I should have written this email yesterday.
That’s because yesterday it was the 80th birthday of one of my all-time favourite guitar heroes…
Mr Jimmy Page.
Jimmy is one of the most versatile and most interesting guitarists I’ve ever heard in the mainstream.
I remember being a teenager and just getting into music.
My uncle lent me the Led Zeppelin Remasters double CD.
It shocked me to hear all those eclectic and wild guitar sounds.
I loved it.
Jimmy was a like sorcerer from another dimension.
There was rock, blues, folk, acoustic, DADGAD tunings, and much more.
Of course, I had no real idea what those things were back then, it just sounded crazy.
I hadn’t really started playing guitar.
At the time, I was just dabbling.
For a few months, I’d been listening to Nirvana’s classic Nevermind album (another band I still love).
And as you know, back then, if you wanted to listen to music, you had to put on the radio, buy records, borrow music, or get friends to do a “mix tape”.
Me and my best pal back then, Sefton (who is still my best pal), did mix tapes for each other.
We’d go to school and discuss how breath-taking the Led Zeppelin stuff was.
I mean, how many other guitarists could combine all these different styles and do so in such a stylish way?
All four members of Led Zeppelin were so skilful.
You had Robert Plant’s wild and rangy voice, John Bonham’s insane drumming, the wonderful musicianship of John Paul Jones on bass…
…But it was Jimmy who made the band extra special for me.
So, in honour of Jimmy, here are the tracks I remember that really stood out to me back then…
Since I’ve Been Loving You – a wonderful blues ballad that oozes emotion and class.
Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You – a stunning fingerpicking piece that has more than a few classical elements in it.
Black Mountain Side – a weird and wonderful tune played in DADGAD tuning (I taught this to my student John back about 10 years ago. It was epic learning this tune).
The Battle of Evermore – a Led Zep track I rarely hear on the radio, but a real gem and I love the jangly guitars.
Good Times Bad Times – one very cool rock riff and one of the first I ever learned to play on the guitar.
No Quarter – a song that is hard to describe in some ways. I love the atmosphere of this one and it still fascinates me.
Stairway to Heaven – a great intro, but the song really comes to life later on with the epic crescendo and masterful guitar work.
Black Dog – possibly the greatest rock riff ever?
…Whenever I would see the “top 100 guitar riff” polls, which Total Guitar magazine would do every few years…
I was always a little surprised that “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (Guns N Roses), “Enter Sandman” (Metallica), or “Back in Black” (AC/DC) would win.
To me, “Black Dog” is such a cool riff full of groove and power and is definitely one of, if not, the best!
Anyway, those are just some of Jimmy’s standout moments for me back then from the top of my head.
There are dozens more tracks and so much more about him than just the above.
Happy belated birthday to Mr Jimmy Page.
Back when I was learning to play guitar, I had no idea about all the basics, how to begin, or what good technique looked like.
If you feel that way, you might well want to check this out…
Thanks for the music and inspiration, Jimmy!
P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.