We here at Guitarzzz.com are trying something new. On a somewhat regular basis, you can expect a short bio piece on a famous or infamous guitarist. Looking for the facts, a no frills lesson? This is where to come!
Jimmy Page, a name that invokes thoughts of epically progressive guitar riffs, ridiculous amounts of hard drugs and myth almost to the point of legend.
Page, founding member of famous rock and roll band Led Zeppelin and a member of The Yardbirds, was born James Patrick Page on the 9th of January 1944 in the north London suburb of Heston in Middlesex-Britain to an industrial personal manager and a doctor’s secretary.
Page began learning to play guitar at around the age of 12. His first electric guitar was a 1949 Gibson Les Paul. He was highly influenced by the guitarists of the rockabilly genre, James Burton and Scotty Moore, both who recorded with The King, Elvis Presley, as well as Johnny Day, guitarist for The Everly Brothers. Page went on to be influenced by the blues sounds of B.B. King and Elmore James.
After Page graduated from school, with the aim in mind to work as a lab assitant, he started playing for the Beat poet, Royston Ellis, and then went on to join his first band Red E Lewis and The Red Caps. The first time he toured was with The Crusaders, he also released a single in 1982, “The Road To Love.”
Page disliked the touring life so much he left it and went to Sutton Art College to focus on painting and occasionally playing with fellow students.
One evening Page was spotted by John Gibb of The Silhouettes who asked him to feature as a session musician on singles for EMI. It was only when Mike Leaner from Decca Records asked Page to record that he agreed.
Page became a fulltime session musician and grew from strength to strength. His friendship with other guitar legend, Eric Clapton, whom he met in the days of art school, also grew. Page’s success as a session musician was so wide that it is often remarked that he must have appeared on 60% of all rock music from the 60’s.
After declining the chance to replace his friend Clapton as the guitarist for The Yardbirds, Page went on to experiment as a session musician. After being once again asked to be a member of The Yardbirds, Page first tried his hand at bass and then moved on to twin lead guitar player with friend, Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds broke up relatively soon after and despite the departure of Jim McCarty and Keith Relf in 1968, Page wanted to carry on as The New Yardbirds. They would become what we know as Led Zeppelin.
Due to Page’s great experience in the studio as a session musician and from his days with The Yardbirds, helped ensure Led Zeppelin’s critical success in the 1970s. His work as a composer, producer and guitarist for the band was highly important. He was also one of the main motivating forces behind the rock sound of that age with his trademark Gibson Led Paul guitar and Marshall amplification. His use of distorted fuzz guitar, eastern scales, slide guitar, acoustic guitar and experimental recording methods made Led Zeppelin a first of its kind. Jimmy also experimented with unusual playing styles such as his bow technique as well as the use of a theremin.
After Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980, Page attempted to form a supergroup, XYZ, with former Yes members. Unfortunately, the band never came to anything.
Page was then asked to compose the soundtrack to Death Wish II by Michael Winner. Page has gone on to perform at many charity events as well as being the main force behind the remastering of Led Zeppelin’s older records.
Page has won numerous awards in his life, from being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, not once, but twice. In 2001 he was voted London’s greatest guitarist in Total Guitar magazine’s poll of the greatest 12 British guitarists and in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named him number nine on their list of the “100 greatest guitarists of all time”.