Achilles Last Stand, Robert Plant injury, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin Presence

Radio.com Minimation: Robert Plant Recalls Recording a Led Zeppelin Classic from a Wheelchair

By Brian Ives 

On Minimation, we comb through the archives of legendary New York radio station WNEW-FM and animate interviews with legendary rock artists. In this archival interview, Robert Plant recalls the recording of Led Zeppelin‘s “Achilles Last Stand.”

These days, relations seem a bit chilly between former Led Zeppelin bandmates Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. That may be because while Page has made it known that he would have loved to reactivate Led Zeppelin after their triumphant 2007 reunion concert, Plant was clear that the show, for him, was always a one-off, and that he had no intent to rejoin the band that made him famous.

Related: Robert Plant Turned Down Nine-Figure Payday to Reunite Led Zeppelin

But back in the day, Page and Plant were pretty tight. During the recording of 1976’s Presence, Plant was on the disabled list, moving around with the help of a wheelchair or crutches following a serious car accident in Greece the year before.

As anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be on crutches knows, you have to watch the ground, lest your crutch get caught in something and you fall. And, as anyone who has been in a recording studio knows, there are lots of wires and cables on the floor.

And so it happened that the legendary frontman took a pretty harsh spill on the studio floor. As Plant recalled in this interview, Page raced from the control room to help him out. “He was like an Olympic athlete! I’d never seen him move so fast in my life!”

It’s not an image we’re used to thinking about. Luckily Max Werkmeister, who animated the video above, helps us visualize it.

Related: See more Radio.com Minimation Episodes

The good news was, although the fall was painful, Plant didn’t re-injure anything, thanks to the fact that he was wearing a cast. And after getting that diagnosis from his doctor, he went right back into the studio, and recorded the epic 10-minute-plus Zeppelin classic, “Achilles Last Stand.”

If you don’t already have Presence in your collection—wait, are you nuts?—don’t get it just yet, because later this year, Zeppelin will release an expanded, reamastered version of the album. And speaking of remastered albums, on Feb. 24 they’ll reissue the previous album, 1975’s Physical Graffiti. 

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