Robert Plant made a pact with his wife before he found success, agreeing that he’d quit the music business if it didn't work out by the time he was 20.

He says the first Led Zeppelin rehearsal in 1968 confirmed that he wouldn’t have to give up on his ambitions, as Jimmy Page assembled a new Yardbirds lineup with John Bonham and John Paul Jones.

“I was 19, soon to be 20,” Plant says in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “Once John’s wife finally gave him permission to come to a rehearsal — because Pat always said, ‘Keep away from Plant, because you’re just going to end up broke and in trouble’ … in that room, on that afternoon, when we kicked in with a bunch of songs that nobody really knew … I knew that I was in a room full of giants, really – and that was it.”

He continued: “By 1973, what happened in that one room had exploded into some of the most adventurous non-rock rock that you could ever wish to find, and it was just the sum of the parts. Those guys were just insanely good. And it was as if everybody had just been waiting for each other with whatever happened prior to that. It was just like, bang!”

Plant also discussed Led Zeppelin’s association with “debauchery and sexism,” connecting it to songs by the blues pioneers he came to love.

“It was loaded with innuendo, everything,” he said. “It was almost like showtime, and it didn’t just stop there. With rock ’n’ roll singers it was almost pantomime, and it’s a thing of the past now. It was another time, and there was nothing sort of malevolent or base. It was just part of the time.”

Asked if he was bothered by the lingering connections, Plant replied: “I just look back and go, ‘How did all that happen like that?’ The criteria of the time was such. It’s not a copout; it’s just these days are different. … Obviously, I was developing all the time with what I felt and what I was surrounded by.”

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