Jimmy Page wrote songs

Jimmy Page

The influence of Jimmy Page

Jimmy Page's playing culture, in which elements from blues, 50s rock & roll and folk can be found, as well as his sound are legendary. And to this day, Led Zeppelin's records represent an inexhaustible source of inspiration for every ambitious electric guitarist. The man and his music from four decades are history.

Everyone has heard of Jimmy Page who was interested in rock music in the broader sense between the early 1960s and the present day.

He can be heard in recordings by:Performers of his songs:
Brian AugerAerosmith
Jeff BeckTori Amos
Maggie BellThe Bollock Brothers
David BowieBongwater
Eric ClaptonPat Boone
Joe CockerElkie Brooks
David CoverdaleDeodato
Crosby, Stills, Nash & YoungThe Dixie Dregs
DonovanDouble trouble
The Everly BrothersDuran Duran
Family DoggGreat white
The FirmHerbie Hancock
Kim FowleyJeff Healey
Roy HarperHeart
The HoneydrippersKristin Hersh
Brenda LeeHootie & the Blowfish
John MayallInfectious grooves
NicoStanley Jordan
The Pretty ThingsL.A. Guns
Puff daddyTodd Rundgren
Jimmy Rogers AllStarsTina Turner
The Rolling StonesVan Halen
Al StewartFrank Zappa
Stephen Stills
Screaming Lord Sutch
Sonny Boy Williamson II
Willie & The Poor Boys
The Yardbirds

His own most successful project was of courseLed Zeppelin.


Jimmy Page is evidently held in high esteem by the musicians of the Nu-Rock generation. For example, on November 8th, 2001 he performed together with Limp Bizkit at the “MTV Music Awards” happening in the Frankfurt Festhalle - not a bad replacement for the retired guitarist Wes Borland, but (unfortunately) not for long:

There are some similarities between the British guitar idol and Borland, such as playing with unusual tunings; where Page had already practiced this and a few others 30 years earlier.

Jimmy Page talks about the development of the electric guitar in the documentary “It Might Get Loud”:

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Jimmy Page biography

James Patrick Page was born on January 9, 1944 in Heston, Middlesex, England. During his youth in the 50s, he got to know the then popular rock & roll from artists like Little Richard through the radio. The trigger for Jimmy's guitar passion was the Elvis Presley number, Baby Let‘s Play House ‘with Scotty Moore on guitar, one of the most important accompanists of rock & roll of the 50s.

His parents bought Jimmy a guitar and he soon began to play in various formations. Jimmy joined his first real rock band after graduating from school: Page appeared in England with Neil Christian & The Crusaders; the band's set list included Songs by Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and Bo Diddley. Due to a serious illness, Page was forced to quit the Crusaders, and he initially buried all plans to earn his living as a musician.

Jimmy enrolled at Art College in Sutton, Surrey, which he attended for two years. During this time as an art student, Page says he continued to play the guitar and deal with the blues. But then Jimmy was finally drawn back to music and at the same time right in the center of Brit-Rock of the 60s: London! After a session at the legendary Marquee Club, he was hired for a recording. From then on, Page began to work as a studio musician and it was very successful.

Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, the former rhythm section of the Shadows, hired the young and talented guitarist for their single, Diamonds ‘, which landed at number 1 in the UK charts in January 1963.

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Session player

In the following years, Page played other studio jobs, including for beat acts like The Lancastrians, The Primitives and First Gear, but also for pop singers like the British Heintje version Gregory Phillips. Page had another hit as a session guitarist with "Shout" by Lulu & The Luvers. In the course of time, Page also plucked the guitar for some of the later greats in the business: for example, he can be heard on The Who’s debut single “Can't Explain”, for the Kinks he played the songs “Kelly” and its version from 'See You Later Alligator'.

In the realm of myths and legends, however, belongs the claim that Page played the guitar for the Kinks hits, You Really Got Me ‘and, All Day And All Of The Night‘.

In addition, there were a few joint recordings at that time with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers - at that time with Eric Clapton on guitar. One of the highlights of his session work was certainly working on Joe Cockers, With A Little Help From My Friends ‘and Donovans, Hurdy Gurdy Man‘. Occasionally Page also worked as a producer, for example in 1965 on two songs by the temporary Velvet underground chanteuse Christa Päffgen, better known as Nico.

Jimmy Page's early studio sessions show that early in his career he was influenced by various guitarists who were popular at the time. On the rock side, these were the likes of Scotty Moore, James Burton, and Cliff Gallup (of the Gene Vincent band); on the blues side, Page initially heard music by Elmore James and B.B. King.

With the increasing studio work Jimmy was forced to deal with new styles. “Back then I played around three sessions in a single day,” Page once said in an interview.

“A film session in the morning, then I played for some rock act and in the evening for a folk band. I never knew what was coming. But the studio work was really good for my discipline. And it gave me the chance to develop myself in all of these different styles. "

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When Jimmy joined the then very popular Yardbirds in 1966 (hit: 'For Your Love ‘), he already had a versatile musical background.

Interestingly, at first he only played bass for the retired Paul Samwell-Smith. Originally, the Yardbirds wanted their rhythm guitarist Chris Dreja to switch to bass so that Page would take over the guitar work together with the then lead guitarist Jeff Beck (who had come into the formation as the successor to Eric Clapton).

The Yardbirds with Page:

“Whatever happened,” as Page recalled in a conversation, “but not for very long. It was a matter of discipline. If you go to it with two guitars z. B. To double riffs, you just have to play exactly the same things.

Jeff Beck was occasionally disciplined, but he was an inconsistent player in that regard. He's possibly the best guitarist ever, but at the time he didn't care about that sort of thing or the audience. "

The recordings with the Yardbirds were pretty chaotic for the studio-experienced Page: “We played a piece and didn't know whether it was okay. Ian Stewart of the Rolling Stones played along on the piano and when the piece was finished we didn't even listen and producer Mickie Most just said, 'Next one!' I told him I had never had in my life worked like that. And he replied: 'Don't worry.' It all happened very quickly and it sounds like it. "

Jeff Beck got out of the Yardbirds after a US tour, Page took over the role of lead guitarist.

And the music of the beat band, which had been heavily influenced by the blues until then, went in an even more rocking and increasingly psychedelic direction, as you can hear on the ‘'67 album, Little Games‘. The number, White Summer ‘, on which Page plays acoustic guitar, and also the rocky, Glimpses‘ with a trademark Page riff, strongly point to later Led Zeppelin songs.

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Led Zeppelin

In 1968 the Yardbirds disbanded. Page, who was able to secure the rights to the name, wanted to continue as the "New Yardbirds" and began looking for people for this project. Bassist John Paul Jones, who already knew Page from joint studio sessions, found out from an article in British “Disc” magazine that Jimmy wanted to put together a new band - and promptly got in touch.

Singer Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham, who had previously played together in the "Band Of Joy", completed the new Yardbirds. After a Scandinavian tour in autumn '68 and a subsequent club tour through the UK, the formation has now been renamed "Led Zeppelin". The first gig under the official new name took place on October 25, 1968 at Surrey University.

One of Led Zeppelin's first gigs:

And with the release of the self-titled debut album on January 12, 1969, the Zeppelin really took off - at number six in the UK album charts.

With the rockers 'Communication Breakdown' and 'Dazed & Confused', the musicians established their reputation as the “first heavy metal band” - and this was certainly wrong, because the guitar-heavy rock pieces only made part of the Zeppelin at the beginning Program. Ballads with folk influences, almost traditional blues with slide guitars, sluggish rock numbers with a psychedelic touch - already on their debut, Led Zeppelin showed exactly that musical range and that idiosyncratic sound that they were to continue to refine in the following years. And which certainly set them apart from the somewhat monotonous heavy competition in the late 60s / early 70s, such as Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

About the creation of the first Led Zeppelin album, bassist John Paul Jones mentioned in an interview with Guitar & Bass (09/99) that the songs were recorded in just 15 hours, and the mix required another 15 hours.

However, one has to take into account that Page and Jones were already old studio hands at this point and brought the necessary discipline with them. And it was not the first time that Plant and Bonham were involved in recordings. In addition, the band was able to try out the songs beforehand and work on them on their Scandinavian tour. It is certainly interesting that Page, who is normally associated with a Gibson Les Paul, recorded the Led Zeppelin I ‘with a Fender Telecaster, the brightly painted instrument that Jeff Beck had given him. He also uses a Supro-Amp - by the way, Page later used the same combination for the solo of the Zeppelin classic, Stairway To Heaven ‘.

In any case, the debut album was the starting shot for a successful career: The following Zeppelin albums all advanced to classics, and pieces such as 'Whole Lotta Love', 'Black Dog' and 'Kashmir' are likely to have their place in rock forever. Have history for sure. The mega act of the 1970s was called Led Zeppelin. The albums landed at number one in the charts in the UK and mostly in the USA, the arenas got bigger and bigger and the shows became more and more sophisticated from a visual point of view. But there were also negative headlines. Jimmy Page began to use illegal drugs more and more at that time and developed health problems.

His interest in the British occultist and self-promoter Aleister Crowley also preoccupied the imagination of fans and critics. There was talk of backward messages, mysterious symbols on the LP covers and the like. Such rumors have been known since the Beatles, who are also known to have been in league with supernatural powers - and in the case of Led Zeppelin the same esoteric nonsense was spread as always with such reports.

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The end of Led Zeppelin

At the end of the 70s, the band was not spared from blows of fate: In 1977 Robert Plant's son died. And on September 25, 1980, after a night of partying, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham does not die a heroic death: he suffocates on his own vomit.

This year, after the death of AC / DC singer Bon Scott in February, is the second victim of excessive alcohol consumption. Page, Plant and Jones drew the consequences: shortly after Bonham's death, the three announced the end of Led Zeppelin.

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Jimmy Page as a guitarist

Jimmy Page was revered as one of the guitar gods par excellence in the 1970s, and not without reason. Its impressive versatility is the defining characteristic of all Zeppelin albums. Driving rock riffs, as in, Heartbreaker ‘and, Immigrant Song‘, folk borrowings on the acoustic, e.g. B. in, The Battle Of Evermore ‘, and blues-influenced, markedly bended solos are important aspects of his personal style.

But Page was not only impressive in this respect, he was also known for his sound tricks, which he used live and in the studio. When accepting the guitar amps in Led Zeppelin times, Page trusted the studio wisdom "distance creates depth". A microphone was placed directly in front of the loudspeaker of the combo or box used, another was placed some distance away; both signals were later mixed together.

This is how the spatial and broad guitar sound in the number, Out On The Tiles ‘from the album, Led Zeppelin III‘, came about. A distinctive page effect can be heard in the sloping slide riff that appears in the later course of 'Whole Lotta Love'. To this part, which Jimmy played with a metal bottleneck, he added a backward echo.

On the other hand, the Leslie Speaker Cabinet used in the number, Good Times Bad Times ‘has an almost conventional effect. This shimmering lead guitar sound was created by the microphone, rotating loudspeaker. With the number, Tangerine ‘(, Led Zeppelin III‘), Page also plays pedal steel guitar. Incidentally, this instrument was already used on the first Zeppelin album ('Your Time Is Gonna Come'), but the pedal steel sounds a bit out of tune here.

The reason: Back then, Page simply did not have the right tool to hand to get the instrument into the correct tuning. However, this did not detract from the atmosphere of the piece.

One of Jimmy Page's most popular gimmicks was certainly playing with the violin bow, which he had already practiced with the Yardbirds.

According to his own statement, Page got the idea from a conversation with a classically trained string player whom he met during a studio session. In the beginning, Page struck the strings of his electric guitar quite “conventionally” with the bow, which produced the well-known violin-like sound; later he also added some effects to this sound, such as wahwah and echo.

In addition to his various electric and acoustic guitars, the electric bass, the harmonica and the dulcimer, Page used another instrument - the theremin. This frequency generator can be controlled with hand movements and produces quite spacey and wacky effects.

With his love of experimentation in the studio and his roots in traditional styles such as folk and blues, Jimmy Page was clearly different from the other two major guitarists of the so-called "British Invasion" of the 60s, the former Yardbirds musicians Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

Beck was and still is extravagant in his playing style, but commuted much more as a crossover between the styles of rock, jazz and blues. And Clapton essentially stayed true to the blues as a guitarist.

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Jimmy Page as a solo artist

Jimmy Page disappeared from the scene for some time after the end of Led Zeppelin and only reappeared in 1982 when he produced the soundtracks for the films "Death Wish I" and "Death Wish II" - and played guitar again here. In 1982 the Led Zeppelin album, Coda ‘, was released posthumously, for which Page had put together some previously unreleased recordings from the years 1970 to ’78. In 1983 he then appeared together with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck on the A.R.M.S. tour in England and the USA, the proceeds of which went to the benefit of multiple sclerosis relief.

The video shows an appearance by the guitar icons from 1983:

A year later, Page, reunited with Robert Plant and Jeff Beck, played in the Honeydripper project, and he also formed his own band with The Firm. There were Free / Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers, Tony Franklin on bass and the later AC / DC drummer Chris Slade.

In July 1985 there was a real reunion of the three remaining Led Zeppelin musicians Page, Plant & Jones. When they performed at Bob Geldof's "Live Aid" concert, they performed with drummers Tony Thompson and Phil Collins at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium:


Another reunion concert took place in 1988 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Atlantic Records in New York's Madison Square Garden. This time John Bonham's son Jason was behind the drums. In the same year Jimmy Page played on Plant's solo album, Now & Zen ‘.

And with 'Outrider' there was a real page solo album with an interesting line-up in 1988: Robert Plant sings along with one number, Brit Blues original Chris Farlowe (voc) and again Bonham Jr. (dr) to listen. The music of Outrider was overall very bluesy, and there were also rock numbers in the Zeppelin style.

Then Jimmy Page went on tour in the USA and England. At the beginning of the 90s rumors of a Zeppelin comeback were circulating again, and indeed Page proposed to his old colleague Plant that they work together. However, the latter refused and went on a solo tour. Page did not remain idle and played an album in 1993 with the former Deep Purple and then Whitesnake singer David Coverdale.

The music of "Coverdale - Page" was relatively heavy, the riffs and licks unmistakably bore the guitarist's signature. The two hard rock veterans played some concerts together in Japan, but nothing came of a joint world tour - allegedly the advance booking did not go as expected.

In 1994 the time had come again: Page & Plant got together and the team released the CD, No Quarter ‘. In addition, they recorded a highly acclaimed unplugged session for MTV and went on a world tour:

In 1998, the two released, Walking Into Clarksdale ‘, a studio album with new songs. Although the song material was typically zeppelin-like, it did not attract any major attention. That was the same year, however, for Jimmy Page's cooperation with rapper Puff Daddy (who now calls himself P. Diddy).

Puff Daddy featuring JimmyPage:

For the remake of "Godzilla" they recorded the number, Come With Me ‘, a kind of heavy version of Zeppelin's classic, Kashmir‘. Page had very cleverly stolen from himself here and also with Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine, who played guitar and bass on this piece, a popular protagonist of the younger generation.

At the end of the 90s, Page landed a new coup: he went on tour with the retro rockers Black Crowes. The program mainly featured Led Zeppelin songs, which Jimmy and the Crows interpreted convincingly.

Here is a concert recording from 2000:

In 2000 the joint album, Live At The Greek ‘was released. In June 2001 there was another appearance by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, this time on the occasion of Roy Harper's 60th birthday.

Page has a long friendship with Harper; He was already working with the folk musician on various albums at the beginning of the 1970s - and Harper was likely to have had a lasting impact on the guitarist in terms of his passion for folk music.

In 2001 Page & Plant started another cooperation. For a tribute album in honor of the legendary rock 'n' roll label Sun - whose artist roosters included Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis - both recorded the number, My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It ‘. In keeping with the sound of the 50s, Page went really far back to his roots as a musician and guitarist. Obviously, the two Zeppelin heads like to work together every now and then - a continuation is not ruled out ...

You can read more about his life in his biography "Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page" or look at photos. In the video, Page talks to Chris Cornell at the Ace Theater in Los Angeles about his book:

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Jimmy Page's equipment

Jimmy Page got his first electric guitar at the age of 14, a Grazzioso Stratocaster copy, followed by a real Fender Strat. Finally, Jimmy got himself a black Gibson Les Paul Custom, with which he played his 60s sessions - up to this instrument was stolen from him.

For the Yardbirds, Page then mainly played the Fender Telecaster, which he had received from Jeff Beck and which was painted in a psychedelic color in the trend of the time. A Gibson Les Paul and a Vox-12-String were also used on some of the recordings. After all, he used a Danelectro live for the number, White Summer ‘.

The first Led Zeppelin album was also recorded with the Telecaster, an acoustic Gibson J-200 and an unknown twelve-string electric guitar were also used here.

Jimmy's main electric guitars in the 1970s were then a 1958 and ‘59 Gibson Les Paul (both sunburst). On stage, Page used to use Stairway To Heaven ‘a Gibson SG Doubleneck model.

He once remarked that he kept the pickups on the 12-string part of the guitar on while he played the 6 strings on the other neck. The decrease of the slightly vibrating open strings subtly add resonance vibrations to the sound.

In the video, Page talks about the making of the hit:


In old photos you can see Page in Led Zeppelin times with a Danelectro guitar and a semi-acoustic model from Gibson.

Page had, influenced by fingerstyle artists such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Roy Harper, a penchant for folk. In the course of time he used other stringed instruments in addition to the acoustic guitar for various quieter parts in the Zeppelin songs, such as a banjo on 'Gallows Pole' ('Led Zeppelin III') and a mandolin on 'The Battle Of Evermore' ('Led Zeppelin IV').

In 1998 Jimmy Page headlined the Bizarre Festival in Germany with Robert Plant. Here came, inter alia. the old Les Paul guitars from 1958 and '59 are used again.

Incidentally, the modified einige 59 model has some technical refinements: Under the pickguard there are push buttons for serial / parallel and out-of-phase switching of the two pickups, push / pull potentiometers offer further switching options for the two humbuckers. Furthermore, the prototype of the later Jimmy Page Signature model from Gibson was on the stage, which in terms of circuitry follows the ‘59 Paula. Page also had two newer Les Pauls at the start that were equipped with performance tuning systems.

This computer-controlled system called "The Cat" automatically tunes the guitar using small motors that are housed in a special bridge; An LC display has even been built into the upper body frame. Over 200 different (open) tunings can be saved in the instrument and can be called up via buttons on the ceiling. Battery packs on the guitar strap provide the operating voltage.

Page also had a Strat from the 1960s and a Ted McCarty guitar from PRS with him. At Acoustics there was a Yamaha Jimmy Page Signature and two Ovation Doublenecks, both custom-made.

In addition to the standard tuning, Page was very fond of and often using special tunings, but also more conventional ones, such as what he called the “CIA” tuning: from the low to the high strings the tuning was: d a d g a d. CIA referred to the Celtic (celtic), Indian (Indian) and Arabic (arabian) feeling of this tuning. You can hear it at the number, Black Mountain Side ‘.

Other tunings used were Open-C (c g c e g c) and Open G (d g d g b d). On some songs, Page tuned the low E string down a whole tone to D (Dropped-D). For his session work in the 60s, Page used a small supro-amp.

In the Yardbirds days he played Vox AC 30 combos, and later also Vox top parts with boxes. With Zeppelin, sound fanatic Page would have tried out and used a wide variety of amplifiers and speaker types from Vox, Fender and Marshall.

Live he used modified 100-watt Marshall amps in the 1970s, the output of which was increased to 200 watts. Several Marshall 4 × 12 ″ loudspeaker boxes stood next to each other on the stage. The other equipment included a wah-wah pedal, a harmonizer, an echoplex and the theremin. At that 1998 bizarre gig mentioned above, Jimmy Page used a pedalboard made by English rack specialist Pete Cornish.

With this board, Page controlled a WahWah, a Digitech Whammy pedal, two chorus units, a phaser and a booster. Two old Echoplex Banchecho devices can be switched on via loops. Three Fender Tonemaster amps were selected via the Cornish board, connected at the time were 4 × 12 ″ cabinets, also from Fender.

Bring the sound of Jimmy Page into your home - with our practical playalongs for jamming along!

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Jimmy Page discography


1967Little Games
1971Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page
2005BBC sessions

Led Zeppelin

1969Led Zeppelin
1969Led Zeppelin II
1970Led Zeppelin III
1971 Called Led Zeppelin IV, Untitled, Four Symbols or Zoso
1973Houses of the Holy
1975Physical graffiti
1976The Song Remains the Same (live)
1979In Through the Out Door
1997BBC Sessions (live)
2002Early Days & Latter Days (Best of)
2003How the West Was Won (live)
2007Mothership (Best of)
2014Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Edition)