Jimmy Page At 70: Early, Cool And Obscure

(Reprinted from Pittsbugh Post-Gazette.com)

by Rich Kienzle

As Scott Mervis wisely pointed out on his Pop Noise blog (I’d forgotten), Jimmy Page turned 70 yesterday. No long biographies here. No attempt to be definitive here. You can get the obvious stuff anywhere. Here’s some Page material from the lesser-known earlier corners of his career.

1957:

The budding skiffler at 13. From the BBC’s “Hugh Weldon Show. 13 year old page was playing Skiffle, the British musical craze of 50’s just before rock and roll. The music is just a mix of folk, blues, country and jazz, the same stuff John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison played in Liverpool as the Quarrymen…

Note young Page wanted to become a “biological researcher” at the time. Right…

1965:

Page’s solo single: “She Just Satisfies.” Page was a successful London studio guitarist at the time he made this single, doing both guitar and vocal. The song and sound are a steal from the Kinks of the “You Really Got Me” era (which contrary to decades of rumors, Page did NOT play lead guitar on).

Mid-1966:

Playing bass with the Yardbirds. Jeff Beck on lead guitar, Keith Relf on vocals,  Chris Dreja playing second guitar and drummer Jim McCarty, from French TV. “Train Kept A-Rollin'” Page replaced original bassist Paul Samwell-Smith.

November, 1966:

Page and Beck: Dual Guitars: When Chris Dreja moved to bass, Beck and Page both shared guitar duties. This live version of “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” comes from an appearance on “The Milton Berle Show.”

March 9, 1968:

The Yardbirds’ Lead Guitarist. From French TV.  With Jeff Beck gone, Page took the guitar spot. Here they play both “Train” and “Dazed and Confused.” When Relf and the others left, Page began forming the “New Yardbirds,” the original name of Led Zeppelin.

1969:

Early Zep: “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You.”

1972:

Zep In Australia. “Let’s Have A Party” Plant and Page loved throwing in Elvis Presley covers onstage. A bootleg live CD of them appeared at one point.

2001:

Back To Skiffle? Reunited with Robert Plant and others performing “My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It,” from a televised tribute to Sun Records tribute, honoring Sonny Burgess’s rockabilly version. Oh, the elderly guy who talks with encyclopedic  musical knowledge is another legendary label founder and producer: Ahmet Ertegun, the man behind Atlantic Records.

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