Karac Plant

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Karac Pendra Plant (20 April 1972 - 26 July 1977) was the son of Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant. Karac Plant was born in Worcestershire, England. He was the youngest brother of Carmen Plant, and the first son of Robert and Maureen Plant (née Wilson). His middle name Pendra, is a shortened form of Pendragon (Welsh: warlord). 'Pendragon' is from Caractacus Caradog Pendragon (AD 6 - 54), a historical Celtic chieftain and the main Welsh leader of the Catuvellauni tribe. He led the native Briton resistance to the Roman conquest of Britain.

Karac Plant appeared uncredited in the Led Zeppelin 1976 film The Song Remains the Same, at the Plant family's Welsh country farm originally filmed in late 1973.

He was also a passenger in Robert and Maureen Plant's car involved in an accident on the Greek island of Rhodes on 4 August 1975.[1] The Plant family were seriously injured when their hired Austin Mini skidded off the road and collided with a tree. In the back-seat, Karac suffered cuts and bruises. In an interview with People magazine on 20 December 1976, Robert said about his son: 'We call him Baby Austin after that Bionic Man. He knows no fear, has no anticipation of danger. I envy him.'[2]

Karac died aged six, while Robert was in the United States on Led Zeppelin's 1977 North American tour. After leaving Oakland, California, on-board Caesar's Chariot, drummer John Bonham, tour manager Richard Cole, and Plant headed to New Orleans for Led Zeppelin's concert at the Louisiana Superdome, the site of their next show. The governor of Louisiana was also planning on awarding them with the titles of honorary colonels. Within hours of arriving and checking in at the Maison Dupuy hotel, Robert received a call from his wife Maureen at the family's farmhouse near Kidderminster, Worcestershire. The first phone call said his son was sick, and within the next two hours later, she informed Robert that Karac had passed away.[3] Earlier Karac had felt ill and been ordered to bed by the family doctor, but his condition deteriorated. Maureen called an ambulance but he failed to respond to treatment and died on the way to Kidderminster General Hospital on Tuesday 26 July 1977. Robert Plant was shocked and devastated. An autopsy held on Monday 1 August 1977, revealed Karac had died from natural causes. Only a week earlier Carmen had become ill with a stomach enteritis which may have been the same virus which affected Karac.[4]

On the morning of 27 July 1977, band manager Peter Grant held a press conference in the lobby of the Maison Dupuy hotel, and announced the cancellation of the 30 July concert at Superdome, as well as the shows for Chicago (3 August) and Buffalo (6 August). 80,000 tickets for the Superdome had already been sold. The remaining tour dates were cancelled a week later. Plant, Cole, Bonham, and Plant's personal assistant Dennis Sheehan, immediately flew back home to England on the next available commercial flight via Newark to Heathrow, London on British Airways. Because of the short turn around in time, Caesar's Chariot was unavailable. Bonham and Plant then flew via private jet to Birmingham, and were met by Robert's father at Birmingham airport, who stated: 'Karac was the apple of Robert's eye. They idolized one another.'[5] The Plant family were shielded from the media and instead Swan Song Records representative Moira Bellas spoke on their behalf. Karac's funeral and cremation was held in the first week of August 1977, in the old county of Hereford and Worcester.

His passing had an immediate and profound effect on Robert and the future of Led Zeppelin.[6] For months Plant did not want to leave his family and farm in the West Midlands, and he briefly thought about leaving the music business altogether, to become a teacher in the Rudolf Steiner method.[7] It was only after Bonham's assurances that he decided to make a tentative return to public life at the end of April 1978.

Plant would dedicate the tune 'All My Love' to Karac, and in 1993, Plant released the song 'I Believe' which put into words his thoughts he kept for years to himself over the grief of losing his son.[8] The song 'Carouselambra' is also believed to be linked to the events surrounding Karac's passing.

References

  1. Shadwick, Keith (2005). “Unforseen Circumstances”, Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music: 1968-1980. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 243. ISBN 978-0-87930-871-1. OCLC 224513955. 
  2. Jerome, Jim (20 December 1976). "Heavy Metal Gods". People 6 (25): 70. ISSN 0093-7673. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  3. Shadwick, Keith (2005). “Nobody's Fault but Mine”, Led Zeppelin: The Story of a Band and Their Music: 1968-1980. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 274. ISBN 978-0-87930-871-1. OCLC 224513955. 
  4. Mylett, Howard (1981). Led Zeppelin. London: Granada, 169. ISBN 978-0-586-04390-5. OCLC 463589001. 
  5. July 26, 1977: Plant Family Tragedy / Remaining Dates Cancelled. LedZeppelin.com. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  6. Daniels, Neil (2008). Robert Plant: Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page and the Solo Years. Church Stretton: Independent Music Press, 78. ISBN 978-0-9552822-7-0. OCLC 319207623. 
  7. Clinton, Jane. Robert Plant: I nearly quit Led Zeppelin, Daily Express, Northern and Shell Media, 31 October 2010. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.
  8. Frost, Deborah (September 1993). "Last of the Red-Hot Rock Stars". Spin 9 (6): 64. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved on 28 December 2013.