Jimmy Page, despite not being a world-famous guitar god, was doing pretty well for himself in 1963. The 19-year-old had gigged relentlessly around England with various bands, including as the guitarist for singer Neil Christian, and had just entered art school after an illness brought him off the road.
Page still played with bands from time to time, and during a gig at the Marquee Club in London, Page was offered a job as a studio guitarist by Decca Records producer Mike Leander. While his studio work is poorly archived, Page himself recalls his first production as ‘Diamonds’ by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Page contributed acoustic guitar, and the song peaked at number one on the UK singles chart. Not a bad way to start your professional studio career.
While still a live guitarist for hire, Page accompanied beat poet Royston Ellis for a number of live readings around this same time (Ellis’ other backing band of choice: The Shadows). Ellis temporarily left the poetry world in 1963 and became a registered ferry boat engineer in Gurnsey while contributing to travel television programs. It was here that Ellis ran into Page once again, and Ellis rightfully believed Page would be a compelling interview subject.
Page clearly still has one foot in the art world at the time of the interview. He mentions how he is “hoping to finance [his] art through the guitar,” and that he wasn’t interested in making his own records or even being a full-time guitarist. That attitude would change as Page’s status as a go-to session player increased.
The young Page claims that he got into session work simply because he “had the feel for it” and also recalls how working with some of music’s biggest stars was “disappointing” because “they don’t come up to you how you expect them to, really. It’s rather disappointing on the whole.” It wouldn’t take long for the biggest names in show business to know exactly who Jimmy Page was.
Check out the interview down below.