Robert Plant thought he'd end up as a used car salesman.

The legendary Led Zeppelin singer first toured the US with guitarist Jimmy Page, drummer John Bonham - who was nicknamed Bonzo - and bass player John Paul Jones in the late 60s, and while it was a great experience, he never thought it would last.

He told radio station BBC6 music: ''Bonzo and I had been playing together. He and I had exaggerated personalities, and we could clear a room telling everybody how great we were, from an early age. But there was no money in it, so Bonzo joined Tim Rose.

''The Yardbirds and Jimmy were playing in America. When Keith Ralph left, Jimmy wanted to carry on and was looking for a singer. I was kind of flittering around in the broom cupboard, really ... so they came to see me. They were looking for somebody who might kick ass. And I was a frontman who didn't play guitar, which was handy ... it was just like, anything goes, I'm not going to be thinking of this after [these shows in the US] as I'll probably be selling cars in Wolverhampton next month.''

Robert, 65, admitted he and Bonham, whom he recruited for the band, were ''still pretty wet behind the ears'' when they first started touring, but the drummer was so good he managed to win over entire blues bands with his skills.

He explained: ''He was the blackest white drummer. I remember going to The Burning Spear in south side Chicago when no white were allowed - we were British so we kind of got a pass to get into these black clubs. And he sat in with Bobby Bland's band, and he was just amazing. What he did when he played on records and what he did live ... it was such a great thing to see and the whole band are just turning to him, Bobby Bland is turning to him and smiling, it was incredible.''

Led Zeppelin helped define the heavy rock sound of the 70s before disbanding in 1980 when Bonham died.