20th August 1948, West Bromwich, Staffs.

Robert Anthony Plant

Robert Plant would become one of the most important vocalists in 20th Century rock music. However, in 1966 he had already been in several bands. He joined Listen from the The Crawling King Snakes. The rest of the group were John Crutchley, Roger Beaver and Geoff Thompson. A very young and intense Plant can be seen with the guitar in the photo above. For a short period they were very popular around the local area playing at Walsall Town Hall and other local venues.

The group was regarded as a Tamla Motown style band with something of a Mod image. Noddy Holder worked as their Roadie for a month or so at the beginning of 1966 when he was between bands. Ironically, Noddy soon joined The 'N Betweens who released You Better Run in December 1966 just before Listen released their version of the same song as reported here in the December '66 issue of Midland Beat mag. The 'N Betweens version caught the public attention and Listen missed out.

In 1967 the group broke up and Plant joined drummer John Bonham in the Band Of Joy, a band that had actually been his idea and creation. He had known Bonham from the The Crawling King Snakes and, of course, from the Bonham family who ran a local public house. Jon Bonham's Uncle that ran the Three Men In A Boat. 15 year old Billy Bonham was a mult-talented musician that played for the local Walsall outfit called Prim n' Proper. Plant stayed there for a couple of years around 1966-ish, which is how he knew Holder, they lived a few hundred yards from each other.

When Holder was between groups he tried to get another band together..nothing happened obviously but he practised at the ...Boat with Pete Bickley, Bill Bonham (the Landlords son) and who ever might be around at the time. Bill Bonham told Chris Selby that Holder was trying to get a sound similar to The Beatles - I'm Down.

Also from the Dec. 1966 Midland Beat magazine.

The Band Of Joy meanwhile, were crossing Blues with Psychedelia and generating a bit of excitement. In 1968, Jimmy Page was looking for a new singer for his band. He approached Terry Reid who sent him to a Band Of Joy gig. The rest, as they say, is history but not Slade history.

Trivia: Robert Plant was a very good dancer, so good in fact, he won a Dance Competition once. One of the judges was Janice Nicholls the "THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS " TV girl.


Bastardised in part from the excellent 2002 online book by Keith Farley. 'N Between Times: an Oral History of the Wolverhampton Group Scene of the 1960s. It's certainly worth a read.


The Perfume Terrorist said...

What a treasure! I love Slade, but I am always thrilled to read about Robert Plant, so thank you for this little gem of an article!

Anonymous said...

Prim n Proper mentioned in the text were a great mod band from walsall who played around the same scene as plant and holder. Where are they now - Bill Bonham, Martin Simpson, Dennis Shaw and Bob W?

Anonymous said...

Prim n Proper split up in 1967-68.

Bill Bonham ended up in the USA whilst Martin Simpson & Mick Holland both became professional Karate Instructors ( Mick in Walsall , Martin in Poole) . I have no idea what happened to Dennis and Bob....

Great site,

Mick Holland (Prim n Proper 1965-1967)

Dennis Shaw said...

Re Prim n Proper. After the break up of the band, Dennis and Martin went on to play with local soul outfit "Sound Syndicate". When this band finished Dennis became a local DJ with a regular Sunday slot at Aldridge Com. Centre. Dennis is now living in North Devon and became a teacher! He still plays with local bands and has recently started a serious search to find Martin. Where is he? Can anyone help?

Dennis Shaw. 26.03.2014

Mickey P. said...

Are you on "STORIES FROM BANDS OF THE 60`S/70`S/80`s whatever!" page on Facebook Dennis? Some great faces on there.

Unknown said...

Hey Dennis,

I have been searching for Martin too. We spent years training together, I would visit him in Poole and he would come and see me in Wednesbury.

I hope he is OK

Mick Holland