Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page contains everything you’d ever want from a rock ‘n’ roll guitarist. He helped redefine the public’s expectation of what was possible from the instrument, and he gave Zeppelin the magnetic touch required that sent them into the stratosphere.
It remains a baffling achievement when exploring the sheer level of success the group managed to create during their reign of terror, forging a somewhat grandiose legacy in their wake. However, their rapid progression wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the star power of Jimmy Page. Before the group’s incarnation, Page had already established himself as one of the leading lights of the London scene and was the most in-demand guitarist in town.
Zeppelin quickly found themselves part of the growing roster of rock acts on Atlantic Records. The band toured relentlessly and speedily grew an immense reputation for spectacular live shows, making them an unmissable attraction in an industry that was bursting at the seams. The combination of Page alongside Robert Plant, John Paul-Jones, and John Bonham can make any rock lover foam at the mouth.
Each member brought something exhilarating to the fold, and, in truth, there is a vast cluster of songs you could credibly argue as each member’s finest hour in the group. For Robert Plant, he believes that Page’s contribution reached its zenith on Physical Graffiti’s ‘In My Time Of Dying’.
The track is an unforgettable moment in their canon, one that saw them tear up the rulebook on what a rock song had to be. With a running time of over eleven minutes, the piece is built out of an old blues tune initially performed by Blind Willie Johnson in the 1920s known as ‘Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed’.
However, the track came back into public consciousness when Bob Dylan included it on his debut album. Transferring the song into a new spectrum certainly influenced the band, and they took his track and expanded on it for their own, with Page turning it into this whole new brute.
In 1980 speaking with Tony Bacon, Plant revealed his awe for Page’s masterful guitar work on the track. Explaining his choice of the guitarist’s best moment, Plant said, “It goes on and on, but it’s great ramshackle blues slide. Straight off the top.”
Perhaps on another day, Plant would have provided a different answer, but it’s impossible not to sit back and marvel at the textured intelligence of Page’s tones on ‘In My Time Of Dying’.
Staggeringly, the end of the song was improvised in the studio and showed the cerebral talent of Led Zeppelin. Page’s genius is simply inexplicable; on ‘In My Time Of Dying’, the magic subconsciously flows out of Page’s body into his fingers.