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JIMMY PAGE – ON THE OCCASION OF HIS BIRTHDAY

9 January 2012 826 views 18 Comments

Photo by Michael Rae for TBL

Jimmy Page is 68 today (January 9th)

He continues to command the upmost respect from peers and fans alike. The trio of UK guest appearances last year only enhanced the affection and fascination we have for the guitarist who in a 50 year career, has written the rule book on the art of rock guitar. Over the past few months Jimmy’s ” On this day” feature via his official website has become a daily ritual for fans to soak up personal revelations from his archive -adding further enlightenment on his vast acheivements.

Here’s a playlist of ten of his best studio performances with relevent commentary – I am sure I won’t be the only one blasting out these and a good few more in celebration of the great man’s birthday.

Dave Lewis – January 9th 2012:

10: IN THE LIGHT

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Physical Graffiti 1975

A remarkable creation led by Jones innovative keyboard work, Bonzo’s precise drumming and again at the heart of it all Jimmy Page. Just marvel at the way each guitar overdub reverberates across the speakers. In fact try it all again on headphones for the full effect. Instrumentally as good as it ever got.

Clock the genius: At 6 mins 51 as Jimmy kicks in with the first of a multitude of glorious overdubbed guitar parts.

9: THE ROVER

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Physical Gaffiti 1975

He can do bombastic, he can do blues, he can do 50′s rock’n’roll… he can damn near doing anything and he can definitely do guitar melody as well as anyone. Here’s the proof.

Clock the genius: From 3 mins 12 – ”That’s right” is Robert’s cue for Jimmy to burst forth in a storm of lyrical chording.

8: THAT’S THE WAY

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Led Zeppelin III 1970

The subtly smooth almost eerie pedal steel guitar Page developed on this track adds an achingly moving texture to Plant’s descriptive narrative. The result: rare acoustic/electric beauty.

Page said: ”The funny thing is when Zep 3 came out we were knocked for doing a Crosby Stills And Nash thing. It was though everyone’s ears had been shut to the fact that we had been heavily acoustic on parts of the first album and on the second with things like Ramble On”.

Clock the genius: From 00.32 -the first appearance of that sweeping pedal steel guitar effect that carries the song all the way.

7: FOR YOUR LIFE

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Presence 1976

One of the most outstanding group performances – and group in the sense of collective telepathic interplay that they brought to their live performances. This sounds absolutely live as they all chug down on that descending riff pattern. Plant spits out the lyrics and the solo is as vicious as some of the lyrical observations. Vital Led Zeppelin music.

Clock the genius: From 4 mins 16.Page’s rages: Simply one of the most venomous guitar solos ever committed to tape.

6: THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Houses Of The Holy 1973

In contrast to the darker edge of the previous track here we find Page all lightness and verve adding colour to the canvas with every melodic overdub. The man at his most optimistic mirroring the period where they really could as Peter Grant once said ”Go to Saturn”. At this stage of their career nothing seemed beyond their grasp.

Page said: ”It was originally going to be an instrumental – an overture to lead into The Rain Song then Robert came up with the lyrics and it all fitted. it came together really quickly. Once we decided to break it down I think we had it down in about a day”

Clock the genius: From 3 mins 47 – Jimmy’s melodic uplifting runs light up another dynamic performance.

5: KASHMIR

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Physical Graffiti 1975

Hearing the instrumental backing mix its again evident how cleverly Page played off Bonzo – often leaving space for expectancy and anticipation. It was often not what they played but what they didn’t. The temptation here was surely to fill all the spaces. The fact they avoided all that gives the song it’s vastness and clarity.

Pge said: ”There have been several milestones along the way. Kashmir is definitely one of them”

Clock the genius: From 4 mins 19 – the point where Jimmy’s hypnotic riffing emerges out of Robert’s echoed cries.

Still the pride of Led Zeppelin.

4: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Led Zeppelin IV 1971

We know people have got married to it (bloody hell I was one of ‘em!) – we know guitar shops had signs not to play it – we know Rolf ridiculed it – ….but put aside all the baggage and try listening anew. There’s a masterpiece waiting to unveil itself all over again. The solo of course is the one that even milkman could probably whistle.

Page said: ”Although we recorded the song at Island, it was created at Headley Grange. I’d been fooling around with my acoustic guitar and came up with the different sections which I married together. I wanted something that would have the drums come in at the middle and build to a crescendo. Also I wanted it to speed up. So I had the structure of it, ran it through Jonesy so he could get the idea and then the following day we got into it with Bonzo. My sharpest memory of working on Stairway is Robert writing the lyrics while we were hammering away at the arrangement. It was really intense and by the time we came up with the fanfare at the end and could play it all the way through Robert had 80% of the lyrics finished. It just goes to show what inspired times they were. We were channeling a lot of energy”,

Clock the genius:  5 mins 35 and the entry of that solo as Jimmy goes from madrigal to maelstrom with the switch of a guitar neck.

3: SINCE I’VE BEEN LOVING YOU

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Led Zeppelin III 1970

Drama, dynamics and dexterity combine here to produce an absolutely flawless performance. How I’d loved to have been a fly on the wall at this session….

Page said: ”That was a hard one because I couldn’t get the right sound out of the amp. But there was an amp outside the studio door which didn’t belong to us. It was a British amp and finding that amp saved the day really. Playing the blues is actually one of the most challenging things to do. It’s hard to play something original. Since I’ve Been Loving You was a song we had played live prior to the recording sessions – yet it was the hardest track to record. The final version was a live take with John Paul Jones playing organ and foot bass pedals at the same time”

Clock the genius: 3 mins 38 from Plant’s cry of ”Watch out!” over which Jimmy lets loose with a solo of awesome artistry.

2: TEN YEARS GONE

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Physical Gaffiti 1975

Classic romantic Zeppelin. Romantic is perhaps not the most immediate quality one associates with them, but it’s an entirely appropriate description for another lasting masterpiece. Page is in turn dreamy, sentimental, tender and idealistic in his playing. It’s that classic loud to soft quality that has carachterised so much of his best work.

Page said: ”I’m really sloppy. An illiterate guitarist really. But it doesn’t make any difference because every now and then something good will come through. All the guitar parts and layers to Ten Years Gone were all worked out as demos at home. That kept me sane. There was this balance of going on the road and coming home to rest. But the thing is my whole life was Led Zeppelin and that’s all there was to it – on the road or off.”

Clock the genius: 3 mins 25 – ”Did you ever really need somebody…really need them bad” Clang!! Jimmy comes in with that chord and from then on leads them into some of the most moving moments of their entire catalogue.

1: ACHILLES LAST STAND

LED ZEPPELIN

Source: Presence 1976

Tax exiles on the run, a car smash that stopped them in their tracks. From strange happenings in Malibu to studio marvels in Munich. The most dramatic 6 month period of their career.

Jimmy Page’s playing on Achilles mirrored  both the uncertainty of this period and the optimism with which they averted the crisis. It was his determination to turn adversity into triumph that ignited the whole album. At the helm was this extraordinary ten minute lament. Again it’s all four of them at their best. JPJ’s pulsating chugging bass, Bonzo’s staccato drumming, Plant’s total vocal commitment and Jimmy….has any guitarist past of present so immersed himself so totally in a piece of music as the then 31 year old did inside Musicland studios during November 1975? This is guitar orchestration on a par with any classical composition. This is never mere rock music…this is a musician giving his heart and soul for his music. In my view and it would seem fellow fans the world over, this is Jimmy Page’s absolute artistic peak.

Play it again right now to remind yourself…..you will surely find it hard to disagree with its iconic number one status.

Page said ” I know the rest of the band couldn’t see where I was going with it early on. There were two basic sections to overdub. There’s this sort of descending scale in it. I remember John Paul Jones saying ‘You can’t get a scale to do what you want’. And I remember saying ‘Believe me I know what I’m going!’

I wanted to give each section its own identity and it came off really well. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it in one night. I thought I’d have to do it in the course of three different nights to get the individual sections. But I was so into it my mind was working properly it sort of crystallised everything. It all came pouring out. I was very happy with the guitar on that album as far as the maturity of the playing. It was really singing out. When I listen to it now I think to myself  ‘My god that solo says a hell of a lot to me’. Just what was going on there!”

Clock the genius: 9 mins 49 as Jimmy rings out those final mesmerising chord ”Where the mighty arms of atlas hold the heavens from the earth”.

The defining statement of the defining guitar hero.

Dave Lewis/TBL Archives

And here is a few choice you tube clips of the Lord of the Strings legacy as compiled by Gary Foy…

Happy birthday Jimmy from all of us to you…

 

Jimmy Page’s ARMS Concert Performance in New York City – 1983

The Firm – Satisfaction Guaranteed

Who’s To Blame – Jimmy Page – 1988

Coverdale • Page – Easy Does It – 1993

Robert Plant & Jimmy Page – The Rain Song – 1995

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, Babe I’m Gonna Leave You – Live in Paris – 1998

Jimmy Page – Domino (1999)

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes – Sick Again- Live in New York 2000

Jimmy Page plays Acoustic from “It Might get Loud”

The Black Crowes & Jimmy Page – Shake Your Money Maker – Live in London 2011

Donovan and Jimmy Page – Sunshine Superman- Live in London 2011

Roy Harper with Jimmy Page performing ‘The Same Old Rock’- Live in London 2011

Led Zeppelin, “Rock And Roll”, Live London 2007

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18 Comments »

  • Kathy Urich said:

    Happy Birthday Jimmy your music is such an awesome gift to all of us -much love and admiration thanks for being a stunning an example of what we Capricorns can do.

  • Jim Sloane said:

    Have a good one Jimmy.Happy Birthday and rock on.

  • Denzepp58 said:

    Jimmy, all I can say is “Thank You” and happy birthday. You have been such a big part of my life since I first heard your guitar on “Sunshine Superman ” and then of course with Zeppelin. To me your best solo is STILL the two on ” Ramble On “, they have this ethereal sound and tone that is just completely your own and could never be duplicated by any one else. Wishing you continued health, happiness, and even more success, you are truly a living legend and my life has been richer just having heard your heart and soul in your playing. God Bless you..Peace, love and Rock and Roll from Randy Leroy Jones….

  • Michael Sherlock said:

    Dave,
    Wonderful article, and even with an impressive storied legacy, who could argue with such an inspired list. Thank you to JPJ for 50 great years! Please make 2012 the year that your fans hear and see your brilliance live again for one more go ’round!

  • André Cruz said:

    I simply consider Page the best artist of our time, including all kinds of arts.
    Happy birthday Jimmy, maybe you can give us a gift doing some shows this year as a main act, not a guest.
    When I started thinking about his birthday, last month, I realise a strange coincidence: Page completed 68, the year Led Zeppelin began. And this year, 2012, Zeppelin completes 44, the year Page borned !!!
    Hope this mean something good for the zep fans around the world!
    Big hug from Rio de Janeiro to TBL friends and crew !
    André

  • Paulo Alm said:

    Thanks Dave, for helping keep the spirit of Zeppelin alive! TBL has been a great source from which to drink daily. We can only hope that the amazing work that’s being done behind Jimmy’s website will inspire the man to come forward and release more of his absolute genius craft.

  • Mateusz P. said:

    Jimmy Page is The Master ! The Best ! Jimmy Page changed my life & I would like to thank him.
    All the best for your Birthday Mr. Page !
    Keep on playing & rocking !

  • Debby said:

    Happy Birthday Jimmy!

    Your music never ceases to move me and always will. Thank you for the inspiration and music of my life.

    And thank you Dave and cohorts for always keeping us aware.

  • MARK WILLIAMS said:

    A very Happy Birthday to our main man, Mr. James Patrick Page.

    Now c’mon Jimmy – let’s have a productive 12 years to make it to 80 – no reason why not !

    Mark Williams

  • Chris Wright said:

    Mark Harrison said it right. When we listen to the work of Mr James Patrick Page, the term genius immediately springs to mind.

    You could argue that there have been more technically gifted players, but fretboard wizardry is ephemeral. It’s music that endures and, in that sense, Jimmy Page stands alone as The Lord of The Strings.

    Agree also with Mark about the profound effect Jimmy’s work has had on my life. The greatest thing is that, even after all these years, the effect shows no sign of waning.

    If you’re reading this Jimmy, have a great birthday and know that your incredible influence has never been more apparent.

  • Oscar JImenez said:

    Jimmy, happy birthday. I had the privilege to meet you in Philadelphia on April 3rd 1994, a day to remember. Jimmy was kind, a true gentleman. he took a look at my Filmore 1969 tour book and asked me if he could take it to the young guys in the band to look at. I said, “sure.” I’ve got a picture with him, my most valuable piece of rock collectable. It’s more than that, my day with Page. Then, the show at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. What can I say? The best of my shows ever.

  • Lif Strand said:

    This is an excellent article, thanks Dave for republishing it for Jimmy Page’s birthday this year.

    And of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MR. JIMMY PAGE, and many, many more!

  • Caroline Thompson said:

    For me Jimmy Page is a multi talented musician as well as being my number one best guitarist ever.Although he has nothing to prove to anyone I would love to see him perform again in his own right.Happy Birthday Jimmy you are still looking great as well

  • Simon Cadman said:

    Happy Birthday Jimmy. My first play of the day to celebrate was a recently purchased copy of My Baby Left Me by Dave Berry from 1964. What a solo… might just have another listen…

  • ann said:

    Dear Jimmy, your Birthday is a special date – to me and to many thousands of fans of your music! You was and is the greatest musician! Your talent as guitar player and composer shines upon us like a sun! I wish you never ending inspiration and creative power in musical field!
    Take pleasure in your life this Day and Forever!!!

  • Mark Harrison said:

    Never did I think that I would still be listening 42 Years On! Jimmy Page remains unquestionably THE dominating musical influence of my life. Thanks to him I have travelled the World and met so many glorious friends along the way. The most self effacing and charismatic human being there is. A complete GENIUS!
    Mark

  • John C said:

    Happy Birthday Jim.
    Thanks for putting me on the right musical path, thanks for Zeppelin, giving me the delights of Kaleidoscope, Steven Stills, and the blues.

    As for best moments, overall its “Ten Years Gone” for me. On just solos, “Tea for One” is that good words fail me.

  • michaela said:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JPP. Wow , amazing. I will indeed treat myself to a day of pure Jimmy Page. What a fantastic thing to look forward to. Will seek out Gary’s choices as a few elude me. Feel privileged to be one of the few (well 22k) that heard For Your Life live …Dave I recall the only live play was at THAT gig at the 02 ?!
    I think the top ten is amazing as features all my fav tracks ( can you really have 10 ?) I find they change on my mood but Achilles , Ten Years Gone , Kashmir ….and through the autumn , winter and with all the Lord of the Rings BluRays in the house
    ….Ramble On is been my number 1. Thanks again TBL

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