We take a look back at the humble beginnings of a certain legendary guitarist Jimmy Page and his humble skiffle band. Prior to being in one of the biggest bands to have ever graced the planet, Led Zeppelin, James Page had always been a budding guitarist and, in 1957, he got to show the nation just what talent he had within him on his very first TV performance years before he’d get there with Zeppelin.
Talent shows are ten a penny these days, aren’t they? Seems impossible to take a single talent-adjacent step without someone creating a backstory and a persona to get Simon Cowell’s money-boner hard. But back in mid-century Britain, the concept of a televised TV show was an incredibly new and exciting venture. The BBC looked to have to make the format their own with the all-new show ‘All On You’ which ran for decades between 1945 and 1987.
The premise of the show was for children specifically to share a particular skill or burgeoning talent to the show’s host Huw Weldon. The show would feature some notable talents including Jacqueline du Pre, who was an exceptional cellist, and Earl Okin who would become a wonderful songwriter contributing to both The Beatles and Wings’ back-catalogue. Huw Weldon even found further success as in 1968 he became the Managing Director of BBC TV.
But none of these names holds up in comparison to one boy who shyly made his way on to the stage in 1957. James Page, at just 13-years-old with his excited and youthful skiffle band by his side, would make his way under the spotlight and in front of the television cameras to perform some songs for Weldon and the audience.
Page and Weldon share some words before the performance as the presenter asks his guest what other hobbies and interests he has besides skiffle and whether being in a band may be the way forward for James. Page laughs derisorily at the notion and instead suggests he would pursue a career in “biological research into germs”.
We all know that in fact, James Page would go on to form a band called The Yardbirds, which would lead to the most notable moment of his life: joining and forming Led Zeppelin. James would become Jimmy and thoughts of becoming a research scientist went out the window like that fabled TV at a Holiday Inn.
In the above video, watch as Jimmy Page performs with his skiffle band on TV in 1957.