Before I offer up the next admittedly silly (but really fun!) Squee Lesson, I think itâ€™s time I had a more serious squee over Jimmy and his genius. I tell you, the man is not only rapturously gorgeous, but oh, his talent is too! I know it seems like I am an empty-headed squee machine when it comes to Pagey, but trust meâ€¦this man is far more than his looks, and I know why! Come see…
Any serious music fan knows rock music owes A LOT to Mr Page, whether you like him or not. If you have picked up a guitar to play rock since he did, you are probably playing something that Jimmy either invented or popularized, and you may not be aware of it. Oh yes, the yummy Mr Page is a musical genius. I am well aware of the criticisms: heâ€™s a sloppy player, he canâ€™t play anymore, he plundered and stole music from all over the placeâ€¦blah blah blah. The first two I will cover later, but that last oneâ€¦if you seriously believe that I say unreservedly you are a fool. Everyone takes their influences from somewhere. You donâ€™t grow up in a vacuum and completely invent everything you do from zero. Jimmy did exactly what every person (even those he allegedly â€˜stoleâ€™ music from) has done who was creative regarding music or any other profession for that matter, he took the music he found inspiring and was influenced by and innovated it, coming up with pieces that were in themselves wholly unique. The body of music Led Zeppelin created is stunning and was not like anything else that came before it. My Uncles, who were both guitarists, were so taken with him they used to sit in the living room listening to him over and over picking his playing apart and just marveling at it, and they knew their stuff musically. Whenever this came up, usually from someone who didnâ€™t like Zep, they simply laughed – and you should be laughing at it too.
So who were his influences? Well, thereâ€™s Elmore James, Bert Jansch (who I am very annoyed with at this present moment, but that is another story. Grrrr!!), Scotty Moore, James Burton, Cliff Gallup, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, BB Kingâ€¦Jimmy loved a lot of different styles â€“ Celtic, country, folk, Delta blues, Eastern and Indian, lots of stuff! He said that he didnâ€™t have one major influence, just anything played on six strings that sent a shiver down his spine. Ooooâ€¦that sounds lovely darling! (Oops â€“ sorry! I am trying to be relatively squeeless here) It is often said that Jeff Beck was his major influence and again the silly talk of him stealing things from the Yardbirds crops upâ€¦honestly how dumb are people?? He was a MEMBER of that band! Anyway, they may have influenced each other a bit, but Jimmy was a seasoned musician before he met Beck and had played on much of the music you heard from the 60â€™s coming out of London. Estimates on his session work put him at being on between 50-90% of the records released in the UK from 1963 to 1967. He also wrote some of it, and was the house producer for Immediate Records. I can go into long detail about all the stuff he was doing during that time period, but suffice it to say that his credentials speak volumes about his talent. And so too do all the people who have worked with him.
I just marvel at his beautiful beautiful playing. Just listen to the Rain Song and Jimmyâ€™s gorgeous playing in one of his famous tunings. Could you ever get tired of such inspired playing? And have you ever seen him when he breaks a string in the middle of the Stairway solo and he just flawlessly flips into another scale and keeps going â€“ that is amazing skill! Just listen to him blaze away in The Song Remains the Same, from fast and furious to slow and melodic, there isnâ€™t one thing out of place. How about some slide guitar? Riffs? There is so much in his playingâ€¦tender emotion, raw sex, fun and funky, itâ€™s all there â€“ every emotion you can experience captured in his music. Itâ€™s quite simply extraordinary!
A lot of you have no idea what all the fuss is about regarding the delicious Mr Page, so, here comes another series on the science bit! Youâ€™re about to get a LEDUCATION. Hopefully by the end youâ€™ll see why Jimmy Page is one of the greatest and most influential guitarists music has ever produced. And youâ€™ll learn some cool stuff about guitarists too because I can guarantee your favorite was influenced by Jimmy, or does things he did. And youâ€™ll discover there is real chops behind all my gushing Pagey squee too. 😉