This month Martin Cooper checks out the mighty Led Zeppelin and their leader, guitarist, producer and musical architect, Jimmy Page.
Martin Cooper examines the playing style Led Zeppelin’s architect, Jimmy Page.
Led Zeppelin and their guitar legend Jimmy Page really need no introduction. But for those who are new to the band they were formed in London in 1968, with Page, singer Robert Plant, bass player John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonham. While often seen as pioneers of heavy metal their songs were just as likely to feature blues, folk or classical elements.
After launching as The New Yardbirds (Page having replaced Jeff Beck in the band), they changed their name, signed to Atlantic Records and released their eponymous debut album in 1969. Massive success followed, with sales estimates in the 200-300 million albums region. They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995, and Rolling Stone magazine hailed them as the biggest band of the 1970s. They sold out the world’s arenas throughout the 70s, and briefly reformed with Jason Bonham (John Bonham died in 1980) on drums in 2007 for a single show at London’s O2 Arena in honour of Atlantic Records’ Ahmet Ertegun.
Page’s early influences were rock and roll and rockabilly players such as Scotty Moore and James Burton, but such was his prowess, Page moved swiftly into sessions, playing on tracks by many hit artists of the 60s.
A glance at Page’s CV will show that his career has not only been as part of one of the most successful bands of all time. A stalwart of the legendary ARMS concerts in 1983, a decade later he recorded with Whitesnake’s David Coverdale then rejoined Robert Plant for the No Quarter live album in 1994.
Page has been a huge influence on other guitarists including Eddie Van Halen, who particularly took to his reckless style. Van Halen has also been quoted as saying that he had the idea for two-handed tapping after he saw Page using hammer-ons and pull-offs with open strings on Zeppelin’s Heartbreaker.
This month’s track is in E major but features many notes outside the key. The solo mainly uses E Minor Pentatonic (E-G-A-B-D) and E Natural Minor (E-F#-G-A-B-C-D). It’s not tricky to play, but it will certainly require plenty of attitude and abandon while always managing to stay in control. The chart has the implied chords written at times – for example, the bass in bars 9-12 plays in E with the guitar’s double stops implying E7-A7-D7. You’ll have fun playing this month’s track!
SUCH WAS HIS PROWESS, PAGE MOVED SWIFTLY INTO SESSIONS, PLAYING ON TRACKS BY MANY HIT ARTISTS OF THE 60S
NEXT MONTH Martin heads down to Sweet Home Alabama for a look at Lynyrd Skynyrd
Jimmy Page striking a pose with his ’59 Les Paul Standard