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11 May 2014 4,564 views 3 Comments



Jimmy Page receiving his  honorary doctorate at the Berklee College of Music in Boston:  

The Commencement Speech:

Oh wow! Well, good morning! I had to check my watch there to make sure it was the morning. It’s so, ah, this is absolutely so amazing. It’s such a privilege to be part of this. All the energy from the graduates. You know, congratulations to all of you. And to the families as well. It really is something being up here and feeling all this.

I’ve got to say, the concert last night, you can see I’ve got something here which could loosely be called a speech, but I must say, after having come to Berklee and been part of the experience and listening to the concert last night, the speech is rendered useless. It’s not even going to be referred to. Here I am: A sort of busking musician trying to busk my speech.

What a spirit there is here! It’s absolutely amazing. The quality of musicianship that was shown last night is really moving, right across the whole of the different genres that were being played. I thank you so much for the interpretation of my music. That was really touching. But, across the music of Geri Allen, and Thara Memory, Valerie Simpson’s music, which is superb, I must say. Valerie Simpson was absolutely superb last night. Absolutely! But also the sheer, to hear the brass section that you have here. Hearing them last night from the audience, just down there, was so powerful and so precise and so punchy and everything about what real good brass sections should be about. Fantastic soloists there. It was just moving, right across the whole of the evening’s event and I must say that being here in a college, I have to sort of be perfectly honest with you all that I was sort of self-taught. Not such a bad thing because I learnt from records and trying to sort of interpret playing of what would be my guitar heroes from there.

Along the way I became a, I think you call it a side-man here, a session musician. And I was going in there and I’d have the charts. I was head-hunted for this, actually, curiously enough, but I couldn’t read music at that time. But I could read the chord charts and the session musicians in those days would play across quite a wide variety of music. It wouldn’t be, like, if you were a guitarist you wouldn’t just be the stylist in your own sort of field. I had quite a number of sort of guitar techniques that I’d evolved over my sort of teenage years so I could apply all of this acoustic folk-picking and slide guitar and etc etc. But it was a very, very closed shop in those days. Actually, probably still, maybe.

But now, obviously, as a specialist musician, you would be contracted in. But, in those days, when I had to sort of go in the door and have that discipline to play because, boy, if you made mistakes, you wouldn’t be seen again. I was in this whole sort of studio role for about two and a half years playing all manner of things from TV jingles to soundtracks and film music, Goldfinger, to The Kinks, to, you know, it was really a wonderful sort of, colourful role that I was playing.

Until, one day the music charts were passed out and there were the notes, and it was a gentle hint, I think, that I had to learn to read music in a very, very serious way. Because there were serious competitors there and everybody was fluent with music then. So I had to come on very, very quickly in leaps and bounds so it was, yeah, it was quite a pressurised moment but I had come through it and then I was reading like all you guys do.

So I just wanted to give you that little bit of empathy and understanding about having to learn. Reading music is a major part of it and of course, once you can read, write it down, read others’ work, that’s great. Thank you so much for inviting me here, it really is an honour and a privilege and I thank you all very much. Good luck in the future. Thank you.


 Berklee College of Music President Roger H. Brown’s speech honouring Jimmy Page:

 Jimmy Page, the founder of Led Zeppelin, is one of the most celebrated guitarists in all of rock history. He got his start as a guitarist in the 1960s, working on hit records with many well-known acts. He later become a member of The Yardbirds, the group remembered as the training ground for the triumvirate of British guitar heroes: Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

1968: Jimmy Page formed Led Zeppelin and shook the world with ten studio albums and more than a dozen years of international touring. The band’s sound was fuelled by Jimmy’s ingenious and multi-faceted guitar playing, songwriting and studio production. Robert Plant’s inimitable vocals — although I think we did a pretty good job last night — John Bonham’s thundering drumming style and John Paul Jones’ multi-instrumental skills. For decades, Jimmy has ranked in the upper reaches of countless lists of best guitarists. His guitar style has been imitated by six-stringers across the globe, and a few twelve-stringers. I can say with reasonable confidence, that at this very moment, there is at least one guitarist somewhere in the world, in a music store, playing Stairway To Heaven.

Jimmy’s influence on two generations of guitarists is immeasurable. Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist for Spinal Tap, sounding a bit dazed and confused when asked for a quote, said “Jimmy who?” Meanwhile, Nigel’s acquaintance, Berklee trustee Christopher Guest asserted “There is no way to exaggerate the impact Jimmy Page has had on rock and roll. Every guitar player since owes him a debt of gratitude. A sublime player and a worthy icon.” Fellow guitar hero and Berklee alumnus Steve Vai says that Jimmy, quote, get ready for this one, “In the physical universe there are objects that include suns, planets, all life and matter and all dimensions. And then there’s the space where all these things exist. That space is the vital element. For virtually every kid since 1968 who picked up a guitar to find his voice on the instrument, Jimmy Page has been the space that enables all our notes to be played.”

Aerosmith bassist and local rock hero Tom Hamilton adds “I’ll never forget the first time I heard that first Zeppelin album. It sounded so powerful. Every instrument came roaring out of the speakers with thickness and clarity. Jimmy’s combination of blues and celtic folk gave birth to the two-headed snake that has been injecting us with his delicious venom for decades.”

Upon learning that Jimmy would be with us here today, Wayne Sermon, a recent Berklee graduate who is the guitarist for the Grammy-winning band Imagine Dragons, said “I can think of no-one more deserving of this honour than Jimmy Page. He has shaped the landscape of rock more than any guitarist on the planet. He will forever be a legend.”

Jimmy has the distinction of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: In 1992 for his work with The Yardbirds and ’95 with Led Zeppelin. In 2005 Jimmy was named to the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his charitable work on behalf of impoverished children in Brazil. Jimmy and Led Zeppelin have been recognised with numerous prestigious awards, including America’s Kennnedy Center Honors in 2011.

And so, with the massive impact of his musical contributions for the direction of rock and roll, I’m pleased to present Berklee’s honorary doctorate of music degree to the man the British magazine Uncut has called “rock’s greatest and most mysterious guitar hero” Jimmy Page.


Jimmy Page’s acceptance speech:

Thank you. Thank you so very much, in every respect, to everyone up here. It’s honestly quite overwhelming. The illustrious company with the other honorees this evening. The sheer depth and profundity of music was shown last night. To actually be part of that and to actually be spoken about, even from Nigel Tufnel.

I fully understand here, without any doubt, what a contribution I’ve made to music and what it’s meant to you guys and I’m just really thrilled. I’m really thrilled because music has so much power and of course, so many avenues, but to be in a position where you’ve done the thing you’re pretty much best at, which is making music and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can’t be really much better than that, can it? And I pass that on to all of you. Congratulations with your degrees and lots of success in the future. Thank you very much.


 Many thanks James Cook/ledzepnews


Until next time…Keep listening, keep reading… Dave Lewis/Gary Foy – May 11th, 2014.

Have a great weekend

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  • Mark Harrison said:

    Really cannot tell you just WHAT and HOW MUCH that man means to me…….

  • Roxanne Barker said:

    Wow!! Hats off to Jimmy. Great speech,and great a honor to a legend who truly deserves it. Those dark awful years seem finally to be behind him. Can’t wait for June 3. Robert?

  • Ed-Washington DC said:

    The excitement on the faces of the graduates as they greet and hug Jimmy Page upon their commencement is palpable. Many “selfies” with these young people grinning next to a gracious and patient Mr. Page are found on the Led Zep facebook site, including a very happy Boston police officer who posed with Jimmy in the back corridors of the music hall. What a moment for them all.

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