Andre Gardner

Jimmy Page speaks at the "It Might Get Loud" press conference during the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival held at the Sutton Place Hotel on September 6, 2008 in Toronto, Canada.

Today (1/9) is guitar god Jimmy Page’s birthday. My head explodes just thinking about some of the classic Zeppelin licks he’s come up with over the years. It seemed like every song on which he’s played has that unique twist on the guitar work. Chords going in crazy directions, three guitars playing different parts at once, those are trademarks of Page’s work.

He was obsessive over the band’s guitar parts. During overdub sessions for “Presence,” he worked upwards of 18 hours a day in Musicland Studios in Germany, getting the parts just right. Of course, he WAS on a deadline at the time, having to vacate the studio for The Stones (who’d booked it right after Zeppelin). That seemed to inspire him even more.

Inspiration also came in the form of the English and Welsh properties where Page and band recorded and lived. For Led Zeppelin III, he and the group stayed at Bron-Yr-Aur, an 18th century cottage in Wales. It was there Page composed some of his most beautiful acoustic-tinged tracks which ended up on future albums. At Headley Grange, the haunted English manor house, much of their next three albums were recorded there. Songs like “Stairway To Heaven” and “Kashmir” were born at Headley Grange.

While Jimmy Page’s work with The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and the Firm is very well known, loved and respected, he has played on many recordings by other artists. Before he joined The Yardbirds, Page was a very much in-demand session player. In fact, it was the money he made from his session work that helped him finance the recording of Led Zeppelin I.

Jimmy Page shines whenever he picks up and plays a guitar. Even though we equate him and his work with those three superstar bands in which he’s played, he’s done mush more. In fact, here are 10 moments of Jimmy Page guitar brilliance that aren’t Led Zeppelin:

  • 10. Sunshine Superman - Donovan

    Page’s guitar work blended perfectly with Donovan’s hazy, psychedelic masterpiece.

  • 9. Don't Turn Your Back On Me - Jackie DeShannon

    One of Jimmy’s early session dates was to play on this single by singer/songwriter Jackie DeShannon.  Page is credited as co-writer of the track after he and DeShannon worked on the guitar arrangement together.  The two later had a brief romantic relationship, and it’s long been rumored the Led Zeppelin song “Tangerine” was written about their breakup.

  • 8. Bald Headed Woman - The Who

    Although the story has been disputed regarding Page’s contribution on The Who’s first single, “I Can’t Explain,” that is unequivocally Jimmy ripping that fuzz guitar on the single’s b-side, “Bald Headed Woman.”

  • 7. The Pied Piper - Crispian St. Peters

    One of my earliest musical memories is hearing and falling in love with this song in 1966, “The Pied Piper” by a dude named Crispian St. Peters.  It came out in the U.S. on the Philly-based label Jamie Records, and was a top 5 hit.  On guitar?  Jimmy Page!

  • 6. Baby Please Don't Go - Them

    The second single by Van Morrison’s former band featured Jimmy Page on guitar. Whether it was lead or rhythm has been debated for decades, but we do know Page is on it in some form. Both parts are smokin’!

  • 5. It's Not Unusual - Tom Jones

    60s heartthrob Tom Jones scored his first big hit with his second single, which features session man Jimmy Page on guitar.  interestingly, the drummer on the track was Andy White, who played drums on The Beatles’ first single “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.”

  • 4. With A Little Help From My Friends - Joe Cocker

    This soulful rearrangement of The Beatles’ classic by Joe Cocker has some sweet lead guitar riffs, played by Page.


  • 3. Scarlet - The Rolling Stones

    This track remained unreleased for decades until the deluxe re-issue of The Stones’ Goats Head Soup came out in 2020.  It was recorded at Ronnie Wood’s house, The Wick, in the fall of 1974, right around the time the band recorded “It’s Only Rock And Roll” at the same location.  While “It’s Only Rock And Roll” featured David Bowie on background vocals, “Scarlet” had Jimmy Page jamming with Keith Richards, Ian Stewart and Mick Jagger.

  • 2. One Hit (To The Body) - The Rolling Stones

    Page also played the lead guitar solo on this Stones classic, from their Dirty Work album.

  • 1. Tobacco Road - The Nashville Teens

    The Nashville Teens were not from Nashville – they were British – and they had just one hit here in the US, a cover of John D. Loudermilk’s “Tobacco Road.”  That smooth guitar work on the track was played by Jimmy Page.

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