With the releases of Robert Plant's solo vinyl box set, Digging Deep box set, the Led Zeppelin frontman looked back at his early solo days and recalled how big an inspiration and help Phil Collins was to him and his music. Plant told Record Collector, "I didn't know Phil, but he was on Atlantic, and as I spent more and more time with (Atlantic Records co-founder and president) Ahmet (Ertegun) and we became closer friends, Phil came into the picture. He was breaking away from Genesis and the Brit prog stuff and he was getting more on it. He sent me a message: 'John Bonham was the inspiration for everything that made me pick up a pair of drumsticks.' He then said that, if in the band a chair was empty, he would come help me out."

Plant went on to say, "From the first moment I met him, it was like he was a brother, and his enthusiasm was insane and positive and charming and his energy. How he drove the band members on, he took the onus on himself and we did Pictures At Eleven and The Principle Of Moments. . . I got different people for the band; it became more flamboyantly, more buccaneer, less introspective."

Robert Plant said that Phil Collins provided the support necessary upon diving full scale into a solo career following Led Zeppelin's 1980 split: "I made my business to go out and start again at the age of 32 -- it's like, hysterical, really, when you think about it now. But I worked and worked with these guys -- Robbie Blunt, who was a particularly fine guitarist. And I was graced by my first two solo records Pictures At Eleven and (The) Principle Of Moments. A drummer contacted me and said, ‘I love (John) Bonham so much I wanna sit behind you when you sing.' It was Phil Collins. His career was just kicking in and he was the most spirited and positive and really encouraging force, because you can't imagine what it was like, me trying to carve my own way after all that."

AUDIO: ROBERT PLANT ON EARLY SOLO CAREER AND PHIL COLLINS