Over the past week, BBC Radio 2 has broadcast separate interviews with three of the most famous names in British rock: Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones), Eric Clapton (Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and The Dominos), and Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin, Band of Joy). The three musicians, who each achieved worldwide fame through their recordings and their performances during the heyday of British rock ’n’ roll in the 1960s and 1970s, spoke at length about their musical inspirations and their current activities, and made it clear that their connection to the making of music remains as strong as ever.
Keith Richards, whose new autobiography, Life, has quickly become a bestseller, told wry stories of his early years with The Rolling Stones, and expressed his abiding love for the music of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf, among others. Eric Clapton,
whose musical life always has been shaped by the blues that he heard in his youth, spoke about the process of choosing vintage songs to record for his new album, Clapton. Robert Plant offered memories of his youthful start as a musician, and explained his particular intention in creating the new music that is featured on his latest album, Band of Joy.
Although Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Robert Plant are now in their sixties, with many years of fame and experience behind them, the interviews on BBC Radio 2 made it quite evident that for each of them, music still is an object of deep interest and a source of great happiness. In spite of their age, their general outlook maintains the freshness and the curiosity that first enabled them to become standout musicians. The younger musicians of today, who tend to prefer the digital wizardry of a computer to the raw sound of an electric guitar, could learn a great deal from them.