Jimmy Page on Led Zeppelin's Legacy
LED ZEPPELIN (1969)
“Robert came to my house and I went through the material: ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ and ‘Dazed and Confused,’ because the Yardbirds [Page’s previous band] had done a version of that. He got the idea. I could tell what [drummer] John Bonham was capable of. [Bassist] John Paul Jones was a studio musician. The recording totaled up to about 30 hours. The term I would use is ‘ruthless efficiency.’ ”
LED ZEPPELIN II (1969)
“The master plan was to write stuff and record while we were on the road to get the energy.
That whole middle section of ‘Whole Lotta Love’—no one had ever done anything like that.”
LED ZEPPELIN III (1970)
“We had some time off and went to this cottage [to write]. There was no electricity. The electricity was in the batteries of the cassette players—and what was generated between Robert and myself with the music. The emphasis was on the acoustic guitar. It got criticized, of course. Don’t come to me and say, ‘Where’s “Whole Lotta Love” on the third album?’ It was on the second album, thank you very much.”
LED ZEPPELIN IV (1971)
“I’d already got stuff—I had sections of ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ I wanted something which would accelerate in pace, which would start with a very fragile guitar in the style of Bach, and then introduce the electric 12-string, and then move through to the solo. The band thought it was good, but you don’t envisage it’s going to have such a lasting quality."
HOUSE OF THE HOLY (1971)
“We did some recording at Mick Jagger’s country estate, which was called Stargroves. We did things like ‘D’yer Mak’er’ there. It
was this country house in the middle of lots of land. 'The Song Remains the Same' was going to be an overture that went into 'Rain Song,' so the voice wouldn’t appear til then. It’s an interesting prospect. Onstage we would link the two numbers together and we do on the album. But when I was rehearsing it, it soon became apparent that it ought to be a song."
PHYSICAL GRAFFITI (1975)
“I had the riff and the sort of cascade part of ‘Kashmir.’ Robert said, ‘I’ve got some lyrics,’ which was something he’d written during a visit to Morocco. I knew that was a milestone.”
“Robert has a car crash. His leg’s in plaster. The plan was for touring, but we weren’t Dave Grohl. Robert said, ‘I still want to make an album.’ I would say it’s really defiant. Robert is singing his heart out and the music is really superb. Presence is a guitar-driven album. I had a field day—that’s all there is to it—on ‘Achilles Last Stand.’"
IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR (1979)
“John Paul Jones turns up with this huge organ made by Yamaha. Then, lo and behold, he has written some songs. It’s like, ‘Well, I never!’ I don’t know whether that was the result of the guitar album which preceded it."
“Coda was one that was sort of owing to the record company. [The group disbanded following the alcohol-related death of Bonham in 1980.] Between the recording of Presence and In Through the Out Door, there was a recording I did with John Bonham in Montreux. I said, ‘We’ll do a drum orchestra, like a samba school.’ While we had lost John Bonham, the thing that hadn’t been lost was this 24-track. I called it ‘Bonzo’s Montreux.'"