Plant's solo debut, 1982's PICTURES AT ELEVEN, hit #5 on Billboard®'s pop albums chart, and featured the talents of blues guitarist Robbie Blunt and Phil Collins on drums. Stand-out tracks include "Burning Down One Side... more »," "Pledge Pin," and "Slow Dancer." Two bonus rarities include a live version of "Like I've Never Been Gone" and "Far Post."« less
Plant's solo debut, 1982's PICTURES AT ELEVEN, hit #5 on BillboardÂ®'s pop albums chart, and featured the talents of blues guitarist Robbie Blunt and Phil Collins on drums. Stand-out tracks include "Burning Down One Side," "Pledge Pin," and "Slow Dancer." Two bonus rarities include a live version of "Like I've Never Been Gone" and "Far Post."
"As some reviewers put here - Pictures At Eleven IS arguably Plant's best album. Somewhat forgotten after more than 20 years, the production still sounds crisp and the band is tight. Many of the songs were co-written with Robbie Blunt, who turned out to be an excellent and distinctive guitarist in his own right - with a sound pleasing to Zep and Page fans.
What did Plant do right here? Well, he went for a solo sound that didn't try too hard to break new musical ground ("pretentious" as one reviewer puts it here). He put out a mature somewhat progressive AOR album, where different styles and arrangements come into play with each track.
"Like I've Never Been Gone" and "Moonlight In Samosa" are classic Plant tracks and highlight his ballad skills. I've always felt that "Like I've Never Been Gone" was the successor to "Since I've Been Loving You" - listen to it and you'll know what I mean.
"Slow Dancer" sees Plant recalling Kashmir and hammering it home while "Worse Than Detroit" is classic blues rock with some Zep nuances. Both of these could have easily been Zeppelin tracks from another time and place, giving them some special resonance.
"Pledge Pin" is another interesting Plant track which features a great sax solo. Driving this album is its excellent rhythm section, which never lets up.
Worth getting if you're curious about Plant's solo work, like Zep, and want to hear what might've been - had Plant kept the path of the blues. This is the closest tangent from Zep that exists, besides The Firm's "Mean Business" album with Jimmy Page. In subsequent albums, Plant would move further away from his rock and blues roots into synth territory.
In all, Pictures at Eleven makes you nostalgic for the Plant that had just left Led Zeppelin and was finding a new future. Although he's continually evolved as an artist, Pictures at Eleven was a debut album that amazingly still sounds good after all this time.
**Postscript: Strangely, none of the tracks were selected for his Sixty Six to Timbuktu album. The extra tracks on the reissue are nice to have but not indispensable. The sound mixing is a little better but as others point out - it's not a quantum leap. Go Percy!"
Pictures at Eleven - Robert Plant
Christopher | Detroit | 05/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PICTURES AT ELEVEN is a must for the person wishing to find out about Robert Plant, post Led Zeppelin. His 1st solo effort is refreshing and bridges 1970's monster rock with a more progessive 1980's sound. Although Robert's voice is not the same as it was when he was a strapping 20-23 year old, he still has his moments. BURNING DOWN ONE SIDE was the 1st single I heard from the album in 82' and it unfortunately showcases the increased limitations of Robert's vocal range. He sounds strained and the song is too herky jerky, but, albeit listenable. MOONLIGHT IN SAMOSA is one of Robert's best solo pieces with beautiful Spanish guitar work by Robbie Blunt and a nice baratone vocal which has suited Robert well in his later years. PLEDGE PIN is Robert's jump into the 1980's. Very Un-Zep, it's a peppy pop-rock tune with more fine guitar work. A great example of how Robert has really been overlooked for his courage to jump out and experiment. Robert's major nod to his past is SLOW DANCER, which could have been on "Physical Graffiti". It's hypnotizing Indian riff and pounding drums take you to another place, plus it is around 9 minutes long. WORSE THAN DETROIT is probably the worst song on the album. A "B" side shmaltzy throw-away. FAT LIP finds Robert straining to hit or hold onto the higher notes again. LIKE I'VE NEVER BEEN GONE is a hidden near-masterpiece. Gorgeously haunting, there is no escuse for this song never getting attention or radio play. It would have fit nicely on "In Through the Out Door" and would have been a Zep classic had it been. Again, Robert's voice heads downward where it's most comfortable. MYSTERY TITLE sounds like something that was a throw-away from "Presence", but, has a few good moments. The ringing endorsement I have for PICTURES AT ELEVEN is that I've listened to it hundreds of times and never grown tired of it. Despite it's flaws!!!"
A Great Continuation Of The Classic Led Zeppelin Sound And S
The Footpath Cowboy | Kingston, NY United States | 05/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On PICTURES AT ELEVEN, Robert Plant's first solo album, he picks up where his former band's last one, IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR, left off, showing that when drummer John Bonham died in an alcohol-related choking incident in 1980, a lot of work remained unfinished. This album successfully takes the classic Zeppelin sound and style to the next level, and what you get here is where Zeppelin might have gone had Bonham lived. As a result, this CD provides comfort to Zeppelin fans brooding over the demise of their favorite band."
Diman | Piraeus,Greece | 02/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Robert Plant's first solo work and maybe it's his best post-Zep effort. I love every song on this album as much as any Led Zep song. Plant' vocals are superb and every song is written and performed so perfectly that you'll never get tired of this music. I even can't mention any highlights of the album because the whole album is a big highlight :)"
A good group of songs
sauerkraut | 02/05/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pictures at Eleven is a pleasing debut solo album from Robert Plant. All eight of the tracks are listenable and have something to offer. The material is mostly in a straightforward rock musical direction. Also, two of the eight tunes are ballads--"Moonlight in Samosa" and "Like I've Never Been Gone." This release features skilled musicianship, good songwriting, and a taut production. Plant does a nice job with the vocals, too. I also find Robbie Blunt to be a talented guitarist. The drum duties are handled by Phil Collins and Cozy Powell--Collins performs on six songs, while Powell plays on two of the others. Keyboards (nicely played by Jezz Woodroffe) are also used sparingly on seven of the eight tracks; they add a light, attractive seasoning that enhances the material. The tunes that I like the most are "Moonlight in Samosa," "Slow Dancer," and "Fat Lip." The ballad "Moonlight in Samosa" is a charming, well-written song that features really good guitar work from Blunt. The gratifying and atmospheric "Slow Dancer" sounds somewhat different from the rest of the album--it's a smooth, interesting straight-ahead rocker (almost eight minutes long) that sports a progressive edge and exotic-sounding keyboard work. Powell's drumming on "Slow Dancer" is prominent, tight, and forceful. I also like the serene and catchy "Fat Lip." "Pledge Pin" is another likeable straightforward rocker that contains some nice saxophone playing. The CD insert doesn't include the song lyrics. The disc is just over 42 minutes in duration. Pictures at Eleven is enjoyable, consistent, and energetic."