Song 182: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” (1994)


The hype for the (ugh) “Unledded” performance by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on MTV Unplugged was pretty insane. At least, that’s how I remember it; it’s possible that I was so into Led Zeppelin and classic rock radio that I just assumed everybody was obsessed with the duo teaming up again.

I wasn’t exactly let down by the results, but it made me realize that not everything is helped by a slimmed-down approach. Some songs, like the already acoustic “Thank You,” didn’t get more interesting by barely scaling back. What I did love was the revamped version of “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” a gospel number that the band reworked into a scorching blues track for their record Presence, and appearing on No Quarter as a swampy stomp of a song.

I love the section that starts around 1:50 in the video below, when Plant yells, “Take it on! Take it on!” (or whatever he actually says) and the hurdy gurdy churns along (can a hurdy gurdy churn? Poetic license!). It sounds fantastic, moving the song at a just-fast-enough pace. Whereas Led Zeppelin’s version of this song seemed fueled by anger, the Page and Plant rendition is more about coming to terms with owed debts and missed opportunities. I wonder if their old age accounts for this approach (Page was 50 when No Quarter was released and Plant was 46; they were respectively 32 and 28 for Presence), or if they simply wanted to try something new.


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