Backwards masking

Jimmy Page

James Patrick Page, OBE (born 9 January 1944) is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he co-founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.

Page has been described as "unquestionably one of the all-time most influential, important, and versatile guitarists and songwriters in rock history". In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Page #9 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, once as a member of The Yardbirds (1992) and once as a member of Led Zeppelin (1995).

Early years

Page was born in the West London suburb of Heston, which today forms part of the London Borough of Hounslow. His father was an industrial personnel manager and his mother was a doctor's secretary. In 1952 they moved to Miles Road, Epsom. Page first played the guitar when he was 14 years old and, although he took a few lessons in nearby Kingston, was largely self-taught. Among his early influences were rockabilly guitarists Scotty Moore and James Burton, who both played on recordings made by Elvis Presley. Hearing the Presley song "Baby Let's Play House" is cited by Page as being his inspiration to take up playing the guitar. His first guitar was a second hand 1959 Futurama Grazioso, which was later replaced by a Stratocaster.

Page's musical tastes included skiffle and acoustic folk playing, particularly that of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and the blues sounds of Elmore James, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Freddie King and Hubert Sumlin. "Basically, that was the start: a mixture between rock and blues." At the age of 14, Page appeared on Huw Wheldon's All Your Own talent quest programme in a skiffle quartet, a popular English music genre of the time. One performance was televised Asked by Wheldon what he wanted to do after schooling, Page said, "I want to do biological research" to find a cure for "cancer, if it isn't discovered by then". Page was very enthusiastic about the idea of becoming a career researcher studying germs, but expressing reservations that "I haven't got enough brains" to become a doctor.

Page said in an interview with Guitar Player magazine, "There was a lot of busking in the early days, but as they say, I had to come to grips with it, and it was a good schooling." Page would take a guitar to school each day and have it confiscated and handed back to him at 4.00 pm. He was interested in science and had an interview for a job as a Laboratory Assistant, but he ultimately chose to leave Danetree Secondary School, West Ewell to pursue music instead . Initially, Page had difficulty finding other musicians with whom he could play on a regular basis. "It wasn't as though there was an abundance. I used to play in many groups... anyone who could get a gig together, really." Following brief stints backing Beat poet Royston Ellis and singer Red E. Lewis, he was asked by singer Neil Christian to join his band The Crusaders after Christian had seen a fifteen-year-old Page playing in a local hall. Page toured with Christian for approximately two years and later played on several of his records, including the November 1962 single, "The Road to Love".

During his stint with Christian, Page fell seriously ill with glandular fever and couldn't continue touring. While recovering, Page decided to put his musical career on the shelf and concentrate on his other love, painting. He enrolled at Sutton Art College in Surrey. As he explained in an interview in 1975:

[I was] travelling around all the time in a bus. I did that for two years after I left school, to the point where I was starting to get really good bread. But I was getting ill. So I went back to art college. And that was a total change in direction. That's why I say it's possible to do. As dedicated as I was to playing the guitar, I knew doing it that way was doing me in forever. Every two months I had glandular fever. So for the next 18 months I was living on ten dollars a week and getting my strength up. But I was still playing.

Session musician

While still a student, Page would often jam on stage at The Marquee with bands such as Cyril Davies' All Stars, Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and with guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. He was spotted one night by John Gibb of The Silhouettes, who asked him to help record a number of singles for EMI, including "The Worrying Kind". It wasn't until an offer from Mike Leander of Decca Records that Page was to receive regular studio work. His first session for the label was the recording "Diamonds" by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, which went to Number 1 on the singles chart in early 1963.

After brief stints with Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, Mike Hurst's group, and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men, Page committed himself to full-time session work. As a session guitarist he was known as 'Little Jim' so there was no confusion with Big Jim Sullivan. Page was mainly called in to sessions as "insurance" in instances when a replacement or second guitarist was required by the recording artist. "It was usually myself and a drummer," he explained, "though they never mention the drummer these days, just me ... Anyone needing a guitarist either went to Big Jim [Sullivan] or myself"

Page was the favoured session guitarist of producer Shel Talmy, and therefore he ended up doing session work on songs for The Who and The Kinks as a direct result of the Talmy connection. Page's studio output in 1964 included Marianne Faithfull's "As Tears Go By", The Nashville Teens' "Tobacco Road", The Rolling Stones' "Heart of Stone" (released on Metamorphosis), Van Morrison & Them's "Baby Please Don't Go" and "Here Comes the Night", Dave Berry's "The Crying Game" and "My Baby Left Me", and Brenda Lee's "Is It True". Under the auspices of producer Talmy, Page contributed to The Kinks' 1964 debut album and he sat in on the sessions for The Who's first single "I Can't Explain" (although Pete Townshend was reluctant to allow Page's contribution on the final recording, Page did play on the B-side "Bald Headed Woman".)

In 1965 Page was hired by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to act as house producer and A&R man for the newly-formed Immediate Records label, which also allowed him to play on and/or produce tracks by John Mayall, Nico, Chris Farlowe, Twice as Much and Eric Clapton. Page also formed a brief songwriting partnership with then romantic interest, Jackie DeShannon. He worked as session musician on the Al Stewart album Love Chronicles in 1969, and played guitar on five tracks of Joe Cocker's debut album, With a Little Help from My Friends.

When questioned about which songs he played on, especially ones where some controversy as to what his exact role was, Page often points out that it is hard to remember exactly what he did given the huge number of sessions he was playing at the time.

Although Page recorded with many notable musicians, many of these early tracks are only available through bootlegged copies, several of which were released by the Led Zeppelin fan club in the late 1970s. The records released by the fan club include many otherwise unreleased live Led Zeppelin recordings. One of the rarest of these is the early jam session featuring Jimmy Page playing with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, featuring a cover of "Little Queen of Spades" by Robert Johnson.

Page decided to leave studio work when the increasing influence of Stax Records on popular music led to the greater incorporation of brass and orchestral arrangements into recordings at the expense of guitars. However, he has stated that his time as a session player served as extremely good schooling for his development as a musician:

My session work was invaluable. At one point I was playing at least three sessions a day, six days a week! And I rarely ever knew in advance what I was going to be playing. But I learned things even on my worst sessions -- and believe me, I played on some horrendous things. I finally called it quits after I started getting calls to do Muzak. I decided I couldn't live that life anymore; it was getting too silly. I guess it was destiny that a week after I quit doing sessions Paul Samwell-Smith left The Yardbirds, and I was able to take his place. But being a session musician was good fun in the beginning -- the studio discipline was great. They'd just count the song off, and you couldn't make any mistakes.

The Yardbirds

In late 1964, Page was approached about the possibility of replacing Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, but he declined the offer out of loyalty to his friend. In February 1965 Clapton quit the Yardbirds, and Page was formally offered Clapton's spot, but because he was unwilling to give up his lucrative career as a session musician, and because he was still worried about his health under touring conditions, he suggested his friend, Jeff Beck. On 16 May 1966, drummer Keith Moon, bass player John Paul Jones, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, Jeff Beck and Page recorded "Beck's Bolero" in London's IBC Studios. The experience gave Page an idea to form a new supergroup featuring Beck, along with The Who's John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums. However, the lack of a quality vocalist and contractual problems prevented the project from getting off the ground. During this time, Entwistle suggested the name "Lead Zeppelin" for the first time, after Moon commented that the proceedings would take to the air like a lead balloon.

Within weeks, Page attended a Yardbirds concert at Oxford. After the show he went backstage where Paul Samwell-Smith announced that he was leaving the group. Page offered to replace Samwell-Smith and this was accepted by the group. He initially played bass guitar with the Yardbirds before finally switching to twin lead guitar with Beck when Chris Dreja moved to bass. The musical potential of the line-up was scuttled, however, by interpersonal conflicts caused by constant touring and a lack of commercial success, although they released one single, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago". (While Page and Jeff Beck played together in The Yardbirds, the trio of Page, Beck and Eric Clapton never played in the original group at the same time. The three guitarists did appear on stage together at the ARMS charity concerts in 1983.)

After Beck's departure, the Yardbirds remained a quartet. They recorded one album with Page on lead guitar, Little Games. The album received indifferent reviews and was not a commercial success, peaking at only number 80 on the Billboard Music Charts. Though their studio sound was fairly commercial at the time, the band's live performances were just the opposite, becoming heavier and more experimental. These concerts featured musical aspects that Page would later perfect with Led Zeppelin, most notably performances of "Dazed and Confused".

Despite the departure of Keith Relf and Jim McCarty in 1968, Page wished to continue the group with a new line-up to fulfill unfinished tour dates in Scandinavia. He recruited vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham, and was contacted by John Paul Jones who asked to join. During the Scandinavian tour the new group appeared as "The New Yardbirds", but soon recalled the old joke by Keith Moon and John Entwistle. Page stuck with that name to use for his new band. Peter Grant changed it to "Led Zeppelin," to avoid a mispronunciation of "Leed Zeppelin."

Led Zeppelin

Page has explained that he had a very specific idea in mind as to what he wanted Led Zeppelin to be, from the very beginning:

I had a lot of ideas from my days with The Yardbirds. The Yardbirds allowed me to improvise a lot in live performance and I started building a textbook of ideas that I eventually used in Zeppelin. In addition to those ideas, I wanted to add acoustic textures. Ultimately, I wanted Zeppelin to be a marriage of blues, hard rock and acoustic music topped with heavy choruses -- a combination that had never been done before. Lots of light and shade in the music.

Influence

Page's past experiences both in the studio and with the Yardbirds were very influential in contributing to the success of Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. As a producer, composer, and guitarist he helped make Led Zeppelin a prototype for countless future rock bands, and was one of the major driving forces behind the rock sound of that era, influencing a host of other guitarists. For example, his sped up, downstroke guitar riff in "Communication Breakdown" is cited as guitarist Johnny Ramone's inspiration for his punk-defining, strictly downstroke guitar strumming, while Page's landmark guitar solo from the song "Heartbreaker" has been credited by Eddie Van Halen as the inspiration for his two-hand tapping technique after he saw Led Zeppelin perform in 1971. Page's solo in the famous epic "Stairway to Heaven" has been voted by readers of various guitar magazines, including Guitar World and Total Guitar, as the greatest guitar solo of all time, and he was named 'Guitarist of the Year' five years straight during the 1970s by Creem magazine.

Effects

For the recording of most of Led Zeppelin material from Led Zeppelin's second album onwards, Page used a Gibson Les Paul guitar with Marshall amplification. During the studio sessions for Led Zeppelin, and later for recording the guitar solo in "Stairway to Heaven", he also used a Fender Telecaster. He also used a Danelectro DC-59, mainly for slide guitar parts. He usually recorded in studio with a Vox AC30, Fender, and Orange amplification. His use of the Sola Sound Tone Bender Professional MKII fuzzbox ("How Many More Times"), slide guitar ("You Shook Me", "Dancing Days", "In My Time of Dying", "What Is And What Should Never Be"), pedal steel guitar ("Your Time Is Gonna Come", "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You", "Tangerine", "That's the Way" and for effect at the very end of "Over the Hills and Far Away"), and acoustic guitar ("Gallows Pole", "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp") also demonstrated his versatility and creativity as a composer.

Page is famous for playing his guitar with a Cello bow, as on the songs "Dazed and Confused" and "How Many More Times". This was a technique he developed during his session days, although strictly speaking he was not the first guitarist to use a bow, since Eddie Phillips of The Creation had done so prior to Page. On MTV's Led Zeppelin Rockumentary, Page said that he obtained the idea of playing the guitar with a bow from David McCallum, Sr. who was also a session musician. Page used his Fender Telecaster and later his Gibson Les Paul for his bow solos.

On a number of Led Zeppelin songs Page experimented with feedback devices and a theremin. He used a Wah-wah pedal but not always in the traditional way of rocking it back and forth as done by Jimi Hendrix and other contemporaries; instead, he put it fully forward in the treble position to get a sharper tone.

Music production techniques

Page is credited for the innovations in sound recording he brought to the studio during the years he was a member of Led Zeppelin. During the late 1960s, most British music producers placed microphones directly in front of amplifiers and drums, resulting in the sometimes "tinny" sound of the recordings of the era. Page commented to Guitar World magazine that he felt the drum sounds of the day in particular "sounded like cardboard boxes." Instead, Page was a fan of 1950s recording techniques; Sun Studios being a particular favourite. In the same Guitar World interview, Page remarked, "Recording used to be a science," and "[engineers] used to have a maxim: distance equals depth." Taking this maxim to heart, Page developed the idea of placing an additional microphone some distance from the amplifier (as much as twenty feet) and then recording the balance between the two. By adopting this technique, Page became one of the first British producers to record a band's "ambient sound" - the distance of a note's time-lag from one end of the room to the other.

For the recording of several Led Zeppelin tracks, such as "Whole Lotta Love" and "You Shook Me", Page additionally utilised "reverse echo" - a technique which he claims to have invented himself while with The Yardbirds (he had originally developed the method when recording the 1967 single "Ten Little Indians"). This production technique involved hearing the echo before the main sound instead of after it, achieved by turning the tape over and employing the echo on a spare track, then turning the tape back over again to get the echo preceding the signal.

Page has stated that, as producer, he deliberately changed the audio engineers on Led Zeppelin albums, from Glyn Johns for the first album, to Eddie Kramer for Led Zeppelin II, to Andy Johns for Led Zeppelin III and later albums. He explained that "I consciously kept changing engineers because I didn't want people to think that they were responsible for our sound. I wanted people to know it was me."

In an interview he gave to Guitar World magazine in 1993, Page remarked on his work as a producer:

Many people think of me as just a riff guitarist, but I think of myself in broader terms... [A]s a producer I would like to be remembered as someone who was able to sustain a band of unquestionable individual talent, and push it to the forefront during its working career. I think I really captured the best of our output, growth, change and maturity on tape -- the multifaceted gem that is Led Zeppelin.

Post-Led Zeppelin career

Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham at Page's home, The Old Mill House at Clewer in Berkshire. Page made a successful return to the stage at a Jeff Beck show in March 1981 at the Hammersmith Odeon. Page appeared with the A.R.M.S. (Action Research for Multiple Sclerosis) charity series of concerts in 1983 which honoured Small Faces bass player Ronnie Lane, who suffered from the disease. A 1984 video of a London A.R.M.S. concert was released featuring two songs from Page's work on the Death Wish II soundtrack, featuring Steve Winwood on vocals, and an on stage jam of "Layla" reunited Page with Yardbirds guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. The Madison Square Garden show featured vocals by future The Firm vocalist Paul Rodgers. During the tour Page looked extremely thin and frail. According to the book Hammer of the Gods, Page reportedly told friends that he'd just given up heroin after seven years of use.

In 1981 Page joined with Yes bassist Chris Squire and Yes drummer Alan White to form a supergroup called XYZ (for ex-Yes-Zeppelin). They rehearsed several times, but the project was shelved. Demo's of the sessions have turned up on bootleg and they reveal that some of the material showed up later on other projects, notably The Firm's "Fortune Hunter" and Yes songs "Mind Drive" and "Can You Imagine?" Page would later join Yes on stage in 1984 at Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany, playing "I'm Down".

Page next linked up with Roy Harper for an album (Whatever Happened to Jugula?) and occasional concerts, performing a predominantly acoustic set at folk festivals under various guises such as the MacGregors, and Themselves. In 1984, Page recorded with former Zeppelin vocalist, Robert Plant as The Honeydrippers, and with John Paul Jones on the film soundtrack Scream for Help. He also teamed up with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free fame to record two albums under the name The Firm. The first album was the self-titled The Firm, followed by Mean Business in 1986. Popular songs included the commercially successful "Radioactive", and "Closer", which employs a horn section to subtle effect. The cover version of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" featured vocals by Paul Rodgers but was never released as a single. The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard's Pop Albums chart. Various other projects soon followed such as session work for Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Box of Frogs, the Rolling Stones (on their 1986 single "One Hit (to the Body)"), and Robert Plant, a solo album Outrider, a collaboration with David Coverdale in Coverdale-Page. In addition, he also collaborated with director Michael Winner to record the Death Wish II and subsequent Death Wish 3 soundtrack, released in 1982 and 1985 respectively. Several of these albums Page recorded and produced at his own recording studio, The Sol in Cookham, which he had purchased from Gus Dudgeon in the early 1980s.

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin re-formed in 1985 for the Live Aid concert with both Phil Collins and Tony Thompson filling drum duties. However, the band considered their performance to be sub-standard with Page going on stage heavily intoxicated and let down by a poorly-tuned Les Paul. They were one of the few Live Aid acts to refuse permission for their segment to be included in the 20th anniversary DVD release of the concert. In 1986, Page reunited temporarily with his Yardbirds bandmates to play on several tracks of the Box of Frogs album Strange Land. Led Zeppelin also re-formed for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show on 14 May, 1988. Page, Plant and Jones, as well as John Bonham's son Jason closed the 12-hour show. The band has also played together at various private family functions.

In 1990, a Knebworth concert to aid the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre and the British School for Performing Arts and Technology saw Plant unexpectedly joined by Page to perform "Misty Mountain Hop", "Wearing and Tearing" and "Rock and Roll".

In 1994, Page reunited with Plant for the penultimate performance in MTV's "Unplugged" series. The 90-minute special, dubbed Unledded, premiered to the highest ratings in MTV's history. In October of the same year, the session was released as the CD No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, and in 2004 as the DVD No Quarter Unledded. Following a highly successful mid-90s tour to support No Quarter, Page and Plant recorded 1998's Walking into Clarksdale.

Since 1990, Page has been heavily involved in remastering the entire Led Zeppelin back catalogue and is currently participating in various charity concerts and charity work, particularly the Action for Brazil's Children Trust (ABC Trust), founded by his wife Jimena Gomez-Paratcha in 1998. In the same year, Page played guitar for rap singer/producer Puff Daddy's song "Come with Me," which heavily samples Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" and was included in the soundtrack of Godzilla. The two later performed the song on Saturday Night Live. A live album and tour with The Black Crowes follow in 1999. In 2001 he made an appearance on stage with Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst and Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards in Frankfurt, where they performed a version of Led Zeppelin's "Thank You".

In 2005, Page was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his Brazilian charity work at Task Brazil, made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro later that year, and was awarded a Grammy award.

In November 2006, Led Zeppelin was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. The television broadcasting of the event consisted of an introduction to the band by various famous admirers, a presentation of an award to Jimmy Page and then a short speech by the guitarist. After this, rock group Wolfmother played a tribute to Led Zeppelin, playing the song "Communication Breakdown".

In 2006, Page attended the induction of Led Zeppelin to the UK Music Hall of Fame. During an interview for the BBC for said event, he expressed plans to record new material in 2007, saying "It's an album that I really need to get out of my system... there's a good album in there and it's ready to come out" and "Also there will be some Zeppelin things on the horizon".

On 6 January 2007, Page was featured at #19 on Channel 4's The Ultimate Hellraiser, a countdown of music's top 25 who "lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle". The show's reason for featuring Page was almost exclusively attributed to the groupies who toured with Led Zeppelin. In addition, many of John Bonham's shenanigans (for example driving a motorcycle down a hotel corridor) were blamed on Page.

On 2 December 2007, Contacmusic.com confirmed that Page was "Too traumatised for Zeppelin reunion" until now. He states in the article, "After John Bonham's death I spent 15 years not even wanting to think about Led Zeppelin. But I also have difficulty thinking it's all over. Now at least one concert is planned and I'm incredibly happy about that."

On 10 December 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin, as well as John Bonham's son, Jason Bonham played a charity concert at the O2 Arena London.

On 7 June 2008 Page and John Paul Jones played alongside the Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium.

On 20 June 2008, Page was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Surrey, for his services to the music industry.

For the 2008 Olympics, Jimmy Page, David Beckham and Leona Lewis represented Britain during the closing ceremonies on August 24, 2008. Beckham rode a double-decker bus into the stadium, and Page and Lewis performed Whole Lotta Love, representing the change in Olympic venue to London in 2012.

September 5 (2008) marks the Toronto premier of the music documentary "It Might Get Loud," featuring Jimmy Page, along with Jack White (of the White Stripes and The Raconteurs) and The Edge (of U2). The website is here: It Might Get Loud Homepage

Personal life

Page's daughter, Scarlet Page (born March 1971), is a photographer. Her mother, Charlotte Martin is a former model and had a cameo appearance in the 1976 film The Song Remains the Same.

Page also had relationships with a number of other women in the 1970s, including Pamela Des Barres, Lori Maddox, Krissy Wood (the wife of Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones) and Bebe Buell.

From 1986 to 1995 Page was married to Patricia Ecker, a model and waitress. They have a son, James Patrick Page III (born April 1988). Jimmy Page is now married to Jimena Gomez-Paratcha. They have two children named Zofia Jade (born June 1997) and Ashen Josan (born January 1999). Jimena has a daughter Jana (born 1995) from a previous relationship.

In 1972 Page bought, from Richard Harris, the home which William Burges designed for himself in London, The Tower House. "I had an interest going back to my teens in the pre-Raphaelite movement and the architecture of Burges," he said. "What a wonderful world to discover." The reputation of William Burges (1827-1881) rests on his extravagant designs and his contribution to the Gothic revival in architecture in the nineteenth century.

From the mid 1970s to 2004 Page owned 'The Mill House', Mill Lane, Windsor, UK - formerly the home of actor Michael Caine. Fellow Led Zeppelin band member John Bonham died at the house in 1980.

From the early 1970s to well into the 1980s, Jimmy Page owned the Boleskine House, the former residence of occultist Aleister Crowley. Sections of Page's fantasy sequence in the film The Song Remains the Same were filmed at night on the mountain side directly behind Boleskine House.Page resides in Berkshire,London.

Interest in the occult

In the early 1970s, Jimmy Page owned an occult bookshop and publishing house, "The Equinox Booksellers and Publishers" in Kensington High Street, London, eventually closing it as the increasing success of Led Zeppelin resulted in his having insufficient time to devote to it. The company published a facsimile of Crowley's 1904 edition of The Goetia. The seriousness of Page's intent was demonstrated by the dust wrapper being printed on the notoriously fragile camel hair paper of the original. The appearance of four symbols on the jacket of Led Zeppelin's fourth album have been linked to Page's interest in the occult. It is generally accepted that the four symbols represented each member of the band. During tours and performances after the release of Led Zeppelin IV, Page often had zodiac symbols embroidered on his clothes (referred to as his "Dragon Suit", it included the signs for Capricorn, Scorpio and Cancer which are Page's Sun, Ascendant and Moon signs, respectively) along with the so-called "ZoSo" symbol. The source of the ZoSo symbol itself is no longer a mystery but the meaning of it still is; it originated in 'Ars Magica Arteficii' (1557) by J Cardan, an old alchemical grimoire, where it has been identified as a sigil consisting of zodiac signs. The sigil is reproduced in "Dictionary of Occult, Hermetic and Alchemical Sigils" by Fred Gettings, published in 1982 by Routledge & Kegan Paul (see here). It had previously been conjectured that the symbol was derived from various occult and mystical sources, most notably The Kabbalah, a stylised "666" from Aleister Crowley's Equinox publication or from Austin Osman Spare's "Zos Speaks"' but these are now considered to be probably incorrect. It has also been alleged that the symbol is merely a doodle that Page scribbled while on the telephone.

The artwork inside the album cover of Led Zeppelin IV is from a painting by Barrington Colby Mom, influenced by the traditional Rider/Waite Tarot card design for the card called "The Hermit". Page transforms into this character during his segment of the movie "The Song Remains the Same".

The artwork for the Swan Song Records label, which was a record label launched by Led Zeppelin on 10 May 1974, as a vehicle for the band to promote its own products. The Swan Song company logo, depicting a writhing winged man (sans genitalia) in the sky, was based on Evening: Fall of Day (1869) by painter William Rimmer, featuring a picture of the mythological Greek god of light and reason, Apollo, although often it is mistakenly misinterpreted as the classical Greek hero Icarus, who flew too close to the Sun, or Lucifer, a fallen angel who was cast out of heaven and then became Satan.

During the time of the PMRC hearing of the 1980s there were some accusations claiming the song "Stairway to Heaven" had allegedly satanic reverse-audio messages (known at the time as "backwards masking") in the verse that starts with the line 'If there's a bustle in your hedgerow'.

Page was commissioned to write the soundtrack music for the film Lucifer Rising by another occultist and Crowley admirer, underground movie director Kenneth Anger. Page even allowed Anger to film a portion of this movie in the basement of Tower House (Page's London residence). In the end Page produced 23 minutes of music which Anger felt were useless because the film ran for 28 minutes and Anger wanted the film to have a full soundtrack. Anger claimed Page took three years to deliver the music, and the final product was only 23 minutes of droning. On top of that, the director slammed the guitarist in the press by calling him a "dabbler" in the occult and an addict. Anger accused Page of "having an affair with the White Lady" and being too strung out on drugs to complete the project. Page countered claiming he had fulfilled all his obligations, even going so far as to lend Anger his own film editing equipment to help him finish the project. Bootlegs of Page's soundtrack for the project exist and were highly prized by Page's fans until an album also titled "Lucifer Rising" was released by Boleskine House Records on 19 June 1987. The blue vinyl disc contains all 23 minutes of the soundtrack music that Page provided for the movie. The introduction to Led Zeppelin's song "In the Evening" is said to be taken from the unfinished soundtrack, most of which was recorded by running a guitar through a synthesiser.

Although Page collected works by Crowley, he never described himself as a Thelemite nor was he ever initiated into the O.T.O., and has since distanced himself from anything to do with the occult movement. The Equinox Bookstore and Boleskine House were both sold off during the 1980s, as Page settled into family life and participated in charity work.

Drug use

Page has acknowledged heavy drug use throughout the 1970s. In an interview with Guitar World magazine in 2003, he stated:

I can't speak for the [other members of the band], but for me drugs were an integral part of the whole thing, right from the beginning, right to the end.

In 1973 Led Zeppelin's main choice of drug was cocaine, with Page, drummer John Bonham along with manager Peter Grant and tour manager Richard Cole, becoming regular users. After the band's concert tour of the United States in that year, Page told Nick Kent:

Oh, everyone went over the top a few times. I know I did and, to be honest with you, I don't really remember much of what happened.

In 1976, Page began to use heroin, a fact attributed to Richard Cole, who stated that Page (as well as himself) was taking the drug during the recording sessions of the album Presence in that year, and that Page admitted to him shortly afterwards that he was addicted to the drug.

By Led Zeppelin's 1977 tour of the United States, Page's heroin addiction was beginning to hamper his guitar playing performances. By this time the guitarist had lost a noticeable amount of weight. His onstage appearance was not the only obvious change, his addiction caused Page to become so inward and isolated it altered the dynamic between him and Plant considerably. During the recording sessions for In Through the Out Door in 1978, Page's diminished influence on the album (relative to bassist John Paul Jones) is partly attributed to his ongoing heroin addiction, which resulted in his absence from the studio for long periods of time.

Page reportedly kicked his heroin habit in the early 1980s. In a 1988 interview with Musician magazine, Page took offense when the interviewer noted that heroin had been associated with his name, and insisted that "I'm not an addict, thank you very much."

In an interview he gave to Q magazine in 2003, Page responded to a question as to whether he regrets getting so involved in heroin and cocaine:

I don't regret it at all because when I needed to be really focused, I was really focused. That's it. Both Presence and In Through the Out Door were only recorded in three weeks: that's really going some. You've got to be on top of it.

Accolades and tributes

  • In 2001 he was voted London's greatest guitarist in Total Guitar magazine's poll of the greatest 12 British guitarists.
  • In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him number nine on their list of the "100 greatest guitarists of all time".
  • Page's solo in "Stairway to Heaven" was voted the greatest guitar solo of all time in a Guitar World magazine readers' poll.
  • Clive Winston, a character in the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 video game Guitar Hero II, wears clothes resembling Page's "Dragon Suit" used in Led Zeppelin's late 75 into 77 concerts as well as playing guitar solos with a violin bow when Star Power is activated and also has dragons as the design on his guitar neck, in a tribute to Page. In Guitar Hero II, an achievement in the Xbox 360 version of the game is titled the "Page and Plant Award", given to two players who can hit 100% of the notes in cooperative mode.
  • Page is mentioned in the Paul McCartney and Wings' song "Rock Show" with the line: "What's that man movin' 'cross the stage? It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page. It's like a relic from a different age. Could be...Oo-Ee..."
  • Page is also mentioned in the Everclear song "A.M. Radio" with the line: "I remember 1977 / I started going to concerts and I saw the Led Zeppelin / I gotta guitar Christmas Day / I prayed that Jimmy Page would come to Santa Monica and teach me to play"
  • Page is mentioned by surname in the Neil Young song "Downtown" from his album Mirror Ball: "...Led Zeppelin on stage / there's a mirrorball twirlin' / and a note from Page..."
  • Page is mentioned in the Robert Plant song "Big Love" on Plant's Manic Nirvana CD. "... I slept in the same room as Jimmy Page ..."
  • Though his name may not be in the official lyrics, there are a number of Rolling Stones live bootlegs in which during the song "Star(fucker)" Mick Jagger sings "...Jimmy Page was quite a rage...I could not see the reason why!" (Fort Worth Texas 18th July 1978).

Pre / Post Led Zeppelin discography

Equipment

Electric guitars

  • 1959 Fender Telecaster (given to Page by Jeff Beck and repainted with a psychedelic Dragon on it by Page. Played with the Yardbirds, on Led Zeppelin, the early tours (68-69) Also used to record "Stairway To Heaven" solo.
  • 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard (No. 2)
  • 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard (No. 1) Given to him by Joe Walsh, modified with a shaved neck and the addition of push/pull pots to coil split the humbuckers as well as a phase and series switch
  • 1978 Gibson Les Paul Standard
  • 1959 Danelectro 3021 AKA 59-DC (tuned to DADGAD tuning and used live for "White Summer", "Black Mountain Side", "Kashmir" and "Midnight Moonlight" with The Firm.)
  • Another Danelectro 59-DC, tuned to open G or A tuning for slide and used live for "In My Time Of Dying".
  • 1967 Vox 12-String
  • 1960 Black Gibson Les Paul Custom(with Bigsby Tremolo) - stolen in 1970
  • Rickenbacker 12 String
  • 1971 Gibson EDS-1275 (used for playing "Stairway to Heaven", "The Rain Song", "The Song Remains the Same" and on some occasions, "Tangerine" live and "Sick Again" throughout the 1977 U.S. tour)
  • 1973 Gibson Les Paul Standard (seen in "The Song Remains The Same" during the theremin/solo section of "Whole Lotta Love". This guitar was later fitted with a Parsons-White B-string bender and used on the Outrider tour.)
  • 1964 Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster(Used during recording sessions for In Through the Out Door and 1979 at Knebworth for In the Evening)
  • 1966 Cream Fender Telecaster (Used on Physical Graffiti)
  • 1960's Botswanna Brown Fender Telecaster featuring a Parsons and White B-string bender, and neck salvaged from the "Dragon Telecaster". Seen primarily during the 1980s The Firm and Outrider era. Also used at Knebworth in 1979, notably on "Ten Years Gone" and "Hot Dog".
  • 1965 Fender Electric XII (12-String)
  • 1977 Gibson RD Artist (used at Knebworth in 1979, on "Misty Mountain Hop")
  • Gibson SG (Very seldom used, 80s tour)
  • Another Gibson doubleneck guitar was given to him after he agreed to allow the company to reproduce his original EDS-1275. The guitar was picked by Page out of numerous others after he struck one chord. Page declared "This is it, this is the one!" The guitar was marked (beforehand) #1.
  • 2007 Gibson Black Beauty custom (remake of his original stolen in 1970, has modifications concerning pickup configurations which include a 6-way pickup selector, and coil-tap on the bridge pickup)
  • Les Paul Goldtop w/ Transperformance tuning device Used on Atlantic 40th reunion, Coverdale/Page recordings, and Page/Plant tours
  • Mid 80s Black Kramer guitar with a trem Used for Outrider
  • Paul Reed Smith (used on the Outrider tour, notably on "City Sirens" and "Wasting My Time")Amplifiers
  • Marshall SLP-1959 100-watt amp which was modded with KT-88 tubes, which boosted its output to 200 watts.
  • Vox AC-30
  • Hiwatt Custom 50 and Custom 100 heads
  • Fender Dual Showman
  • Fender Vibro-King(used on the Page/Plant "Unledded" special on MTV)
  • Orange amps(used with the Theremin, as seen on The Song Remains The Same)
  • Supro 1x12 combo(used in the studio for Led Zeppelin I)Effects
  • Vox wah-wah
  • Sola Sound Tonebender fuzz
  • Maestro Echoplex
  • MXR Phase 90
  • MXR Blue Box(used for the guitar solo in "Fool In The Rain")
  • DigiTech WhammypedalAcoustic guitars
  • Gibson J-200
  • Martin D-28
  • Gibson Everly Brothers
  • Giannini 12-String
  • Harmony Sovereign
  • Washburn 12 String
  • Ovation 1994 Double NeckOther instruments
  • Gibson Mandolin
  • Gibson Harp Guitar
  • Roland GR-500 Guitar Synthesizer
  • Roland GR-700 Guitar Synthesizer
  • Fender 10-String 800 Pedal steel guitar
  • Violin Bow
  • Theremin
  • BanjoCollection

Jimmy Page is reputed to own in excess of 1500 different guitars. Page revealed this rough estimate to BBC Radio 2 presenter Stuart Maconie in June 2005.

Due to the fact the guitar was too heavy, one of Jimmy Page's Les Paul Custom "Black Beauty" is now owned by Dan Hawkins of The Darkness. It is not the same Black Beauty that was stolen from him in 1970.Signature models Gibson released Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul which was discontinued in 1999, then released another version in 2004, which has also been discontinued. The 2004 version included 25 guitars signed by Page, 150 aged by a former Gibson employee (an acknowledged aging 'master'), and 840 'unlimited' production guitars. The Jimmy Page Signature EDS-1275 has been produced by Gibson. Recently, Gibson reproduced Page's 1960 Les Paul Black Beauty, the one stolen from him in 1970, with modern modifications. This guitar will be sold in 2008 with a run of 25, again signed by Page, plus an additional 500 unsigned guitars.

Legal action

In July 2007 Page gave testimony and observed evidence on behalf of Led Zeppelin at a court case in Glasgow against an alleged bootlegger. Robert Langley was charged with, and denied, 12 counts of producing and selling products without copyright permission. Page was shown hundreds of CDs and DVDs, ranging from his solo material to his time in Led Zeppelin and The Yardbirds, which Langley was allegedly selling in Scotland during 2005. Many contain footage and audio from Page's personal collection, stolen from his home in the early 1980s.

The goods were found on sale as far away as New York, where shop-owners thought they were official. Page later said "If you have something like this that appears legitimate then it is just not right". Page concluded his day in court by greeting waiting fans and signing autographs.

References

Published sources

  • Case, George (2007). Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man. Hal Leonard books. ISBN 1-4234-0407-6.
  • Howard Mylett (1984) Jimmy Page: Tangents Within a Framework, London: Omnibus Press, ISBN 0-7119-0265-8.
  • Chris Welch (1985) Power & Glory: Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, London: Zomba Books, ISBN 0-9463-9174-2.

External links

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