walker on Radio 1, not to mention a glowing album review in Q magazine, Now & Zen – and this single – turned me on to Robert Plant’s music in a major way.  It even managed to hit the UK Top 40 for a week or two, his first flirtation with the charts since Big Log made #11 in the summer of 1983.

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