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Musician, songwriter and producer Jimmy Page was in the Yardbirds and founded the British rock band sensation Led Zeppelin in the late 1960s.
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Musician, songwriter, producer. Born James Patrick Page on January 9, 1944, in Heston, England. He was inspired by rock star Elvis Presley's "Baby Let's Play House" to take up the guitar at the age of 13. As a teenager, Page joined his first band, Neil Christian & the Crusaders. He toured with the group for a time, but he had to leave after suffering from a glandular fever.
After a stint at art
school, Page returned to music. He then became a session musician and a
producer, working in England's thriving rock scene with such acts as the
Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Who. In 1965, Page was asked to join
the Yardbirds, a blues-influenced rock band, which had just scored a
big hit with "For Your Love." The band wanted him to take over for Eric
Clapton, who left the group for John Mayall's Bluebreakers. Page turned
them down and recommended fellow session musician and legendary
guitarist-in-the-making Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds sought out Page again
the following year, and he finally agreed to become a band member.
For a short period of time, the Yardbirds had two lead guitarists, Page and Beck. Beck left in late 1966 because ill health and a possible nervous breakdown. After Beck's departure, the Yardbirds released Little Games (1967), but they could not match their earlier success. The band fizzled out in 1968, and Page formed a new band to play some remaining Yardbirds concert dates. Initially calling themselves the New Yardbirds, the band consisted of John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards, John "Bonzo" Bonham on drums, and Robert Plant on lead vocals.
Quickly renaming themselves Led Zeppelin, the band toured the United States as the opening act for the American rock group Vanilla Fudge. They released their first album, Led Zeppelin I in 1969, which earned mixed reviews. As John Mendelsohn wrote in Rolling Stone magazine, "Jimmy Page, around whom the Zeppelin revolves, is, admittedly, an extraordinarily proficient blues guitarist and explorer of his instrument's electronic capabilities. Unfortunately, he is also a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs, and the Zeppelin album suffers from his having both produced it and written most of it (alone or in combination with his accomplices in the group)." While critics may not have been thrilled by their work, music fans enjoyed such tracks as the now classic "Dazed and Confused." Their songs showcased Page's skills as a musician, often featuring his intense guitar riffs.
Led Zeppelin soon developed a strong following. Music fans really enjoyed the band's hard rock and heavy metal sound.
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