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January 9, 2023

20 Amazing Photographs of Jimmy Page on Stage From the 1970s

Jimmy Page is one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most influential guitarists, and over the years has become a household name even in households without music fans. He has earned countless accolades and awards throughout his monumental career with Led Zeppelin, his time with the Yardbirds and The Firm, and as a session musician, but has maintained his humility and dedication to the music above all else.

Led Zeppelin came from a very specific idea in Page’s mind. “I wanted Zeppelin to be a marriage of blues, hard rock and acoustic music, topped with heavy choruses,” Jimmy once said in an interview, “a combination that had never been done before. Lots of light and shade in the music.”

A crucial element needed for this idea was a group of virtuosic musicians that gelled well as a group. He knew from his time with the Yardbirds and other groups that groups could be filled with talented musicians but never really click, so Page set about recruiting a group that he thought would work well as a unit. “The New Yardbirds,” as they were first called, consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham and bassist John Paul Jones, with Jimmy on guitar. This now-legendary lineup of Led Zeppelin never changed, unlike the lineups of so many other classic rock ‘n’ roll bands.

Led Zeppelin, who got their name from a Kieth Moon joke about a former group of Jimmy’s going over like a “lead zeppelin,” released eight studio albums during their twelve-year career (1968-1980) and one after their break-up. Taking full responsibility for the sound of Led Zeppelin’s records, Jimmy Page produced every single one of these albums.

This period is another where Page’s earlier session work really came in handy. While he was recording three sessions a day, he learned a lot about how recordings should NOT be made. Many of the guitar amplifiers were recorded with microphones right in front, resulting in a less-than-desirable sound quality. Jimmy also learned that recording drums in tight rooms made them sound like “cardboard boxes.”

Taking these experiences, Page experimented constantly with mic placement and different room shapes for recording. He would often mic an amp up close, but also place one as far as twenty feet away to capture the ambient sound, which helped give Zeppelin recordings a quality of depth lacking in other bands’ records. A famous example of Page’s experimentation are the drums on “When the Levee Breaks” from Led Zeppelin IV. The drum set was infamously placed at the bottom of a staircase, and were recorded by placing microphones at the top of the stairs to create a unique echo effect.

Jimmy Page’s career with Led Zeppelin was cut short in 1980 when drummer John Bonham passed away at Jimmy’s house in Berkshire. Page was so traumatized by the event he couldn’t touch a guitar for months after his close friend’s death. The remaining members refused to work on any musical project called “Led Zeppelin” since then, except in 2007 where they reunited for one concert, the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert, which raised money for the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund. John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham, played drums for that performance.


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