I was working my ass off before joining Zeppelin. A lady I really dearly loved said, “Right. It’s me or your fans.” Not that I had fans, but I said, “I can’t stop, I’ve got to keep going.” She’s quite content these days, I imagine. She’s got a washing machine that works by itself and a little sports car. We wouldn’t have anything to say anymore. I could probably relate to her, but she couldn’t relate to me. I’d be smiling too much. Ten years gone, I’m afraid. Anyway, there’s a gamble for you.
Plant added lyrics to a then-instrumental track that became “Ten Years Gone,” a swirling vortex of guitar overdubs to rival the guitar-layering gold standard “Hotel California.”
In 1965, Plant’s future success was far from certain but his talent had begun to become an open secret in the musical underground. It’s never a good idea to issue an ultimatum, and anybody who receives one should walk on the spot, but it’s especially bad to give one when you have more to lose than the other person. In the lady’s defense, there are many, many musicians hoping to become the next Buddy Holly, Mick Jagger or Axl Rose, many of them just as talented as the chart-topping artists, who never come close to making it.