International Guitar Month: Day 14 – Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page

James Patrick “Jimmy” Page, OBE (born 9 January 1944) is an English musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and leader of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Page began his career as a studio session musician in London and, by the mid-1960s, he had become the most sought-after session guitarist in England. He was a member of the Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968. In late 1968, he founded Led Zeppelin.

Page is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time. Rolling Stone magazine has described Page as “the pontiff of power riffing” and ranked him number 3 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. In 2010, he was ranked number two in Gibson’s list of “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time” and, in 2007, number four on Classic Rock’s “100 Wildest Guitar Heroes”. He was 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). Page has been described by Uncut as “rock’s greatest and most mysterious guitar hero.” Los Angeles Times magazine voted Jimmy Page the 2nd greatest guitarist of all time.

Timeline

    • First playing the guitar at age twelve, he took a few lessons in nearby Kingston, but was largely self-taught:”When I grew up there weren’t many other guitarists … There was one other guitarist in my school who actually showed me the first chords that I learned and I went on from there. I was bored so I taught myself the guitar from listening to records. So obviously it was a very personal thing.”
    • Early 1960s: session musician – He stated that his time as a session player served as extremely good schooling: “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 any more; 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.”
    • Late 1960s: The Yardbirds

For Your Love – The Yardbirds

    • 1968–80: Led Zeppelin

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin broke up in 1980 following the death of drummer John Bonham at Page’s home, The Old Mill House at Clewer in Berkshire. Page initially refused to touch a guitar, grieving for his friend. Thereafter, his work consisted of a series of short-term collaborations in the bands the Firm, the Honeydrippers, reunions and individual work, including film soundtracks. He also became active in philanthropic work.

Page’s 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 record producer, songwriter, 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.

To learn more about this famous guitarist visit jimmypage.com

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