In an interview, Rob Halford, lead singer of Judas Priest, revealed that Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, had taken him under his wing and acted as a mentor to him. Halford said that Plant had given him valuable advice and guidance throughout his career and that he was grateful for the support and guidance Plant had provided. He also mentioned that Plant helped him to develop his own unique style as a singer and encouraged him to be true to himself.
“As I became a ‘professional’ musician, there weren’t that many heavy metal singers around,” Halford said. “I mean, Ozzy was there. As I’ve said before, I think two of my great singers that I always look to and listen to are Ian Gillan from Deep Purple and Robert Plant. Robert because he did all that screaming and wailing from a blues source, but it showed you, ‘My God, how is he doing that? He’s going into these extreme places.’ So, he was a great mentor and, to a great extent, Ian Gillan as well.”
The frontman continued,
“Roger Daltrey, obviously. Some of the ladies like the great early blues singer; Bessie Smith, for example. Edith Piaf. ‘Why would you say Edith Piaf?’ Just because her voice, my God, is just so incredibly pure. I’m on the more showbiz side of things because I think even now women are in a better place in rock and roll and metal, if I’m using the right words without being canceled. But back in the day, many ladies were marginalized because of that. ‘You’re a chick; chicks don’t make it in rock and roll.’”
Rob Halford named other female artists who have influenced him and added more information to his previous statement.
So, Janis Joplin; is a great example. She was one of the groundbreakers. Mama Cass. These are groundbreaking people. Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick. All these incredible women were again at the forefront of rock, and some hard rock before metal became established. I listened to all those people.”
Rob Halford cites Robert Plant as a major influence on his vocal style, specifically his use of screams and wails. He credits Plant with creating a unique sound rooted in blues and being a guiding light for him. In addition to Plant, Halford also mentions that other artists such as Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, Roger Daltrey, Bessie Smith, Edith Piaf, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, and Grace Slick were also sources of inspiration for him.
It appears that Rob Halford was influenced by a diverse range of musicians while developing his own style. Amongst all the artists he mentioned, Ian Gillan and Robert Plant stood out as particularly influential figures to him, acting as mentors in his musical journey.