Video of the Week: The Mystical Journey of Jimmy Page’s ’59 Telecaster

Video of the Week: Jimmy Page on How ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Was Written

Flashback: Jimmy Page Forms Short-Lived Supergroup With Members of Yes

page chris

(via Rolling Stone)

by Andy Greene

The very early 1980s was a scary and confusing times for many rock gods of the previous decade. This new thing called MTV was turning oddball British acts like Kajagoogoo, Adam Ant, Culture Club and Haircut 100 into overnight stars, and 1970s stadium rock giants like the Who, the Eagles, Wings, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Led Zeppelin and Yes were breaking up with stunning regularity. What do you do when you’re in your early thirties and all of a sudden your band is gone and nobody wants a 10-minute drum solo?

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Jimmy Page At 70: Early, Cool And Obscure

(Reprinted from Pittsbugh

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.


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…


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).


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.


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


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.


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.

Yes, Jimmy Page Can Play the Guitar. The Question is, Can He Stop?

The following is a provocative post reprinted from NME:

Sacred Cows – Help, I Don’t Get Led Zep

Sacred Cows is an occasional series in which NME writers question the consensus around revered albums and artists

By Mark Beaumont

When I go for an expensive meal, I don’t want more side order vegetables than steak. At the cinema, I don’t want more credits than film. So as the NME office quakes to the sound of ‘Celebration Day’, the live album from Led Zeppelin’s O2 reunion show in 2007, I’m left increasingly baffled as to how this tiresome band’s plodding, self-indulgent arse gravy has managed to creep into the realms of respected classic rock.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like a good solo. Joey Santiago is clearly a supernatural hyper-wizard from a far wonkier dimension than our own. Matt Bellamy’s fingers must’ve been beamed down from Planet Acewiddle. But alongside virtuosity and melodic panache, a great solo displays restraint, doesn’t outstay its welcome. Except in Led Zeppelin’s world. Here’s a live album that’s approximately 80 per cent solo, 18 per cent aimless jam and two per cent actual song. Yes, Jimmy Page can play the guitar. The question is, can he stop?

The live album merely serves to reinforce my feelings about Led Zeppelin – that they’re the worst excess of over-rated prog blues wank in rock history. They’re credited with inventing heavy metal (although ‘Helter Skelter’ arguably pipped them to that) but the shroud of black magic and mysticism that surrounded the band in the 70s was a smokescreen to disguise the fact that they were merely pomped-up, cock-fixated blues hacks recycling stolen riffs and hooks and plagiarizing willy-nilly from old blues, rock’n’roll and folk records like copyright laws were beneath them – “you only get caught when you’re successful, that’s the game,” said Plant after being caught with his hand in Willie Dixon’s lyric jar.

Yes they came up with some ass-annihilating riffs in their time, but – especially live – they’d often swamp their finest licks in extended trad jams, nails-down-blackboard whining and proggy pastoral wafts, dragging the burgeoning 70s hard rock explosion back into the hackneyed improvisational habits of ancient jazz and blues. The noxious ‘art’ of padding out arena gigs with tedious extended plank-spanking sections sprang from this period, and Zeppelin were at the forefront of making this mass wastage of precious audience lifespan acceptable. Their albums were tighter but, to these ears, no less dreary: walloping wads of muddy blues/folk rock that stared ever backwards at a time when so much more intriguing music was looking towards a glistening pop/punk/disco future.

Heavy rock crunch? The Who and Black Sabbath did it better. Glam-era glamour? Give me Bowie or Bolan any day. To this day, it’s only the rock’n’roll mythology of Led Zeppelin – the red snappers, in-room motorbikes and occult rituals – that keep their memory in any way interesting or edgy, and even these were ripped off the likes of Keith Moon, Robert Johnson and The Rolling Stones. Strip the myths away and you find that everything saggy, overblown and boring in rock music is Led Zeppelin’s fault – hardly a cause for celebration.

Page and Plant Reunite in Exotic Marrakesh, 1994

(Reprinted from Open Culture)

In 1994 Jimmy Page and Robert Plant collaborated on a new musical project for the first time since the death 14 years earlier of Led Zeppelin’s drummer, John Bonham. The reunion resulted from an invitation to appear on MTV’s hit series Unplugged. But Page and Plant wanted to steer clear of nostalgia, so they excluded former Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones from the project and named it Unledded.

The resulting album and DVD feature an assortment of Zeppelin songs that were reinterpreted with the help of an Egyptian ensemble, an Indian vocalist and the London Metropolitan Orchestra, but perhaps the most interesting part of the project was a trio of new songs recorded with local musicians in Marrakesh, Morocco. Those performances, one of which is shown here, were the result of a collaboration with traditional musicians of the Gnawa minority, whose sub-Saharan ancestors were brought to Morocco many centuries ago as slaves.

“We’d never met the Gnawa when we went there,” said Plant in a 1994 interview, “but they were very patient, and smiling is a great currency.” Gnawa music is traditionally performed for prayer and healing, and differs from other North African music. “They play a kind of music which is much more akin to the music of the Mississippi Delta than it is to do with Arab music,” Plant said in another interview. “It’s haunting, seductive, and quite alluring.”


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