Musicologists have said that Jimmy Page played on 25-to-50% of all popular music recordings made in England in the 1960s. Even the lower figure in that range seems astonishing but, no matter the actual number, something of young Jimmy Page’s passion and abilities is revealed in such a statement. His session guitar work saw him perform on recordings by The Who, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison & Them and Petula Clark, among many, many others while playing fifteen sessions a week.
He is purported to be responsible, together with Alan Holdsworth, for the wonderful, psychedelic soloing on Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man”. We say purported because it is not documented and Donovan has attributed the guitar work to Page and Holdsworth at times and to Alan Parker at others. Nobody seems to know for sure.
Playing on a TV show at the age of 13, in 1957, when asked about his future he expressed a desire to become a biologist and cure cancer. While touring with a band called The Crusaders, in the early ‘60s, Jimmy contracted mononucleosis, following which he abandoned music to enroll in art college. Thank heavens for us rock fans he returned to music a couple years later. A living legend and rock guitar god, Page played briefly in The Yardbirds, the eclectic and innovative ‘60s British rock group that was also a stepping-stone for Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.
All three of these guitarists are in the top 5 of Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list. Wanting to create a new and heavy blues-based rock sound, Jimmy Page founded Led Zeppelin and the rest, as they say, is history.
Inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame twice, for his work with both Led Zeppelin and The Yardbirds, Jimmy Page is also an Officer of the Order of the British Empire as well as an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro, an honor bestowed upon him for his charity work on behalf of the children of Brasil. His influence is immeasurable and has been cited by such guitar luminaries as Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Lifeson.
Jimmy’s guitar collection, housed in a small, climate-controlled warehouse, is – according to Jimmy – out of control and includes his first Gibson Les Paul, which he bought from Joe Walsh, as well as guitars previously owned by Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran.
Truly one of the guitar gods, Jimmy continues to inspire guitarists both new and seasoned, and will likely influence musicians, bands and songwriters for generations to come.