Before and After #214: Jimmy Page




Testify said...

After nicking Dazed and Confused from composer Jake Holmes I guess.
(the following is taken from Perfect Sound Forever :
On August 25, 1967 the Yardbirds caught an acoustic act fronted by Jake Holmes at the Village Theatre in New York's Greenwich Village. Holmes and his two sidemen played a song about a love affair gone dreadfully wrong. The song was called "Dazed & Confused." It's often been described as a song about a bad acid trip. Jake Holmes set this author straight in a 2001 interview.

"No, I never took acid. I smoked grass and tripped on it, but I never took acid. I was afraid to take it. The song's about a girl who hasn't decided whether she wants to stay with me or not. It's pretty much one of those love songs," Holmes explained.

Asked whether he remembered opening for the Yardbirds, Holmes laughed.

"Yes. Yes. And that was the infamous moment of my life when 'Dazed & Confused' fell into the loving arms and hands of Jimmy Page," he said.

With its descending bass line, jittery lyrics and dramatic caesuras, the Yardbirds knew they were onto something. The very next day Jim McCarty bought Holmes' album, The Above Ground Sound of Jake Holmes.

"We played with Jake in New York and I was struck by the atmosphere of 'Dazed and Confused.' I went down to Greenwich Village and bought his album and we decided to do a version," McCarty said. "We worked it out together with Jimmy contributing the guitar riffs in the middle. Don't you think he's the riff-master?"

Apparently, Page also bought the album the same day. According to Yardbirds historian Greg Russo, a certain John Alusick witnessed Jimmy Page purchasing it at Bleecker Bob's Record Store on Bleecker Street. The Yardbirds quickly set about adapting the song that had captured their collective imagination.

Yardbirds singer Keith Relf tinkered with the lyrics while drummer Jim McCarty and Jimmy Page expanded the song structure itself. The song stuck to the original arrangment until the bridge. Even at this point, the fret-tapping acknowledged Holmes' original.

To be honest I've always thought Led Zeps macho bluster completely overated.

swac said...

Before and after ... Peter Grant?

There's some great footage of a very young skiffle-playing Page in the guitarist documentary It Might Get Loud, where he says he hopes to study biology when he gets older. I guess he did, in a sense...

Fred said...

I may be in a minority here, but I've always loved Zep. And like the other British acts that featured Clapton, Beck and/or Page, even if you're no big fan, you should at least show them a little respect for introducing mainstream America to many of its own finest guitarists.

Christopher said...

oh yeah!!!

twister said...

Its unfortunate for the aggrieved, I'm sure, but it's still a classic rock song from the Zep. Ain't no one taking that from them.

cjc15153 said...

This is an atypically nondepressing B&A. However it is still depressing in that at some point I wanted to be the After (minus the nod and vd).

H. P. L. said...

There's also room for an "After after", with Jimmy nowadays... I think he's aged pretty well, all things considered... he still has that crazy spark in his eyes...
As for D&A, I didn't know they had nixed that one too! I always thought it was the most Black Sabbatish song Zep ever did, and it stands out among their whole songbook for its particular "darkness"... thanks for the info!

Kenmeer livermaile said...

Cute Elvis emulation on the young little Page's part. Later? Zep had their moments, to be sure. But boy did their manager's mama dress them funny.

Tommy O'C said...

But boy did their manager's mama dress them funny.

Huh? And you read this where?

Nice dissertation, Testify. "Hammer of the Gods" admits the truth of what you're saying. Zep were known for ripping off anyone and everyone (and so did the Stones, although they’ve been held to a different standard). Zep notoriously robbed the old-time bluesmen (which previous music critics considered a far-more egregious transgression), such as Robert Johnson, who left a slightly more impressive legacy than Holmes, who is noteworthy as a footnote in the Zeppelin saga.

Page and Plant admitted years ago to haunting Bleeker Bob’s—who among us in NYC has not? Robert Plant lamented (in a NY Times article) to no longer being able to sit cross-legged on the floor of Bob’s, pouring over stacks of LPs, like anyone else. Zep ripped off Richie Valens’ “Come On, Let’s Go,” (another example) and then prided themselves on giving the Valenzuela family a songwriting credit to help them financially when it appeared that a lawsuit would be forthcoming.

Led Zeppelin were the Heavy Metal gods of all. They were THE top touring act in America in the Seventies, bar none, and deservedly so. (Remember, this was the era of Earth, Wind and Fire and other disco dorks, who have gone to their musical resting places.)

It’s interesting that no one has attempted to address Jimmy Page’s undisputed musical dexterity as a guitarist, second only to Clapton, arguably the greatest rock guitarist of all, since Jimi left us far too soon. (However, there are those who feel, Hendrix notwithstanding, that “Clapton Is God.”) And that’s not to discount (fellow Yardbird) Jeff Beck. But Page is safely in the guitar hero pantheon, whereas Holmes played a gig in the Village that’s notable because Zep took his song and made it their own (while Peter Grant intimidated anyone within sight).

BTW, a fella named Shakespeare was notorious for ripping off the stories of lesser-known authors but he’s only subjected to minor criticism on this point (if at all) because he turned obscure, third-rate work into enduring classics, such as King Lear and Hamlet.

As Robert Plant once shouted on the balcony of the Continental (Riot) Hyatt House, “I’m a golden god!” No one can ever, ever alter that.