In this review we look at the concepts and state-of-the-art concerning the strong coupling of surface plasmon-polariton modes to states associated with quantum emitters such as excitons in J-aggregates, dye molecules and quantum dots. We explore the phenomenon of strong coupling with reference to a number of examples involving electromagnetic fields and matter. We then provide a concise description of the relevant background physics of surface plasmon polaritons. An extensive overview of the historical background and a detailed discussion of more recent relevant experimental advances concerning strong coupling between surface plasmon polaritons and quantum emitters is then presented. Three conceptual frameworks are then discussed and compared in depth: classical, semi-classical and fully quantum mechanical; these theoretical frameworks will have relevance to strong coupling beyond that involving surface plasmon polaritons. We conclude our review with a perspective on the future of this rapidly emerging field, one we are sure will grow to encompass more intriguing physics and will develop in scope to be of relevance to other areas of science.