Jack White has never hidden his love for Led Zeppelin, and his adoration of Jimmy Page is no secret either. In fact, White believes that Page is responsible for the “greatest guitar note” ever created.
For a usually reserved and private character, Led Zeppelin is one of the few topics that White is willing to discuss in detail. They were the band who taught him about the possibilities of rock ‘n’ roll when they infiltrated his life during childhood, opening up the boundaries of his mind in the process.
Over the years, White has paid tribute to Zeppelin in a plethora of ways to express his gratitude for everything they’ve done for him. After all, if it weren’t for Led Zep, he wouldn’t have begun to explore the roots of the blues, an area that has gifted him with his signature sound.
“What was interesting about Led Zeppelin was how well they were able to update and capture the essence of the scary part of the blues,” White once noted in Jimmy Page’s biography Light and Shade. “A great Zeppelin track is every bit as intense and spontaneous as a Blind Willie Johnson recording.”
“They are an immovable force in music,” White lovingly professed on a further occasion about Zeppelin and added, “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like them.”
White has lived out every Led Zeppelin fan’s dream by having the honour of playing with both Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on separate occasions, both of whom greatly respect him. Plant even once said: “I love Jack White’s buccaneer spirit and the way he dodges through the musical horizons,” and said that he’d be “happy” to record a song with the former White Stripes singer the next time he’s in Nashville.
While there are plenty of songs that Zeppelin crafted that White adores, none more so on a technical level than ‘Whole Lotta Love’, and Page’s spellbinding work on the track continues to amaze the guitarist even after all these years.
“I still think that break is probably some of the greatest guitar notes ever played, if not the greatest,” White said in Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World’s Greatest Rock Band about the track. “I rewound it so many times that there was a fuck up on the tape before the guitar solo,” he vividly remembered. “Just that little section is so powerful, and it was powerful to me when I was five years old”.
Even at five years old, White was obsessed with the guitar, and the magic six strings could create. Throughout his career, he’s kept the lineage of Page alive and is making sure that rock ‘n’ roll is still thriving in the 21st Century.