He is a guitarist, songwriter and producer born in
Heston, Middlesex, and later spending some of his childhood in Feltham,
Middlesex from 1952. His father
was a personnel manager and his mother a doctor’s secretary and after
they had made a further move in the around 1955/6 to Epsom, Surrey,
where he discovered a guitar in his new house.
This new-found discovery started his interest in playing
the guitar and even though he went to Kingston
for a couple of lessons, he mainly taught himself by accompanying records after
having been shown a couple of chords by a school-mate. This would be the beginning of a
career that would see him recognised and acclaimed throughout the world.
He made his first TV appearance in 1957 as a member of
a skiffle quartet when he was just thirteen. They performed in the TV talent show
All Your Own hosted by Huw Weldon.
Around the same time he was busking and left school to pursue music
even though he had been offered an interview as a laboratory assistant.
He began performing with a large variety of groups and
when he was still only fifteen he was offered a job by Neil Christian to
play guitar in his band The Crusaders.
He toured and recorded with them for a couple of years and was a
musician on their single “The Road to Love” which was released
in 1962. During the time with
the band he suffered glandular fever which had a serious effect on his physical
well being and put an end to touring. He took the decision to put his
career as a musician to one side and concentrate on art which found him
entering Sutton Art
College. He continued to play the guitar
while he was at the college, including the odd jam session at The Marquee
club with other guitarists such as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck while
gradually managing to get his strength back.
One night he was performing on stage and asked to help
on a few singles that included “The Worrying Kind” with The
Silhouettes to be recorded at Columbia Graphophone
Company, which was part as EMI.
He completed that work and then in the early 1960s he was finally
offered studio work on a regular basis at Decca Records even though he
couldn’t read music at the time.
His first session saw him playing on Jet Harris’ and Tony
Meehan’s No. 1 single “Diamonds” and even though he was
still performing with various bands at the time he decided to become a full
time session guitarist. Within
a short period, and so as not to be confused with the session guitarist
known as Big Jim Sullivan, he was nicknamed Little Jim.
He managed to get his name known for his session work
and his output saw him performing on countless songs that include “The
Crying Game” by Dave Berry, “Downtown by Petula
Clark”, “As Tears Go By” by Marianne Faithfull,
“Tobacco Road” by The Nashville Teens, “Baby Please Don’t
Go” and “Here Comes the Night” by Van Morrison &
Them, “Heart of Stone” by The Rolling Stones and “I Can’t
Explain” by The Who among many others. He also played on the debut album by
The Kinks in 1964 and the following year he turned down the offer to be the
replacement for his friend Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds. He made good money in the studio at
the time and wasn’t sure how his health would stand up against
touring and so put forward another friend – Jeff Beck.
His career had a change in 1965 when was asked by the
Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, to be
the A&R man and house producer for the new label Immediate Records. This allowed him to produce and play
either separately or together for many of the artists that signed up. He also wrote songs in partnership with
his girlfriend of the time, Jackie DeShannon and during
these years he played/produced and/or wrote songs for artists that included
Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Donovan, Chris Farlowe,
Johnny Hallyday, John Mayall,
Nico and Al Stewart.
Once Stax Records began to
have a huge influence on the pop music of the day the work wasn’t so
readily available and he was being called upon to play on Muzak tracks.
He made the decision to leave the session world behind him and a
week later he was asked to take the place of the guitarist with The Yardbirds, Paul Samwell-Smith.
He began by being the group’s electric bass
player but went on to become the joint lead guitarist with Jeff Beck after
Chris Dreja began playing the bass. They toured constantly but only
released “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” on single and didn’t
manage to find much commercial success. This led to inter-band conflicts and
after Jeff Beck made the decision to leave Jimmy was left to play the lead
guitar on their final album Little
Games which only went to No 80 on the Billboard album chart with the
title song only reaching No. 52 on the UK
Although continuing to tour after the release of the
album, two of the members, Jim McCarty and Keith Relf
left the group in 1968 and Jimmy Page changed the line-up to make sure they
completed outstanding dates in Scandinavia.
Around the same time he had started with The Yardbirds he also had a thought about putting together
a supergroup with John Entwistle,
Jeff Beck and Keith Moon after having recorded “Beck’s Bolero”
with Jeff Beck, John Paul Jones, Keith Moon and Nicky Hopkins. After John Entwistle
said he thought it would go down like a lead balloon Keith Moon even
suggested the name “Lead Zeppelin”.
Having to put together the new line-up of The Yardbirds he took on the drummer John Bonham and the
singer Robert Plant and John Paul Jones asked if he could come onboard. They went under the name The New Yardbirds but then Jimmy remembered the name Keith Moon
had suggested several years earlier.
He decided to use it for what was essentially the new band and after
a slight spelling change by Peter Grant they became Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin became a hugely successful and
influential group in the 1970s and Jimmy’s abilities as a
songwriter/composer, guitarist and producer helped make them one of the
most recognisable bands on the planet at that time. Their groundbreaking albums were highly
sought after from the time they were released until present day and the
song “Stairway to Heaven” has been voted as “the greatest
guitar solo of all time” by readers of the magazines Total Guitar and Guitar World. His groundbreaking production ideas during
his time in the studio with the band have often won him credit for
introducing innovative ways of producing sound.
Tragedy struck the band in 1980 when John Bonham died
at Jimmy Page’s home.
This led to the break up of Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page not touching
his guitar for a long time. He
did, however, return to performing when he played at one of Jeff Beck’s
concerts at Hammersmith Odeon in 1981.
He then returned to performing full time again and joined Alan White
and Chris Squire of Yes with the idea of putting together the supergroup XYZ (ex-Yes-Zeppelin). Before long and after just a few
rehearsals they decided to shelve the idea.
Moving to something different he recorded the Death Wish II in 1982 in collaboration
with its director Michael Winner.
He also performed at the charity concert series for Action Research
for Multiple Sclerosis (A.R.M.S.) which were in
honour of Ronnie Lane
of Small Faces. He performed
with Steve Winwood for the British set of
concerts and then was joined by Paul Rodgers for the US
dates. He also re-united with
Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck for a performance of “Layla”
and with Robert Plant for an encore at Hammersmith.
Later in 1984 he worked in collaboration with Roy
Harper for a few concerts, linked up with Robert Plant where the duo became
known as The Honeydrippers and worked on the Scream For Help soundtrack with John
Paul Jones. He then recorded
the soundtrack for Death Wish III
at his own studios in 1985 and that same year he reunited with the members
of Led Zeppelin and the drummers Phil Collins and Tony Thompson to perform
at Live Aid.
Still in 1985 he and Paul Rodgers worked together as
The Firm and released a self-titled album which went gold and reached No.
17 on the Billboard album chart.
A follow-up album and tour happened but the two split up not long
After he was out on his own again in 1986 he went back
to doing some session work in the studio for artists such as the Rolling
Stones, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills and he then worked on Strange Land by Box of Frogs where
he re-united with the members of The Yardbirds.
1988 was a year where he released his own work and
issued his solo album Outrider. He also worked on Robert Plant’s
album Now and Zen as a return on
the contribution that Plant had made to Outrider. He and Robert Plant and John Paul jones and Jason Bonham then performed at the show for
Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary.
When the 1990s rolled in he joined up with Robert
Plant to perform a charity concert at Knebworth. He began working on a project to remaster all of Led Zeppelin’s
back catalogue which is still on-going.He later got
together with David Coverdale and their
collaboration produced the album Coverdale &
Page in 1993. Then in 1994
he and Robert Plant performed together on MTV’s Unplugged where it was given the other title of Unledded. It was later released as a CD and
DVD after a successful tour and the duo then went on to release Walking Into Clarksdale in 1998. Also in 1998 he performed on Puff
Daddy’s “Come With Me”, appearing with him on Saturday Night Live, and started
working at charity concerts for the Action for Brazil’s Children
Trust which was established by his wife Jimena
As the 20th century came to a close he did
a couple of performances with The Black Crowes
which was released on Live at the Greek in 2000. The following year he performed in Frankfurt
at the MTV Europe Video Music Awards.
In 2007 the members of Led Zeppelin and Jason Bonham
performed in London for a
charity concert and in 2008 Jimmy Page was one of the people who
at the closing ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. Later in 2008 he was the co-producer
of the film It Might Get Loud by David Guggenheim and in 2009 he announced
his solo tour for the following year when he was interviewed by Sky News.
In 2010 he announced the publication of his
autobiography, he performed at the Show of Peace Concert in Beijing,
China, and the United
Nations organisation Pathways to Peace honoured him as the first recipient
of the Global Peace Award.
Since the start of his career, numerous guitarists that
include Ritchie Blackmore, Jerry Cantrell, Ace Frehley, Yngwie Malmstten, Brian May, Johnny Ramone,
Joe Satriani, Tom Scholz,
Slash, Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen
and Angus Young have cited Jimmy Page as a major influence and inspiration
and given him many accolades.
He personally owns around 2,000 guitars and released his signature Gibson
Jimmy Page #2 Les Paul in 2009.
Often receiving recognition for his musicianship and
charity work, he was the first artist inducted into the British Walk of
Fame in 2004, was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame in 2006 as a member of
Led Zeppelin, was been presented with the Living Legend Award by Classic Rock magazine in 2007, has
been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Surrey, was an
inductee into Mojo’s
Hall of Fame in 2010, has won Creem magazine’s Guitarist of the Year on five
occasions during the 1970s and has been ranked No. 2, No. 4, No. 6, No 7
and No. 9 in Total Guitar, Classic
Rock, Time, Mojo and Rolling Stone magazines respectively. In 2007 he received a Grammy Award
and was given the honour of being awarded an OBE (Order of the British
Empire) for his work for charities in Brazil.
A very few of the many albums Jimmy has worked on and/or
composed for during the course of his long and busy career include his own Faces and Places, Guitar Method, Hey Hey What Can I Do, Hip Young Guitar Slinger,
Lovin’ Up a Storm, No Introduction Necessary, Outrider, Special Early Works, Sonny
Boy Williamson and Jimmy Patrick
Page: Session Man Volume One and Two
as well as Don’t Send Me No
Flowers by Brian Auger, Truth
by Jeff Beck, Suicide Sal by
Maggie Bell, Early On by David
Bowie, Blues Eyed Blues by Eric
Clapton, With A Little Help from My Friends
by Joe Cocker, CSN (Box Set) by
Crosby Stills & Nash, Sunshine
Superman by Donovan, Last Look at
Eden by Europe, Heartaches &
Harmonies by The Everly Brothers, Firm Talks Business by The Firm, Blow-Up by Herbie
by Roy Harper, The Honeydrippers:
Vol. 1 and Sea of Love by The
Honeydrippers (Page & Plant), Another White Summer, Black Dog, Blueberry Hill, Communication
Breakdown, Coda, Conversation, Destroyer, D’Yer
Mak’er, Earls Court, Fool in the Rain, Hiawatha
Express, Houses of the Holy, Kashmir, Kingdom of Zep
Last Day in Mannheim, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppellin
II, Led Zeppelin III, Led Zeppelin IV, Mudslide, My Brain Hurts, Over the Hills and Far Away, Physical
Graffiti, Presence, Rock and Roll, Song
Remains the Same and Trampled
Underfoot by Led Zeppelin, Top
Teen Hits by Brenda Lee, London
Blues by John Mayall, Three Week Hero by P.J. Proby, Home, Grand Hotel, Salty Dog and Shine On Brightly by Procol Harum, Cut Loose
by Paul Rodgers, Dirty Work by
The Rolling Stones, Follow Me by Crispian St. Peters, Reviewing the Situation by Sandie
Shaw, Love Chronicles by Al
Stewart , Right By You by Stephen
Stills, Live Without a Net by Van
With You by Rick Wakeman, My Generation by The Who, Broken Wings and Empty Nests, Having a Rave Up, Little Games and Roger the Engineer by The Yardbirds.