The Second Half

All My Rock Heroes Are Aging...and So Am I.

lschmoopie

lschmoopie
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February 22
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I qualify for AARP....now what? Twitter: @lschmoopie Putting this here for the OS editor.

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JANUARY 7, 2011 7:22AM

If The Sun Refused to Shine I'd Still Be Lovin' Jimmy Page

Rate: 38 Flag

Ladies and gentlemen: Jimmy Page.

James Patrick Page, better known as Jimmy Page of the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin, turns 67 years old on January 9th. The glossy black hair has mellowed to a silver mane, but those fingers...oh lord, those fingers how they still fly across the fretboard. He moves from acoustic, to hard rock, to blues with effortless  ease; the envy of any guitarist. He steps onto stage and it becomes a master class for any musician. Dubbed a "guitar god" by many, his style has been described as melodic, bluesy, flashy, spontaneous, and diverse. I think the solos shown in the video above exemplify all those descriptors.
 
At the ripe old age of 14 he was already making television appearances. Although the host of this show really creeps me out, it's amazing to see the young boy version of Jimmy just beginning to hone his craft.
Jimmy's career began as a session musician playing for The Who, The Kinks, Marianne Faithful, The Rolling Stones, Petula Clark, and Van Morrison to name a few.
In 1966 he joined The Yardbirds and stayed with the band until 1968.  Jimmy wanted to stay with his preferred heavy style of playing and the others wanted to play folk and classically influenced music so they parted ways. Shapes of Things, the next video, is considered by many to be one of the first psychedelic rock songs. 
 
1968 was a banner year of music. Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, and Jon Bonham joined forces  to form one of the greatest and most influential bands of modern times, Led Zeppelin. With Jimmy carrying the song, Bonham and Jones driving it forward and Plant keeping it soaring upward they filled stadiums with their sound. Anne Bredon, the composer of this next song Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You, wrote it in the late 1950's while she was a student at U.C.Berkeley. First covered by folk singer Joan Baez, it soared in popularity once Led Zeppelin got their fingers on it. 
 
Rolling Stone magazine has called Led Zeppelin the heaviest band of all time, the biggest band of the 70s, and one of the most enduring band in rock history. I love the dark, heavy sound that Jimmy sets in this performance of Dazed and Confused. If you don't care to watch the whole performance skip to 2:45 when Jimmy breaks out the violin bow. Such an innovation for the time.  
A softer side of Jimmy from 1972 bootleg Bombay Sessions.
 Stairway to Heaven is perhaps the most well-known rock anthem of the era. With its very recognizable guitar solo intro, every new rock guitarist wants to master it. Labeled the greatest guitar solo of all time by both Guitar World magazine and Total Guitar magazine, it is one of the most recognized riffs in rock. One You Tube version I found of this song has over 20 million hits on it. Just a small testimony to its popularity.  At 10+ minute long this video requires attention , but give Jimmy a couple minutes of your time and watch him weave his magic.
Does anyone else remember this scene from the Wayne's World movie?
Along with hundreds of thousands of other fans I jumped into the lottery ticket pick to try to see Led Zeppelin when they got back together for one show in London in 2007.  No such luck. I was interested to hear Jimmy's take on the show in the weeks prior during this interview and his opinion on why the band doesn't come back together for good.
Robert Plant, Page's friend and bandmate, had this to say about Jimmy when honoring him at the 2007 Classic Rock Magazine Awards and his Living Legend Award.
Jimmy is one musician I have never had the pleasure to see perform live. I've enjoyed every album, every DVD, and cd remastering. But seeing him play in concert is one thing I have yet to achieve. I have not given up hope. For now, I can crank up the volume and appreciate his talents. Call me a groupie if you will. I wear the banner proudly.  Happy birthday, Jimmy! And thank you.
Thank You-released on 1969's Led Zeppelin II 
image from bing.com

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Oh! A line from one of my very favorite Led Zepplin songs!
Very cool post indeed.
Best Wishes,
Blittie
Quite a career and a great tribute. I've got a lot of listening to do...thanks!
- wonderful, lschmoopie! These posts are always so interesting.
Oh, you're a groupie, alright. That is quite a tribute you've assembled for us. I watched a few of the videos, especially the older ones. Very cool! Big thanks!
Amazing artist with amazing songs.
He sang them well.
Thanks for all the memories.
Here, here! Vivo el Page!
It's the gray hair.. OMG I have not seen him like this. Great tribute as ususal.
The rating buttons are whacked out again but I finally got it.
Rated with hugs
I have LOVED Jimmy and Robert since 1969! When I was in high school, I thought "Kashmir" was the greatest song ever! It still holds up. Thanks for the great memories and the homage to one of the best in the business!
Bowing to the guitar god. Led Zep's music still holds up, doesn't it?
I always clear my in box. Read and comment on others blogs before I come here. Why? Because you're down on my list? No way, Jose. I have to get comfortable. Do my own sound check with my headphones. Get my feet up and start listening and reading. You have this down to a science and I thank you for bringing me my hero's, live and most of the time in color. You are the best!
and he still looks great, too
You certainly know your music and your research is spot on.

I remember seeing The Yardbirds at a club in my teens, but have never seen Led Zeppelin on stage, unfortunately.

So hard to believe all these brilliant musicians (and me who isn't) are now pensioners.
One thing I read about Jimmy was that in his younger days he would accept any session work in any style of popular music, just for the experience and the people he would meet. Allegedly he is even in the background on some utter musical travesties such as the SingalongaMax albums (my fellow Brits are now cringing in horror).
What can I say? As always, a great job. Well written and very informative; and I can't wait until the next one.
Excellent post, schmoopie. I've always loved 'Stairway to Heaven'. Thank you for all your research.
I had the pleasure of seeing Zep on their promotional tour in the summer of 1969, the fact that only 300 people showed up for the concert in a 12,000 seat arena shows just how early in their American experience that I adopted them (and the Beatles) as my two all time favorite bands.
And Jimmy Paige was my favorite Zep.
I have always discounted "strutters" although Robert Plant truly did set the bar as far as "strutters" go.
But Jimmy always both elegantly and eloquently counter pointed Plant's histrionics brilliantly, even breaking new ground regularly but with exceptional taste and unfailing musical genius.
As does your post.
" Best use of You Tube in the exegesis of any rock icon!"
This not only deserves an EP, but the cover of The Rolling Stone.
Kudos!
Yea! Jimmy Page. This was wonderful. I had the privledge of seeing Zepplin a number of times in NY in the late 60's/early 70's. The Fillmore & the Garden. What a show they put on!!
A few weeks ago, as I was parked waiting to pick up my daughter, a Cadillac stopped at the traffic light. The driver was in a dark suit with glasses and thinning gray hair. He had the window rolled down and the radio on - loud - and he was singing along. "You need coolin', baby I'm not foolin'." He looked ridiculous, but I understood.
@Cranky Cuss -- Thanks for not laughing at me and understanding!
Blittie: The perfect song for my corny title. ;)

Lezlie: Thanks for reading!

sophieh: Happy to provide a soudntrack for you today.:)

Catherine: Thanks for your constant support. I appreciate it.

Michael:::waving my groupie banner high & proud. Glad you enjoyed it.

Mission: Jimmy is an amazing musician. And he always makes it look so effortless.

culchiewoman: Bravo to another fan!

Sheila: Thanks!

Linda: I'm all over that gray hair.

Steven: Kashmir is my absolute fav. Zeppelin song, but since I used it in my Robert Plant post I didn't want ot repeat myself.

maryway, Yes, it's timeless IMHO.

scanner: You have the absolute right way to read these posts: listen to/watch the videos in their entirety. I know many don't have time, and that's fine, but the true diehards I hope will appreciate the song choices.Thanks, friend! Your kind words humble me.
sarah: That photo rocks my world.

Larry: Thanks! Nice to see you here.

Linda C.: You saw The Yardbirds?! Can I touch you? LOL One of the benefits of living across the pond.

GeeBee: I read that same info. Smart, really, for the young dude to get exposure to all kinds of music and make those contact connections.

Andy: I have the next one in the works. Hope to see you back.

Fusun: It's such an iconic song. I never tire of it.

Fred! That's the kindest thing I've heard all day(blushing). I so appreciate your time here. I love Jimmy's style: calm & heavy all at once, grounded and soaring at the same time, always taking me there. Such an artist. You might enjoy the post I did on Robert Plant.

trilogy: Another lucky duck seeing Zep! How I envy you and am happy you had those experiences all at the same time.

Cranky: Ha! That's why I keep my windows rolled up. I'm always singing at the top of my lungs as I drive.

Steven: Perfect! Ha!
I saw this this morning before running out the door, rated it knowing I'd be coming back to listen and read. Well, I'm here now and should say I am not the typical Led head. I didn't listen as a teenager. They were soooooo popular and I thought I would scream if I heard Whole Lotta Love one more time. Then ... a few years ago (call it middle- age) during the begining of their Renaissance I got seriously hooked. Then ... I saw It Might Get Loud and fell in love with Jimmy Page. I'm still not crazy about WLL but gimme Black Dog or Ramble On, etc any day of the week. Congrats onthe EP. I know what kind of time goes into these posts ...
Scarlett: Thank you! It Might Get Loud was a great documentary. Have watched it several times. Black Dog was my favorite in the 70's, but now I can't get enough of Kashmir. And I didn't even notice it was an EP so thanks for pointing it out!
Well, I took the whole thing from top to bottom (okay, I confess I didn't listen to STH) and so, thanks for it all. Does that woman who did that interview know how fucking lucky she was? :)
What a labor of love you have here. Very well done!
That '69 version of Dazed & Confused is always so great to see, so thanks for posting. Somewhere in my folks' slide collection there is a picture of 10 yr old me holding up my newly purchased copy of Houses of the Holy, during a family vacation in Halifax in '73.

To Linda Cooper: You saw the Yardbirds?? Crivens! Now THAT's impressive.
Scarlett: I hope that woman does INDEED know how lucky she is!

Just Cathy: Thanks so much!

VA: Happy New Year, friend! Glad to see you back. I love that one,too. 10 years old in 1973...crikey, I'm old.


Bonnie: Thanks for stopping in. I remember that book. I wonder if I still have it laying around here somewhere...
I woke up this morning surprised to see they put this on the cover today! I also noticed in the new little title they wrote on the cover page they aged Jimmy by 2 years. I emailed the editor to let her know of the error and hopefully it will get fixed, but if not I just wanted anyone reading to know that it has been addressed. Jimmy will be 67 on Jan. 9, not 69.
What can I say after watching Stairway. I saw them live in New York and Chicago back in the 70's. Just majicical.....Thanks for tne memories...
My son fixed Jimmy page's watch last year as he rolled through town on his way to sonewhere else... We are a popular stop over along the I-5 and often get rock star tour buses pulling in to our mall parking lot .. My son put a new watch band on his watch.. Jimmy had his eye in another watch while he waited.. One if my son's co- workers told him the price of the watch which was about $125 he said that Jimmy recoiled and remarked about it being outside his budget.. So much for the rich rockstar myth... But then again Led Zep was notorious for not licensing their songs for use ... Guess they were short sighted on the whole passive revenue idea..
lschmoopie, it's terrific to see this on the cover. It's so well deserved and beautifully done.
OS Editor: Thanks for fixing the age gaffe so quickly! I appreciate it.

Salty917: Glad to jog a memory or two for you.

white and black: A great story your son has to tell! Thanks for sharing it here.


Catherine: Thanks for the kind words.
Rock ON, Girl!! RRRRRated!
Terrific work here. And the best part? Kids today are still listening!
try the documentary "it will get loud" with jimmy & the edge from U2.... fun.... captures some of his perosnality....
in it he answers a question about the video games like Rock Band. he was dismissive and said that kids should learn how to play a real guitar instead.
HEY JIMMY. the game rock band 3 just added a REAL GUITAR and it will be out in march. can you PLZ,PLZ,PLZ license zeppelin songs for Rock Band?!?! it would be the biggest music game of all time Im sure, probably outselling the beatles, dont you think? and if the beatles can do it, why cant you?!?
The Songbird: Rockin' on, indeed.

LC: Glad you gave it your stamp of approval, rock sistah!

Chicago guy: You are so right on that. My 28 year old son and friends have a great appreciation for it all.

vzn: Seen it several times. Fantastic documentary. Didn't know about the release of Rock Band w/ a real guitar. How cool is that?!
Thank you for this.

Hey Cranky,
Imagine how strange it must look to the desperately faking sanity crown to see me @ 71, siiting in my Jag with the top dwon and "groovin" along with all of this great music.lol
XJS: If I saw you sitting in a Jag with the top down singing along to the tunes I'd think: There's a dude after my own heart.
My favorite band is LZ!
oldnewlefty: You obviously have good taste.
Oh, be still my beating heart. "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" is one of my favorite Zeppelin pieces. Great post and there are no words for the significance or originality of this band of musicians.
Just getting to this now. Page has certainly been one of the greats. I've heard it took some persuading to get him to join the Yardbirds as he was doing well as a session guitarist. He did the little guitar piece in the middle of It's Not Unusual, the Tom Jones hit.
Excellent tribute! and thanks for finding that clip... As an artist, unequaled, as a man, what style -- LOVE the Ross Halfin photo!
Razzle: I love the video of that song too.

abrawang: Yes, he played on many albums as a session musician.

atwood: I think that's the best current photo I have seen of him. The stance and the sneer-love it.

neil paul: Well you can rest easy knowing that never could be another JP. Thanks for stopping in!
Thanks for an outstanding post. I was fortunate to see Zep twice in its heyday, the first time promoting Houses of the Holy. These later tours were plagued by rotten luck. The second time I saw them, promoting the Presence LP, Page played with a broken finger which noticably affected his performance. I had a ticket for another tour, which was cancelled due to the death of Plant's baby son. They were gearing up to give it one more go when John Bonham died. The moral of the story is to catch 'em when you can, I guess. Glad to see Page living to a ripe old age. A true master of his craft. I loved the collection of vids you put together.
Hubby and I both loved this one this weekend...thanks for the great music, and fabulous photos of such a stunning man and talent--
Great post. Have you seen "It Might Get Loud" ? A great documentary with Page, The Edge, and Jack White. It's basically a look at these three guitarists, where they came from, and what makes them unique. Very interesting, particularly if you're into guitar. It's structured so that you get some of their history and some of their regular musical life and then the three of them get together and talk and play each others' songs.

There are two great Jimmy Page moments - of many great things in the movie. One is at the start, Page is rambling around his massive house and he is going through records in his study. He pulls out a the 50's guitar song "Rumble" plays it on his turntable, and then he giddily air guitars along with it. He looks like some teenager with his favorite record. Up to that point, he has this air of being a rock legend with his bio and his interviews, and then he just gets all giggly about the song and goofs along with it. It is utterly charming and cool.

The second great moment is when they are playing each others' songs. They play U2's I will follow, White Stripes Dead Leaves and Dirty Grass, and then I forget which other Zepplin song. They play two. But one Zepplin song Page plays is the riff from Whole Lotta Lovin. He starts into that, and Edge and White just literally gape slack jawed at him. Two famous iconic guitarists, and they are staring at Page like 6 year olds staring at Santa Claus. Like they cannot believe they are in the same room. It is awesome.
I should have read all the comments. I see you've seen it. Nevermind! Still, good posting./ :)