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Robert Plant Reveals Why He Lost at Karaoke Despite Being ‘Really Good’



Despite having both the lungs and the experience, Robert Plant admitted he’s only done karaoke a few times. For the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, getting up to sing in front of a crowd on his night off is probably like us regular folks answering emails from our boss over the weekend. It’s kind of a drag.

However, Plant admitted he sometimes couldn’t help himself when booze was involved. 

Robert Plant was ‘outdone’ while performing karaoke in China 

It takes a lot for a legend like Plant to admit someone topped his performance. But in a 2005 interview with Rolling Stone, that’s exactly what he did. When asked what inspired him to do karaoke, the Led Zeppelin singer quipped, “Vodka.”

He then described how he was “outdone” while performing an Elvis song in China years ago. 

“In China, it’s a big deal, so I said, ‘Let me do ‘It’s Now or Never,’ by Elvis, so I can really bring the house down!’ But this guy from Taiwan was better than me. He did ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon,’ by Tony Orlando and Dawn. When he was done, I thought, ‘Fuck me!’ I was outdone by a Taiwanese guy singing Tony Orlando.”


Plant’s account of the night changed a bit as the years passed, and by the time he appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2018, the man who had “outdone” him at karaoke also sang an Elvis song. The end of his story remained relatively the same, though. 

Despite claiming he was “really, really good,” the crowd went for the man he was competing against. Plant concluded his story by saying, “In Beijing 22 years ago, I was beaten by a Taiwanese Elvis impersonator.”

Robert Plant impersonated Elvis when they met

Before singing Elvis’ song at karaoke night, Plant sang it to the King himself. In 1974, Led Zeppelin saw Elivs perform at the Forum in Los Angeles and later met him backstage. Despite previous reports that Elvis was standoffish during the meeting, Plant shared pleasant memories of the evening. He described the encounter on The Late Show with David Letterman in 2011. 

“We talked for about an hour and a half. The amazing thing is, it was so natural and funny. Of course, music was the key. We definitely talked about what his music meant to us. Elvis said, ‘What are your music roots?’ And we all had the same roots — that sort of blues out of Memphis and Mississippi… Elvis wanted to know which song of his we liked. I said, ‘Well, I like loads of ’em, but I do like this song called ‘Love Me.’ [Plant sings] ‘You can treat me like a fool…’”

Elvis made him cry

While it’s unknown if the King was impressed by Plant’s impersonation, he didn’t leave the classic rock musician hanging for long. After they had said their goodbyes and began to leave, Elvis surprised everyone with an impromptu sing-along. 

“As we went out in the corridor heading toward the elevator,” Plant recalled, “suddenly Elvis swings around the door and yells, ‘Hey Robert!’ He started singing, ‘Treat me like a fool, treat me mean and cruel, but love me,’ and I started singing to him, and we were all crying.” 


To have been a fly on the wall for that moment!

Source: Cheat Sheet

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