Of all the occupations that lend itself to careful archiving, rock star isn’t an obvious contender. Particularly the life of someone who allegedly embraced wanton debauchery with as much enthusiasm as Jimmy Page. How could he possibly have found the time I hear you ask. Well, it seems somehow he did.
Back in 2014 “Jimmy Page” arrived – a sumptuous 500 page high quality photograph laden autobiography, more coffee table than book. But such is the range and depth of Jimmy’s archive, this second volume presents “the detail behind the detail”. And he’s not kidding.
Even if, like me, you’re not a Led Zep aficionado, this tome still draws you in. There’s not just all the guitars – the first Hoffer, the twin necks, the black Les Paul Custom with the Bigsby arm (and the loan agreement that he bought it on) – there’s the entire set up for the recording of “Whole Lotta Love” (guitars, tape echo and cabinets), diaries, jackets, tour carnets, studio logs, posters, trousers, contracts and page after er… page of pictures. There’s even the banjo he played on “Gallows Pole”, the guitar he used on the “Death Wish” soundtrack and handwritten notes which show the key and guitar selection for every song at the O2 reunion gig. It’s a nerds wet dream.
It’s all presented in chronological detail – 100 pages in and he’s just got to the Yardbirds. By page 250 it’s Physical Graffiti, and unlike the preceding book, the text – which seems very much in Jimmy’s voice as far as I can tell – is as important as the picture. The book closes with his story of playing the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the making of “Play It Loud” and pictures of the notes he wrote when selecting takes for the LZ studio album re-releases.
It’s also not mind-bendingly expensive, unless you want one of the 2,500 individually numbered and signed first edition. This edition is going for around £35 online as far as I can see. I can’t vouch for the quality or size of the print – I had access to a watermarked PDF (which is fair enough) but could only view it through the PDF equivalent of YouTube, which was like reading a book through your neighbours letterbox. It’s a testimony to the quality of the book’s contents that I read it nonetheless.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Not just Page fans but anyone with an interest in guitars and gear.
One thing you’ve learned
The power of never throwing anything away.