Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page named his favourite guitarists of all time
Guitar players don’t come much more symbolic than Jimmy Page so if he is prepared to give you his personal stamp of approval as being a God-tier guitarist then you’re certainly doing something right. We are taking a look at some of the people that the former Led Zeppelin man considers some of the best to have ever picked up the instrument.
The ’60s reimagined what playing the guitar could be with Page being at the forefront of changing the perception of what the instrument was capable of. Thanks to a swarm of innovative guitarists who took inference from the blues movement, the innovative musicians managed to move the sound onto that next level as guitar playing reached a new zenith.
Page was speaking to Rolling Stone in 1975 when he discussed which guitar players inspired him, a conversation which also saw him reflect on that dynamic London scene in which he cut his teeth in the ’60s as a session musician mixing with the Crème De La Crème that the capital had to offer.
Reminiscing on who he considered the most vibrant talents to have been born out of that legendary scene which remains still incredibly revered all these years on, Page said: “Out of all the guitarists to come out of the sixties, though, Beck, Clapton, Lee, Townshend and I are still having a go. That says something. Beck, Clapton and I were sort of the Richmond/Croydon type clan, and Alvin Lee, I don’t know where he came from, Leicester or something like that. So he was never in with it a lot. And Townshend, Townshend was from Middlesex and he used to go down to the clubs and watch the other guitarists.”
This is an interesting statement from Page as it offers an insight into his viewpoint into who he viewed as the most talented guitarists whom he respected and also sees him throw a compliment to Pete Townshend despite The Who man being an outspoken critic of Led Zeppelin over the years. However, none of the aforementioned names which Page mentions happen to feature on his list of the best guitar players of all time.
Speaking on that topic, Page had this to say: “We’ve lost the best guitarist any of us ever had and that was Hendrix. The other guitarist I started to get into died also, Clarence White. He was absolutely brilliant. Gosh. On a totally different style—the control, the guy who played on the Maria Muldaur single, ‘Midnight at the Oasis’. Amos Garrett. He’s Les Paul oriented and Les Paul is the one, really. We wouldn’t be anywhere if he hadn’t invented the electric guitar. Another one is Elliot Randall, the guy who guested on the first Steely Dan album. He’s great. Band-wise, Little Feat is my favourite American group.”
However, there is one word which Page would never use to describe the guitar Gods, adding: “The only term I won’t accept is ‘genius’. The term ‘genius’ gets used far too loosely in rock and roll. When you hear the melodic structures of what classical musicians put together and you compare it to that of a rock and roll record, there’s a hell of a long way rock and roll has to go. There’s a certain standard in classical music that allows the application of the term ‘genius’, but you’re treading on thin ice if you start applying it to rock and rollers.”
The former Led Zeppelin man is certainly a figure who can speak with a wealth of authority on this topic and can anybody really argue with Jimi Hendrix being the best guitarist of all time?