UG Articles Archive

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jimmy Page is everywhere!

I recently bought the book "Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga" by Stephen Davis, which is the definitive text on everything Zeppelin and, so far, has been extremely eye-opening.

I've only read through the first two chapters, but I'm already learning all kinds of cool things about the band.  The early chapters dig into Jimmy Page's past, and how he got his start in guitar.  Turns out, prior to being in Zeppelin, and prior to his brief stint as a member of The Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck, no less), Page was one of London's top session guitarists.  From age 17 to 19, Jimmy would fill in on studio recordings when other guitarists couldn't cut it, or when a band wanted to make their guitars sound better than they really were.

For instance, did you know that Jimmy played rhythm guitar for the recording of The Who's first single, "Can't Explain?"  Davis explains that "in January 1965, The Who arrived in studio to cut their first single...(and) found Jimmy Page waiting in the hall in case guitarist Peter Townshend was unable to cope.  But Townshend proved capable, so Jimmy only added rhythm guitar.  On the single's B-side, however, Jimmy played lead guitar using one of the innovative effects for which he was famous - the fuzz box."  All this time, and I never knew that that was Page playing on that track:

It doesn't end there, though.  Page also played guitars on two iconic classic rock tracks by The Kinks: "All Day and All of the Night," and "You Really Got Me."  Usually, this kind of thing went unnoticed, as session players generally kept quiet about their involvement in other bands' recordings.  With the Kinks, however, the rumor got out in London that it was Page's trademark fuzz tone on those tracks, and the band was not pleased.  According to the book, "They felt that Page had broken the session player's tacit code of anonymity by talking to the presss and giving false impressions." 

Jimmy then went on to tour briefly with the Yardbirds, before creating Led Zeppelin, and the rest is history.  I just found it really fascinating that Page's playing can be found in these classic recordings way before Zeppelin played their first song.  Here's the other Kinks song, with Page recording the lead guitar:

And there's another slice of rock history for you.  Enjoy your weekends, readers.

1 comment:

  1. HotG is sensationalist... for a really good book on Zeppelin, see Keith Shadwick's "Led Zeppelin The Story of a Band and Their Music." Page's story is told well in the move "It Might Get Loud," too.