Happy Birthday, Jimmy Page: Led Zeppelin Guitarist Turns 73

By: Steve Kostan 

JIMMY PAGE is one of rock’s elite that really impacted the rock world. His mastery of guitar is only part of it. His ability as a Producer was key in the success of LED ZEPPELIN. His recording techniques made LZ stand head and shoulders above almost all of his musical peers when it came to getting that BIG sound that jumped off the record. If you listen to similar groups like The CREAM, and JEFF BECK’s “Truth” album, you can really hear the difference, Those early Led Zepp albums made my cheesy little stereo sound like it was 4 was times big. There’s a dynamic depth, and width to the sound that was way ahead of most others. none of today’s computer tricks. You want that booming drum sound like “When the Levee Breaks” ? Put Bonham’s drums in a stairwell and dangle one the mics from the ceiling. Stuff like that. Producer Jack Douglas was able to go there a few years later with his work on several Aerosmith albums. (Wings, Toys, Rocks) Hard and soft, Light and dark, Hammer and feather.

Pre Led Zeppelin he played on dozens of other people’s hit records with a wide variety of styles, not just hard blues rock. In those days he still lived with his mom and he would go into “work” and play, then come home. A couple of the weirder sessions were for Petula Clark, and Goldfinger if you can believe that. LZ became a musical blueprint for 1970’s hard rock and spawned hundreds of bands we all know and like. He carried on after LZ with the soundtrack to the movie “Death Wish II”, the band with Paul Rogers The FIRM, and a great solo album, “The Outrider” in 88. That fall, in Oct of 1988, JIMMY PAGE played a smoking solo show at the Joe Louis Arena with the ultra young Jason Bonham on drums. We all invested in some real sweat equity rock that night. It wore me out just to watch! The Page – Plant tours of 1995 @ The Palace were a must see. Egyptian Pharaohs and all. I also loved the show with BLACK CROWES in June of 2000. He asked them to pick the LZ songs THEY dug, and the result was some blistering, Deep Cut stoner jams, getting much more time than usual. We guitar heads were in sonic nirvana.

Personally, if Plant stays out of the picture, which is a safe bet, I’d like to see him grab one or two other singers and hit the road again. Let’s bring those LZ classics alive one more time, while we’re YOUNG! 🙂 HAPPY BIRTHDAY JIMMY PAGE!

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