Music History

Music History Biographies

Music History Of The Week

Music History Calendar

Jimmy Page

On 09/01/1944: Jimmy Page was born in Heston, Middlesex, England. In 1952, he and his family moved to Feltham and then to Epson in Surrey. In the house they moved to, Page found his first guitar which had been left there. When he was 12, Page started to learn how to play the guitar. He took a few lessons in Kingston, but mostly taught himself. Page's early influences included Scotty Moore and James Burton. At the age of 13, Page appeared on Huw Wheldon's talent show "All Your Own" in a skiffle quartet. When he left secondary school he was interviewed for a laboratory assistant job but decided instead to pursue music.
Between 1960 and 1961, Page backed the beat poet Royston Ellis and singer Red E. Lewis. He was spotted by Neil Christian and asked to join his band the Crusaders. Page toured with Christian for two years. Whilst with Christian, he fell seriously ill with glandular fever and had to stop touring. During his recovery, he enrolled at Sutton Art College, Surrey to concentrate on painting instead of music.
Whilst still a student, Page performed regularly at The Marquee with bands such as Cyril Davies' All Stars, Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and fellow guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. One night, he was spotted by John Gibb of Brian Howard & the Silhouettes. Gibb asked him to record some singles for Columbia Graphophone Company. Mike Leander of Decca Records then offered Page regular studio work. In 1963, his first recording for Decca was "Diamonds" by Jet Harris and Tony Meeham, which went to Number 1 on the charts.
Page had brief stints with Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, Mike Hurst and the Method and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men. After those, Page dedicated himself to full-time session work. He became known as Lil Jim Pea to distinguish him from the other popular session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan. Page would be allowed to largely play what he wanted at the beginning, as he couldn't read music at that stage. Shel Talmy would choose Page as his favoured session guitarist. As a consequence, Page played on songs by The Who and The Kinks.
In 1964, Page would play on tracks by Marianne Faithfull, The Nashville Teens, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison & Them, Dave Berry, Brenda Lee and Petula Clark amongst others. In the same year, Page remembers contributing to incidental music for The Beatle's film "A Hard Day's Night". Later in the year, Page was asked to replace Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds. Page declined out of loyalty to his friend, Clapton.
In 1965, Andrew Loog Oldham hired Page as a house producer and A&R man for the new Immediate Records label. In the February of 1965, Page had been offered a position in the Yardbirds again, when Clapton left. Page declined as his session career was progressing well and he was concerned about his health when touring. He suggested they hire Jeff Beck instead. Page played on and/or produced tracks by John Mayall, Nico, Chris Farlowe, Twice as Much, Donovan, Johnny Hallyday, Al Stewart, Joe Cocker and Clapton. He produced one of Dana Gillespie's early singles called "Thank You Boy". Page started a short songwriting partnership with romantic interest Jackie DeShannon. He composed songs for the John Williams album "The Maureeny Wishful Album" with Big Jim Sullivan. At the time, Page was doing 3 sessions a day, fifteen sessions a week. Page would also have a recorded jam session with Keith Richards where they covered Robert Johnson's "Little Queen of Spades".
Page left studio work when Stax Records influence led to more brass and orchestral arrangements instead of guitar.
On 16/05/1966, Page, Jeff Beck, Keith Moon, John Paul Jones and Nicky Hopkins recorded "Beck's Bolero". Page was inspired to start a new band with Beck, John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Without a vocalist and with contractual problems though the project never happened. Moon suggested the name Lead Zeppelin after Entwistle commented on the proceedings taking to the air like a lead balloon. A few weeks later, Page went to a Yardbirds concert at Oxford. Backstage, Page was there when Paul Samwell-Smith announced he was leaving the band. Page offered to replace him and took up the bass position. Later he switched to guitar (Jeff Beck playing guitar as well) when Chris Deja moved to bass. They released only one single with the lineup, the song "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago".
In October 1966, Jeff Beck left the Yardbirds. The band decided not to recruit a new member and stayed as a quartet.
In 1967, The Yardbirds released the album "Little Games" with Page on lead guitar. It was not a commercial success.
In 1968, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left the band. Page recruited vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham to finish the remaining tour dates in Scandinavia. The group would be renamed the New Yardbirds. Chris Deja left to become a photographer and John Paul Jones was recruited in his place. They soon changed the band name again to Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin were hugely successful, becoming one of the best-selling music groups in history. They were one of the most influential hard rock groups of all time. Each of their nine studio albums reached the top 10 of the US Billboard album chart, and six reached the number-one spot.
In 1980, Led Zeppelin disbanded after John Bonham died at Page's home. Page was reluctant to pick up a guitar again through grieving his friend.
In 1981, He returned to the stage at a Jeff Beck show at the Hammersmith Odeon. In the same year, he joined Chris Squire and Alan White to form the group XYZ. They rehearsed, but ultimately the project was cancelled.
In 1982, Page collaborated with Michael Winner to record the "Death Wish II" soundtrack. He recorded it at his studio, The Sol in Cookham.
In 1983, Page appeared in the A.R.M.S charity series of concerts. They featured a jam at the end of the show of the song "Layla" with Page, Beck and Clapton. At the first shows at the Royal Albert Hall, Steve Winwood was on vocals. A tour of the US followed with Paul Rodgers taking Winwood's place. In December, Page joined Plant on stage for an encore at the Hammersmith Odeon, London.
In 1984, Page joined Roy Harper for his album "Whatever Happened to Jugula" and on tour. In the same year, Page joined Plant in the band The Honeydrippers. They released the album "The Honeydrippers: Volume 1". Page would also join John Paul Jones for the film soundtrack "Scream for Help".
In 1985, Page joined Plant in another band The Firm. The first album was released that year called "The Firm". Also in 1985, Page, Plant and John Paul Jones reunited as Led Zeppelin with Phil Collins and Tony Thompson on drums for the Live Aid concert.
In 1986, The Firm released the album "Mean Business". The band toured, but would soon disband. Page did session work for Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and the Rolling Stones. Also in 1986, Page reunited with former Yardbirds members for the Box of Frog's album "Strange Land".
In 1988, Page released a solo album called "Outrider". Plant contributed to the album. Page returned the favour by contributing to Plant's 1988 album "Now and Zen". Led Zeppelin would reunite with Jason Bonham, John Bonham's son, for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show.
In 1990, Page joined Plant on stage at Knebworth. Page also performed at Jason Bonham's wedding.
In 1993, Page collaborated with David Coverdale in the group Coverdale Page. Their album "Coverdale/Page" was released that year.
In 1994, Page joined Plant for MTV's "Unplugged" tv series.
In 1998, Page and Plant released the album "Walking into Clarksdale" with drummer Michael Lee. Page participated in various charity concerts and charity work, particularly for his wife's Jimena Gomez-Paratcha's charity Action for Brazil's Children Trust. Also in 1998, Page joined Puff Daddy for his song "Come with Me" which was sampled from Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir".
In 1999, Page joined The Black Crowes for a two-night performance at the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles.
In 2000, Page and The Black Crowes were co-headliners on a US tour with The Who.
In 2001, Page joined Fred Durst and Wes Scantlin for a performance at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards.
In 2005, Page was honoured with Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He was also made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro for his charity work. Also in 2005, he was awarded a Grammy award.
In 2006, Led Zeppelin was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame.
In 2007, Led Zeppelin with Jason Bonham on drums played at a tribute concert at the O2 Arena, London for Ahmet Ertegun.
In 2008, Page performed at the Olympic closing ceremony with Leona Lewis to represent the passing over to the 2012 Olympic games in Britain. Also in 2008, Page co-produced the documentary film "It Might Get Loud" which featured Page, The Edge and Jack White. He also performed with John Paul Jones and the Foo Fighters to close the Foo Fighter's concert at Wembley Stadium.
In 2009, Page performed with Jeff Beck when inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2010, Page was honoured a Global Peace Award by the United Nations' Pathways to Peace organisation for headlining at the Show of Peace Concert in Beijing.
In 2011, Page joined Donovan on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, London. He also appeared with The Black Crowes at Shepherd's Bush Empire, London. In addition, Page appeared at Roy Harper's 70th Birthday celebration at Royal Festival Hall, London.
In 2012, Page, Plant and Jones received Kennedy Center Honors from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony.
In 2014, Page was awarded an Honourary Doctorate Degree from Berklee College of Music.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
If you would like more, come join our Music News and History Facebook Group Community