Jimmy Page took time to look back at his early days making his way around London as a young guitar-slinger and eager session musician. In his pre-Yardbirds days, Page played on numerous sessions — including those by such Led Zeppelin contemporaries as the Who, David Bowie, and the Kinks. Page recalled to Uncut, “I was even more in demand when I got hold of that fuzzbox. I was young and often excited and in awe of the people I was playing for. Bowie was obviously very charismatic and going places. The Kinks were very good, too — I’m on their first album. But the one that really stands out was the Who’s ‘I Can’t Explain’ session. I’d seen them at the Marquee. To be a kid, in the room, right there in the middle of the sound Pete (Townshend), John (Entwistle), and Keith (Moon) created, was phenomenal.”
Page went on to shed light on the Who’s Shel Talmy-produced November 1964 session: “At the session, my job was to play something behind Pete’s riff — he had his Rickenbacker 12-string. You can hardly hear me, to be honest, because his playing was so powerful. I also played a bit on the B-side, ‘Bald Headed Woman.’ That session really impressed on me the power of a well-drilled rock band.”
Page himself became a powerhouse leader when producing Led Zeppelin’s legendary catalogue and is still floored by the late-John Bonham‘s ability: “Oh boy, he and I had such a connection. John changed drumming overnight. Track one of the first album, ‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ was a revelation. No-one could play it. No-one. As the band progressed, he and I developed this extraordinary intuition. We were renowned for being able to stretch songs live, and that came from John following my guitar and just improvising and bending with where I was going. ‘Dazed And Confused’ is a classic example. He could read my mind and go anywhere and do anything without it falling apart. ‘Communication Breakdown,’ ‘Dazed And Confused,’ ‘Good Times, Bad Times,’ ‘Ramble On,’ ‘Immigrant Song,’ ‘Kashmir’. . . These are moments of genius.”
Jimmy Page explained that, quite simply, Led Zeppelin was built to change the face of everything that came before and after it: [“When I formed Led Zeppelin, I formed it with the idea and the ethos that it was going to change music. That’s what I wanted it to do — and it clearly did. And it brought to the forefront these master craftsman that were involved with that band.”] SOUNDCUE (:16 OC: . . . in that band)
FLASHBACK: ‘LED ZEPPELIN II’ TURNS 50 TODAY!!!!
It was 50 years ago today (October 22nd, 1969) that Led Zeppelin‘s second album — Led Zeppelin II — was released. The set, which was the band’s second collection of the year, holds the distinction of knocking the Beatles‘ Abbey Road out of the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart on December 27th, 1969.
The album, which was produced by Jimmy Page, was wholly comprised of nine, new, instant rock staples for generations to come: “Whole Lotta Love,” “What Is And What Should Never Be,” “The Lemon Song,” “Thank You,” “Heartbreaker,” “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman),” “Ramble On,” “Moby Dick,” and “Bring It On Home.” Both the album’s opening and closing tracks were built upon a pair of Willie Dixon classics.
“Whole Lotta Love” was released as a single and peaked at Number Four on the Billboard Hot 100 — and climbed as high as Number Two on the competing Cash Box charts, and went on to hit Number One in both Australia and Germany. To date, Led Zeppelin II has sold over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone.
We asked Jimmy Page if when launching the sessions for Led Zeppelin II, the band felt unstoppable: [“It depends on what it was. I can tell you, it’s a guitar-led band. It was guitar-fuelled, and on the second album, we go into record in Olympic in Barnes. The things we’re going to record there — ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ ‘What Is And Should Never Be’ — but we’ve actually rehearsed those tracks at my house. I had other things. I had ‘Ramble On,’ but we wanted to record those until we were in America.”] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . were in America)
- In a new interview with Uncut, Jimmy Page recalls supplying second guitar on the Who‘s November 1964 session for “I Can’t Explain”: “At the session, my job was to play something behind Pete (Townshend)’s riff — he had his Rickenbacker 12-string. You can hardly hear me, to be honest, because his playing was so powerful. I also played a bit on the B-side, ‘Bald Headed Woman.’ That session really impressed on me the power of a well-drilled rock band.”