As I promised in the October 23 edition of FNWGG, Jimmy Page is the featured artist this week.
I think most of us would agree that among rock guitarists Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman had the greatest depth of talent, but I would suggest that Jimmy Page has the widest breadth of talent. His work ranges from the heavy blues of “You Shook Me” and “Since I’ve Been Loving You” to the blues-rock of “When the Levee Breaks” and “Ten Years Gone” to the plethora of straight rock he produced–“Whole Lotta Love”, “Ramble On”, “Immigrant Song”, “Black Dog”, “Custard Pie”, etc.–to the acoustic folk of “Going to California” and “That’s the Way”, and if you want to split hairs you could identify a sub-genre as “folk rock” and stick “Gallows Pole“ and “Battle of Evermore“ in it. And then you have “Stairway to Heaven.” And what about “Kashmir”? Or “Achilles Last Stand”? And in case that’s not a broad enough range for you, Page throws in some classical music just for fun. Check out this performance of Chopin’s “Prelude No 4 in E minor, Op 28”. Better yet, let’s assemble an entire string ensemble for this spellbinding rendition of “The Rain Song.” As a point of contrast, check out this five minute clip from a 1973 Led Zeppelin concert.
Once a poster child for the hedonistic excesses of rock stardom, Jimmy Page has mellowed nicely in his elder years, as wonderfully demonstrated in the movie It Might Get Loud, in which Page, Jack White and The Edge sit around talking about guitars and show each other how to play some of their famous riffs. In this particularly nice segment from the film, Page plays air guitar to Link Wray’s “Rumble”, as he describes the mechanics of the sound and how it influenced him. Also from that film is tonight’s featured video, a fascinating two minute clip in which Page demonstrates the contrasting guitar parts in “Ramble On”, describing them as “light and shade, whisper to the thunder.” For the Zeppelin purists, here is a live version of “Stairway to Heaven” in all its early Seventies glory and featuring Page’s iconic custom made dual-neck guitar.