Jimmy Page Biography over 60 Years of history, constantly kept up to date!!

Jimmy Page, born James Patrick Page on the 9th of January 1944.

Born in Heston, Middlesex, London England.

His father was an Industrial personnel manager and mother worked as a Doctor’s Secretary.

Page first picked up a guitar when he was 12 years old, he took some lessons in Kingston but was mainly self taught.

Early influences of Jimmy’s were Scooty Moore and James Burton. One of his first guitars was a second hand 1959 Futurama Grazioso. 

James Page later on was also influenced by acoustic folk playing of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, and the blues sounds of Elmore James and B.B. King.

At 14, Jimmy played  Huw Wheldon’s All Your Own talent quest programme in a skiffle band, which was popular English music at the time.

Page left School at 14 to pursue music, he then joined a band called The Crusaders. Page toured with The Crusaders for almost 2 years and later played on several records of the singer Neil Christian, including the November 1962 Single “The Road to Love”.

During his stint with Christian, Page fell seriously ill with glandular fever and had to stop touring.

While recovering, Page decided to put his musical career on hold and concentrate on his other love, painting. He enrolled at Sutton Art College in Surrey.

At college Page would often jam on stage at the marquee with band such as Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc and with guitarist Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck.

One night he was spotted by John Gibb of The Silhouettes, who asked him to help record some singles for EMI, including “The Worrying Kid”.

Page then got an offer from Mike Leander of Decca Records which gave him regular studio work as a session guitarist.

On his first session for the label was the recording “Diamonds” by Jet Harris & Tony Meehan which went to Number 1 on the singles chart in early 1963.

After brief stints with Carter-Lewis & The Southerners, Mike Hurst’s group, and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men. Page committed himself to full-time session work. As a session guitarist he was known as ‘Little Jim’ so there was no confusion with Big Jim Sullivan i.e. ‘Big Jim’. Page was the favoured session guitarist of producer Shel Talmy, and therefore he ended up doing session work on songs for The Who and The Kinks as a direct result of the Talmy connection.

In 1964 Page’s studio output included Marianne Faithfull’s “As Tears Go By” ,The Nashville Teens ” Tobacco Road”, The Rolling Stones “Heart of Stone”, Van Morrison’s “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Here Comes the Night”, Dave Berry’s “The Crying” and “My Baby Left Me” and Breand Lee’s “Is It True”. 

Under the auspices of producer Talmy, Page contributed to The Kinks 1964 debut album (although, despite rumours to the contrary, he did not play any of the guitar solos); and he sat in on the sessions for The Who’s first single “I Can’t Explain”, and played on the B-side “Bald Headed Woman”.

In 1965, Page was hired by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Olham to act as house producer and A&R man for the new lable Immediate Records, which also allowed him to play on and/or produce tracks by John MayallNicoChirs Farlowe and Eric Clapton. Page also formed a brief songwriting partnership with then romantic interest, Jackie DeShannon. He worked as session musician on the Al Stewart album Love Chronicles in 1969. He also played guitar on five tracks of Joe Cocker’s debut album, With a Little Help from My Friends. 

The Yardbirds

n late 1964 Page was approached about the possibility of replacing Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, but declined the offer out of loyalty to his friend, Clapton. In February 1965 Clapton left the Yardbirds, and Page was formally offered Clapton’s spot, but because he was unwilling to give up his lucrative career as a session musician, and because he was still worried about his health under touring conditions, he suggested his friend, Jeff Beck, fill the position.

On the 16th May 1966, drummer Keith Moon (The Who), bass player John Paul Jones, keyboardist Nicky HopkinsJeff Beck and Page recorded “Beck’s Bolero” in London’s IBC Studios. The experience gave Page an idea to form a new group featuring Beck, along with The Who’s John Entwistle on bass and Keith Moon on drums, however the lack of a quality vocalist and contractual problems brought the project to a halt.

Weeks later, Page was again offered a spot in the Yardbirds and at first played bass guitar with the group after the departure of Paul Samwell-Smith, before finally switching to twin lead guitar with Beck when Chris Dreja moved to bass. The musical potential of the line-up however was scuttled by interpersonal conflicts caused by constant touring and a lack of commercial success, although they released one single, “Happenings Ten Year Time Ago”. (While Page and Beck played together in The Yardbirds, the trio of Page, Beck and Clapton never played in the original group all at the same time. The three guitarists did appear on stage together at the Arms Charity Concerts in 1983). 

Despite the departure of Keith Relf and Jim McCarty in 1968, Page wished to continue the group with a new line-up to fulfill unfinished tour dates. He recruited vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham, and was contacted by John Paul Jones who asked to join, to which Page agreed.

During the tour the new group appeared as “The New Yardbirds“, but Keith Moon, suggested that Jimmy Page’s new band would go over like a “Lead Zeppelin.” Jimmy Page stuck with that name to use for his new band. The band later changed it to “Led Zeppelin,” to avoid a mispronounciation of “Leed Zeppelin.”

Led Zeppelin

Page’s past experiences both in the studio and with the Yardbirds were very influential in contributing to the success of Led Zeppelin in the 1970s. As a producer, composer, and guitarist he helped make Led Zeppelin a prototype for many future rock bands, and was one of the major driving forces behind the rock sound of that era, influencing a host of other guitarists.

For example, his sped up, downstroke guitar riff in “Communication Breakdown” is cited as guitarist Johnny Ramone’s inspiration for his punk-defining, strictly downstroke guitar strumming, while Page’s landmark guitar solo from the song “Heartbreaker” has been credited by Eddie Van Halen as the inspiration for his two-hand tapping technique after he saw Led Zeppelin perform in 1972.

Page’s solo in the famous epic “Stairway to Heaven” has been voted by readers of various guitar magazines, including Guitar World and Total Guitar as the greatest guitar solo of all time, and he was named ‘Guitarist of the Year’ five years straight during the 1970s by Creem magazine.

Led Zeppelin went on to sell out concerts worldwide but disbanded in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham at Page’s home.

After Led Zeppelin

Page made a successful return to the stage at a Jeff Beck show in March 1981 at the Hammersmith Odeon. He also appeared with the A.R.M.S. (Action Research for Multiple Sclerosis) a charity of concerts in 1983 which honoured Small Faces bass player Ronnie Lane, who suffered from the disease.

A 1984 video of a London A.R.M.S. concert was released featuring two songs from Page’s work on the Death Wish II soundtrack (the Charles Brosnan film), featuring Steve Winwood on vocals, and an on stage jam of “Layla” reunited Page with Yardbirds guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.

The Madison Square Garden show featured vocals by future The Firm vocalist Paul Rodgers who was originally with Free and then Bad Company.

During the tour Page looked extremely thin and frail. According to the book “Hammer of the Gods”, Page reportedly told friends that he’d just given up heroin after seven years of use.

Page next linked up with Roy Harper for an album “Whatever Happened to Jugula?” and occasional concerts, performing a predominantly acoustic set at folk festivals under various guises such as the MacGregors, and Themselves.

In 1984, Page recorded with former Zeppelin vocalist, Robert Plant as The Honeydrippers, and with John Paul Jones on the film soundtrack Scream for Help.

Various other projects soon followed such as session work for Graham NashStephen StillsBox of Frogsthe Rolling Stones (on their 1986 single “One Hit (to the Body)“), and Robert Plant, a solo album Outrider, a collaboration with David Coverdale in Coverdale-Page.

In addition, he also collaborated with director Michael Winner to record the Death Wish II and subsequent Death Wish 3 soundtrack, released in 1982 and 1985 respectively. Several of these albums Page recorded and produced at his own recording studio, The Sol in Cookham, which he had purchased from Gus Dudgeon in the early 1980s.

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin re-formed in 1985 for the Live Aid concert with both Phil Collins and Tony Thompson filling drum duties. However, the band considered their performance to be sub-standard with Page going on stage heavily intoxicated and let down by a poorly-tuned Les Paul. They were one of the few Live Aid acts to refuse permission for their segment to be included in the 20th anniversary DVD release of the concert.

In 1986, Page reunited temporarily with his Yardbirds bandmates to play on several tracks of the Box of Frogs album Strange Land. Led Zeppelin also re-formed for the Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary show on 14 May, 1988. Page, Plant and Jones, as well as John Bonham‘s son Jason closed the 12-hour show. The band have also played together at various private family functions.

In 1990, a Knebworth concert to aid the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre and the British School for Performing Arts and Technology saw Plant unexpectedly joined by Page to perform “Misty Mountain Hop“, “Wearing and Tearing” and “Rock and Rol“.

In 1994, Page reunited with Plant for the penultimate performance in MTV‘s “Unplugged” series.

The 90-minute special, dubbed Unledded, premiered to the highest ratings in MTV’s history. In October of the same year, the session was released as the CD No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded, and in 2004 as the DVD No Quarter Unledded.

Following a highly successful mid-90s tour to support No Quarter, Page and Plant recorded 1998’s Walking into Clarksdale.

Since 1990, Page has been heavily involved in remastering the entire Led Zeppelin back catalogue and is currently participating in various charity concerts and charity work, particularly the Action for Brazil’s Children Trust (ABC Trust), founded by his wife Jimena Gomez-Paratcha in 1998.

In the same year, Page played guitar for rap singer/producer Puff Daddy‘s song “Come with Me,” which heavily samples Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and was included in the soundtrack of Godzilla.

The two later performed the song on Saturday Night Live.

A live album and tour with The Black Crowes follow in 1999. In 2001 he made an appearance on stage with Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst and Wes Scantlin of Puddle of Mudd at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards in Frankfurt, where they performed a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You“.

In 2005, Page was awarded the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his Brazilian charity work at Task Brazil, made an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro later that year, and was awarded a Grammy award.

In November 2006, Led Zeppelin were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. The television broadcasting of the event consisted of an introduction to the band by various famous admirers, a presentation of an award to Jimmy Page and then a short speech by the guitarist. After this, rock group Wolfmother played a tribute to Led Zeppelin, playing the song “Communication Breakdown“.

In 2006, Page attended the induction of Led Zeppelin to the UK Music Hall of Fame. During an interview for the BBC for said event, he expressed plans to record new material in 2007, saying “It’s an album that I really need to get out of my system… there’s a good album in there and it’s ready to come out” and “Also there will be some Zeppelin things on the horizon”.

On 2 December 2007, Contacmusic.com confirmed that Page was “Too traumatised for Zeppelin reunion” until now. He states in the article, “After John Bonham’s death I spent 15 years not even wanting to think about Led Zeppelin. But I also have difficulty thinking it’s all over. Now at least one concert is planned and I’m incredibly happy about that.”

On 10 December 2007, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin, as well as John Bonham‘s son, Jason Bonham played a charity concert at the O2 Arena London.

On 7 June 2008 Page and John Paul Jones played alongside the Foo Fighters at Wembley Stadium.

On 20 June 2008, Page was awarded a honoury doctorate by the University of Surrey, for his services to the music industry.

For the 2008 Olympics, Jimmy Page, David Beckham and Leona Lewis represented Britain during the closing ceremonies on August 24, 2008. Beckham rode a double-decker bus into the stadium, and Page and Lewis performed Whole Lotta Love, representing the change in Olympic venue to London in 2012.

It Might Get Loud

Jimmy Page, The Edge & Jack White recent adventure was a film documentry called It Might Get Loud.

It Might Get Loud isn’t like any other rock’n roll documentary.

Filmed through the eyes of three virtuosos from three different generations, audiences get up close and personal, discovering how a furniture upholsterer from Detroit, a studio musician and painter from London and a seventeen-year-old Dublin schoolboy, each used the electric guitar to develop their unique sound and rise to the pantheon of superstar.

Rare discussions are provoked as we travel with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White to influential locations of their pasts. Born from the experience is intimate access to the creative genesis of each legend, such as Link Wray’s “Rumble’s” searing impression upon Jimmy Page, who surprises audiences with an impromptu air guitar performance.

But that’s only the beginning.

While each guitarist describes his own musical rebellion, a rock’n roll summit is being arranged. Set on an empty soundstage, the musicians come together, crank up the amps and play.

They also share their influences, swap stories, and teach each other songs.

During the summit Page’s double-neck guitar, The Edge’s array of effects pedals and White’s new mic, custom built into his guitar, go live.

The musical journey is joined by visual grandeur too. We see the stone halls of Headley Grange where “Stairway to Heaven” was composed, visit a haunting Tennessee farmhouse where Jack White writes a song on-camera, and eavesdrop inside the dimly lit Dublin studio where The Edge lays down initial guitar tracks for U2’s forthcoming single. The images, like the stories, will linger in the mind long after the reverb fades.

It Might Get Loud might not affect how you play guitar, but it will change how you listen. The film is directed and produced by An Inconvenient Truth’s Davis Guggenheim, and produced by Thomas Tull, Lesley Chilcott and Peter Afterman

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant o2 Arena 2007
Jimmy Page at Mojo Awards 2008