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25 June 2009

James Patrick Page, OBE

Jimmy PageJames Patrick Page OBE (born 9 January 1944) is an English guitarist, composer and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he co-founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.
Unquestionably one of the all-time most influential, important, and versatile guitarists and songwriters in rock history is Jimmy Page. Just about every rock guitarist from the late '60s/early '70s to the present day has been influenced by Page's work with Led Zeppelin -- his monolithic riffs served as a blueprint for what would eventually become heavy metal, yet he refused to be pigeonholed to any single musical style (touching upon folk, country, funk, blues, and other genres). Page also lent a hand in writing (or co-writing) Zeppelin's vast array of classic songs and produced all their albums. Born on January 9, 1944, in Heston, Middlesex, England, Page picked up the guitar at age 13 after being inspired by the Elvis Presley tune "Baby Let's Play House," and while he took several lessons, was mostly self-taught. Instead of attending college right after high school, Page decided to join his first real rock band, Neil Christian & the Crusaders, whom he toured England with. But Page fell seriously ill (with glandular fever) and was forced to quit and recuperate. Dejected, Page pondered giving up music and focusing on another interest, painting, as he enrolled at an art college in Sutton, Surrey.
Bonham - Plant - Page - Jones (LZ)
Despite it being obvious that the Yardbirds were on the downside of their career (Beck left shortly after Page came onboard), Page appeared on the album Little Games and several tours before the band finally called it a day in 1968. With a string of tour dates still set up throughout Europe, Page decided to go through with the shows and put together a new band who was dubbed the New Yardbirds -- including longtime session bassist John Paul Jones, plus newcomers Robert Plant on vocals and John Bonham on drums. After the completion of their initial tour, the band changed their name to Led Zeppelin and explored the still largely uncharted territory of hard rock/heavy metal. The band immediately became one of rock's most successful and enduring bands, issuing a string of classic albums from 1969 through 1975 -- Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV, Houses of the Holy, and Physical Graffiti -- which spawned such classic rock radio standards as "Dazed and Confused," "Whole Lotta Love," "Immigrant Song," "Black Dog," "Stairway to Heaven," and "Kashmir," as the band also became a must-see live act in the process. Page also found the time to work with folk artist Roy Harper (most notably his 1971 release, Stormcock, under the alias S. Flavius Mercurius). Zeppelin was arguably the biggest rock band in the world by the mid-'70s (their influence on other rock bands following in their wake cannot be stressed enough) as they launched their own record company, Swan Song, but it was around this time that Page began dabbling with heroin and other substances, eventually leading to him becoming a full-blown addict by the late '70s/early '80s (as a result, his playing began to suffer). Also, Page's interest in the occult became a concern to those around him (he went as far as purchasing a mansion on the Loch Ness in Scotland that was once owned by renowned Satanist Aleister Crowley). Sources: Wikipedia, AllMusic

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