The Awful Incident That Inspired Led Zeppelin's 'All My Love'

In July 1977, Led Zeppelin arrived in New Orleans on the third leg of their sold-out U.S. tour. But the party atmosphere the city is known for was dampened when frontman Robert Plant received some worrying news from home. The tour's manager, Richard Cole, told Express that Plant got a call saying his five-year-old son Karac was sick with a serious stomach virus. A second phone call brought Plant a parent's worst nightmare: his son had succumbed to the virus and died. Plant's father said that "Karac was the apple of Robert's eye; they idolized one another." Understandably, the rest of the tour was cancelled and Plant rushed back to England to be with his grieving family.

"We pulled tight together and both my wife and I, we had strong families," said Plant. "And good support, I mean, John Bonham from Zeppelin and his wife Pat, they were magnificent with us and helped us a lot." The loss was truly devastating, and it almost caused Plant to quit music for good. "I lost my boy. I didn't want to be in Led Zeppelin. I wanted to be with my family," he said. According to GQ, he considered settling down and becoming a teacher. Luckily, his bandmates talked him out of the decision, and bassist John Paul Jones would end up helping him work through the pain the best way musicians know how.

Led Zeppelin's All My Love is a tribute to Robert Plant's son Karac

In a 2005 interview reported by On Stage Magazine, Plant said that his friend Bonzo was the bandmate who helped him through the grieving process more so than the other two in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy. Bonzo returned with him to England and stayed with him during his time of mourning. "During the absolute darkest times of my life when I lost my boy and my family was in disarray, it was Bonzo who came to me," he said, adding that Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones weren't as big a help as Bonzo was at the time. "The other guys were [from] the South [of England] and didn't have the same type of social etiquette that we have up here in the North that could actually bridge that uncomfortable chasm with all the sensitivities required ... to console."

But Jones would end up helping Plant grieve in a different way. According to Auralcrave, the song they wrote together, "All My Love," is a tribute to Karac. The song had to be recorded in one take, because it was too hard for Plant to repeat the lyrics for another recording. Most of the band's songs were written by Plant and Page, and the authorship of "All My Love" is quite apparent, as Jones performs a synthesizer solo that is decidedly un-Led Zeppelin.

Jimmy Page was not a fan of 'All My Love'

"All My Love" was released as a single from the 1979 album In Through the Out Door, which was a strong departure from the hard, guitar-heavy sound of the band's previous work. And according to Far Out Magazine, despite the emotional weight of the song, Jimmy Page did not like it. He reportedly said that he considered the album to be "a little soft" and said that he didn't think "All My Love" was true to the band's style. "I was a little worried about the ['All My Love'] chorus," he said. "I could just imagine people doing the wave and all of that. And I thought 'That is not us. That is not us.'" Still, he knew how much the song meant to Plant, so he did not object to it being included on the album. "In its place it was fine, but I would not have wanted to pursue that direction in the future."

Unfortunately, there wouldn't be much more future for Led Zeppelin after that. In Through The Out Door would end up being their final album, as John Bonham died the following year from asphyxiation due to excessive alcohol consumption. And as any Zeppelin fan will tell you, there's no one on the planet who could take his place. They tried a few shows with Bonzo's son, Jason, but it was never the same, and neither was the band.