Robert Plant looked back at the double-edged sword of launching a solo career in the early-1980's following the demise of Led Zeppelin. Coming on December 13th is Plant's new Digging Deep box set. The limited edition vinyl collection features 16 solo hits and B-sides on seven-inch singles. The eight-disc set is released in connection with the second season of Plant's podcast, Digging Deep with Robert Plant. The box includes restored artwork from the original single releases and is packaged in a handmade hardback book.

During a chat with Uncut magazine, Plant looked back to the early days of going it alone, recalling, "I'd been hanging around with a lot of people back where I live. People had been making records and I'd been in other people's environments, but I hadn't imagined myself taking on anything where it's just got my name on it. Being in a band like Led Zep was tremendous -- but also quite frustrating because you were in it and it was a democracy. It worked when it worked, and it didn't work when it didn't work. But to suddenly be completely free to fail was a totally different mindset altogether. And magnificent because of it.

When remembering how 1983's "Big Log" scored Plant a hit single, he admitted, "It was all new territory for me. At the time, it was part of the game and I was up for playing the game because I'd been away from everybody else's world for forever. I'd been in this magnificent fortress -- Fortress Zeppelin -- so there was no real melding with anybody apart from a few frivolous things around my home area with people like Andy Sylvester and Robbie Blunt."

Plant shed light on the session for the 1988 Now And Zen standout, "Tall Cool One," which featured Jimmy Page: "We'd become people who knew each other and sometimes we work together and sometimes we don't. But it was good that he came, I was glad. It didn't carry any emotional hangover. Jimmy did a great job."

When asked about what his upcoming musical plans were, Plant said, "I've had great conversations recently with the Space Shifters, with Alison Krauss, and with Buddy Miller. There's loads of songs locked up inside us all. But I think the most important thing is I hadn't actually listened to the tracks on this box set for so long and I feel pretty good about them now. They're part of the journey. This box is like a window into something that happened."

Robert Plant admitted that no matter what he does, there will always be a cross-section of fans that rate it against his work with Led Zeppelin: "The Led Zeppelin myth has been extended now by the mission and the cult. And so, everybody goes, 'Oh, but Zeppelin was much better than that.' Maybe it'll happen to me, too, but I've kind of taken the essence of Zeppelin, and I am the singer of Led Zeppelin. And I've taken the essence of the changes of Led Zeppelin and brought it up to date. So, I could never, ever hope to top it. I could never expect to be taken as. . . taken to the hearts of people quite like Led Zeppelin was, because I'm only a part of it."

AUDIO: ROBERT PLANT ON COMPETING WITH LED ZEPPELIN