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Music

The guitarist Jimmy Page said "everybody respects"

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page is blessed with an encyclopedic knowledge of guitarists, and there are few, if any, more cherished voices in the field than him. When he speaks, you listen, similarly to his peer, Jeff Beck, who is somebody Page says “everybody respects”.

The music industry is a famously catty business, and it’s an almost impossible feat to become universally popular. After all, artistic appreciation is subjective, and everybody has a slightly different taste. Furthermore, once artists get a taste of success, dissenting voices usually spring out of the woodwork and attack like hyenas. However, according to Page, Beck is an anomaly.

The pair grew up in Surrey and have known each other since they were students. In fact, it was Page who handed Beck his first break after Eric Clapton had quit The Yardbirds, and the future Led Zeppelin guitarist put his friend forward for the role after turning down the gig in favour of his lucrative session work.

Later on, Page joined the group, and for a brief time, the line-up included both him and Beck before the latter departed. Over the years, they have remained close and shared many poignant moments throughout their careers.

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Most notably, Page made his live comeback following the death of John Bonham on-stage with Beck at the Hammersmith Odeon. Led Zeppelin had split up, one of his closest friends had passed away, and he didn’t know what to do next, but Beck was there for him.

Page opened up about his admiration of Beck in the 2018 documentary, Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story and commented: “Everybody respects Jeff. He’s an extraordinary musician and he’s developed a technique which is so complex, it’s just a beauty to behold and hear and to feel his playing. He’s having a conversation with you when he’s playing. It’s just he’s not singing.”

He continued: “The good thing about guitarists is everyone’s got their own character playing, you know, that’s something which we all do understand. But we could all go, we could be talking for hours and hours and years and years, decades and decades, but the most important thing, the thing that you can’t, you can’t actually put into words, is what you actually hear in that music. And that is the key to all of this, of Jeff’s playing and why Jeff is so brilliant because it’s what he manages to convey with his guitar, so, no, that has to be heard to be believed.”

Beck’s talent leaves Page lost for words, and even after 60 years of friendship, the Led Zeppelin maestro still fails to put his finger on what precisely makes him so great, which might be the greatest compliment of all.