James Patrick Page (Jr.) a.k.a Jimmy Page is the founding member of the ’70’s super-group known as Led Zeppelin. Together with Robert Plant, John Bonham and John Paul Jones, Page and the Zeppelin rose to be one of the most prominent figures in rock and roll music and to this day remain a huge influence to musicians.
Born on January 9, 1944, Jimmy Page picked up the guitar in early childhood and hasn’t put it down yet as he ages into his 70’s.
A session guitarist before forming a powerhouse of a rock band, Jimmy Page is regarded as one of the best guitarists in modern history. His knowledge of the instrument and its features make him an expert of the guitar, talent which has led him to receive the OBE (Order of the British Empire), one of the most prestigious titles in the world.
As a young kid, I can remember the exact moment when I knew I wanted to become a guitarist. My friends had recently started guitar lessons, sparking my interest. One day while working on my family farm I heard Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” play through the truck’s speakers. My ears wiggled with excitement and the song made me want to grow my hair long and rock out for the rest of my life.
Page has been a major influence of me personally but he has also paved the way for many guitarists and music enthusiasts.
Jimmy Page was the first musician to (publicly, I’m not sure if the first ever) use a violin bow on a guitar in both a live and recording setting. When the band’s major hit “Stairway to Heaven” was on tour, Page became the first guitarist to promote a double-necked guitar that was custom made by Gibson. The guitar combined both a 12-string and a standard 6-string all onto one Gibson SG body. If you Google Jimmy Page, I guarantee him with his iconic double-neck is one of the first results.
His rough, heavy, and intricate playing of the frets has led rock historians to credit Page as a founding father of the heavy rock and metal sound.
Not only did he simply play the guitar and hang up his hat. Page produced all of Led Zeppelin’s studio albums and was the driving force behind the recording process while the band was active. He was truly a master of the boards and was one of the first musicians to promote over-dubbing and the use of layering in the studio.
Before Zeppelin, if bands had too many guitars on a track that contradicted a live performance, it was looked down upon. Jimmy Page was a session musician and early life started to tinker with the capabilities of the studio equipment.
One of the most inspiring aspects of Page was his creative drive and his ability to say screw it and try a new technique. When he picked up a violin bow and stroked his guitar strings, people probably thought he was crazy. I can’t imagine hearing “Dazed and Confused” without it now, and it showed me that as creators we need to ignore the fear of rejection and go with our instincts.
If I were to list his individual accomplishments this would look more like a Wikipedia entry than a profile, so if you aren’t convinced that Jimmy Page is guitar royalty you can verify with almost any guitarist, anywhere.
This didn’t nearly touch on as many aspects of Jimmy Page as I would have liked, but this is my homage to my true idol of the guitar and leader of my favourite band. Part 2 and 3 of The Jimmy’s Series are sure to keep you satisfied!