Jimmy Page is best known for his work with Led Zeppelin in the 1970s and is considered by many as one of the best guitarists in the world. As a testimony to this, in 2005 he received an OBE for services to music.
Jimmy Page (James Patrick Page) was born in 1944 in West London. He started learning the guitar when he was 12 years old and made his first TV appearance aged 13, appearing on a talent show programme as part of a local skiffle group.
Jimmy Page started playing professionally aged 15 with singer Neil Christian who heard him playing in a local hall. Touring with Christian for two years, Jimmy Page also played on his 1962 single “The Road to Love”, until being forced to stop after catching glandular fever.
After recovery, Jimmy Page took part in jam sessions, at the Marquee Club in London. He was spotted there by a record producer and asked to do session work for Columbia Gramophone Company. Jimmy Page took up full time employment as a session guitarist, and played on many top ten hits throughout 1963 and 1964.
In 1964, Jimmy Page joined the Yardbirds as the bass player switching to lead guitar after the departure of Jeff Beck. The Yardbirds, formerly a five-piece band were down to four members and when the singer and drummer left in 1968 with a tour booked in Scandinavia, Jimmy Page recruited Robert Plant as singer and drummer John Bonham as replacements. Yardbirds bass player Chris Dreja also decided to leave and was replaced by John Paul Jones.
It had been Jimmy Page’s dream to form a super group and he found it with this line up. Billed as the New Yardbirds for the tour, they changed their name to Led Zeppelin on return. The band then went on to release nine albums between 1969 and 1979 selling more than 200 million albums.
Jimmy Page has one of the most interesting guitar styles in the world. He draws on an array of folk and blues tunings to create his unique sound. He also spent time abroad, listening to snake charmers and buskers from which to draw influence. Varying from heavy rock to a melodic folk style and with many memorable riffs and intricate fingerings, his musicianship has been an inspiration to millions of guitar players including Steve Vai, Brian May and Joe Satriani.
With the death of John Bonham in 1980, Led Zeppelin disbanded and Jimmy Page founded The Firm with Paul Rodgers. The Firm released two albums in the 1980s but failed to come anywhere near the success of Led Zeppelin.
A triumphant Led Zeppelin reunion gig in 2007 lead to speculation that the band would reform but this has not yet happened.
Jimmy Page is usually associated with playing a Gibson Les Paul and naming them by number. Gibson released a “Jimmy Page Number Two” signature guitar in 2010 based on a 1959 Gibson Les Paul that Jimmy bought in 1973.