There’s more to him outside of the legendary quartet.
We could discuss for days, trying to single out one band that invented hard rock, but it’s pretty obvious that the guitar legend Jimmy Page had a huge role in the process. But what he did with Led Zeppelin was not only of great importance to the genre but to 20th-century music as a whole. And, of course, let’s not forget the greatness of his musicianship presented in his session work before Led Zeppelin was even formed.
But as drummer John Bonham passed away in September of 1980, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant, and Jimmy Page decided not to continue and went their separate ways. Not that commonly known, but Mr. Page had some interesting bands and projects after Led Zeppelin disbanded.
He thought about giving up
That’s right, one of the guitar gods that became famous during this wonderful decade, the 1970s, wanted to stop playing altogether while grieving for his friend and bandmate. But even though it was hard, he decided to keep on making and performing music.
Although they were short-lived, XYZ (short for eX-Yes-&-Zeppelin) had one solid lineup – Jimmy Page on Guitar, Yes’ Chris Squire and Alan White on bass and drums respectively, and Dave Lawson on keyboards. Page and Squire formed the band at the very end of 1980 when they met each other at a party. The idea was to have Robert Plant as the lead singer, but as Squire was the main songwriter, Plant refused due to music being too complex for his taste.
Although there were some demos recorded, the project didn’t live for too long and was abandoned. It’s a shame really, since this was an interesting combination. Page would later appeared with Yes live on stage in 1984.
‘Death Wish II’ and ‘Death Wish III’ Soundtrack
Aside from being one helluva rock guitar player and songwriter, Jimmy Page also composed songs for movies. The Michael Winner directed action film, “Death Wish II,” starring Charles Bronson saw the guitarist writing, recording, and producing the music and would later be involved in the soundtrack for the followup, “Death Wish III.”
A.R.M.S. charity concerts
Back in 1983, Jimmy Page teamed up with Action Research for Multiple Sclerosis for a series of concerts in honor of bassist Ronnie Lane of Small Faces who suffered from the disease. Some of the shows also included songs from “Death Wish II” with Steve Winwood on vocals. In later concerts, Winwood would be replaced by Paul Rodgers of Bad Company.
On all of the shows, Page would perform the legendary Derek and the Dominos song “Layla” with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.
Roy Harper – “Whatever Happened to Jugula?”
The 13th studio album by American folk rock musician Roy Harper, titled “Whatever Happened to Jugula?” released in 1985 featured Page on guitar. The two had cooperated prior to this project but this was the first time they worked on an entire album together.
The Honeydrippers (with Robert Plant)
In 1984, Jimmy Page got back together with his old bandmate Robert Plant in a project called The Honeydrippers that focused on a rhythm & blues style of rock, rather than straight rock ‘n’ roll. Together, they released a record titled “The Honeydrippers: Volume 1.” Unfortunately, there was no “Volume 2” as this was their only release. Their live band consisted of musicians such as Jeff Beck, Paul Shaffer, Nile Rodgers, Dave Weckl and Brian Setzer.
‘Scream for Help’ Soundtrack
For his third foray in composing for movie soundtracks, Page was asked by Michael Winner to create the soundtrack for his horror film “Scream for Help.” However, Page suggested that John Paul Jones would be more suitable. However, Page would help out on two tracks titled “Crackback” and “Spaghetti Junction”.
Featuring Page, singer Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, drummer Chris Slade of AC/DC, and bassist Tony Franklin, The Firm had huge potential, with one pretty catchy hit song called “Radioactive.” By sheer coincidence, the Chernobyl disaster happened about a year after the song was released (but we can’t blame them for that, of course). The only thing guys are guilty of is not continuing on with this supergroup.
The Firm got together in 1984 and released two records – the self-titled one in 1985 and “Mean Business” in 1986. The group would disband after their second album, with Jimmy Page revealing some years later that the project was not really intended to last longer than it did.
The Rolling Stones – “One Hit (To the Body)”
As mentioned before, Page built his reputation as a session musician. He would go back to his session roots when The Rolling Stones invited him to do a solo on their single “One Hit (to the Body)” from 1986.
Box of Frogs – “Strange Land”
Box of Frogs was a band active in the mid 80s featuring former members The Yardbirds. They had Jimmy Page guest on their second record, titled “Strange Land.”
Solo album “Outrider”
Of course, it was only a matter of time when Jimmy Page would drop his own solo material. To the disappointment of all the guitar lovers out there, however, the 1988 record “Outrider” remains his only solo album so far.
The album received some mixed reviews from the critics, and Page himself was not that thrilled about its performance. Nonetheless, it’s a record to be proud of since it differed from the overproduced sound of the late 80s. Most of the songs on the album were written by Page and featured Robert Plant and John Bonham’s son Jason Bonham on a song called “The Only One.” Otherwise, the rest of the songs featured vocals from Chris Farlowe and John Miles. There’s also one great instrumental on there, called “Writes of Winter.”
Page also had a brief tour promoting this record, with some shows in the United States and a handful of performances in the UK.
What a brilliant combination this was: Deep Purple vocalist and Whitesnake leader and Jimmy Page! The project lasted for one album, featuring 11 original songs all written by Page and Coverdale.
Released in March 1993, the “Coverdale•Page” record was a success, entering top 5 positions in both the US and the UK. What’s more, Coverdale revealed in one of his recent interviews that there is indeed a possibility to release some previously unheard tracks from these early 90s sessions!
This super duo also went on a tour with additional backing musicians. Surprisingly enough, ticket sales in the US were as high as expected. Later, Coverdale and Page would do some shows in Japan before calling it a day.
Page and Plant
Some critics in the early 90s mentioned how Robert Plant must have be furious over the success of “Coverdale•Page” album since his own record “Fate of Nations” was not as well received. But he was in for one successful collaboration with Jimmy Page, the well-known “UnLedded” acoustic session on MTV. Yes, it took some persuading to get Robert Plant on board, but it all worked out well.
This 90-minute long session had the highest ratings in MTV’s history at that point, which led to this live show being released as an album titled “No Quarter.” Of course, the success of the whole thing sparked an idea to do a world tour.
The duo came back together in 1998 to do a full album of original material, titled “Walking into Clarksdale.” One of the singles, “Most High,” topped the Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart after its release.
There was one more tour by Page and Plant after which they disbanded. They would reunite one more time in 2001 for a stint at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
“Come With Me” – Puff Daddy
When the Godzilla movie came out in 1998, its soundtrack featured a who’s-who of contemporary 90s music including Rage Against The Machine, Green Day, Ben Folds, and more. However, it’s most popular track was a contribution of the song “Come With Me” by Puff Daddy. The song heavily sampled Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” with new solos by Page and Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine, who also produced the track.
The song became a major hit internationally, although rock purists felt less than enthused about the project. Both Puff Daddy and Jimmy Page would later perform the track on the 23rd season finale of Saturday Night Live. Regardless of backlash, it became a staple track as New York Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter’s walk-on song as well as featured other sporting events.
Led Zeppelin Reunion Shows
As everybody was wishing for a 3 out of 4 Led Zeppelin reunion, the band would get back together for a few gigs: in 1985 for Live Aid, in 1988 for Atlantic Records 40th Anniversary concert, in 1995 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and one final time in 2007 at London’s O2 arena.
Awards, honors, and notable performances
Being a musician of this caliber, Jimmy Page received numerous honors and awards throughout the years. Arguably, his highest honor was being appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his charity work for Action For Brazil’s Children’s Trust and Task Brasil. There is still an ongoing campaign to get him knighted for his contribution to music: Page is also a two-time Grammy Award winner and a six-time nominee.
In 2008, Page had the honor to perform at the Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing where he played Zeppelin’s famous “Whole Lotta Love.”
In 2012, Page, Plant, and Jones received Kennedy Center Honors from the US president Barack Obama.
Guitars And Gear
There are a few guitars Jimmy Page is famous for, like the “No. 1” 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard he bought from Joe Walsh, the “No. 2” ’59 Les Paul, the double neck 1971 Gibson EDS-1275, and the 1959 Fender Telecaster he recorded the first Zeppelin album with.
Putting those legendary axes aside, Page has also developed a few guitars since 1980. In 1991 he teamed up with luthier Roger Giffin to do a guitar based on his “No. 2” ’59 Les Paul. The guitar was later copied by Gibson for the Jimmy Page Signature Les Paul series.
In 1994, for the aforementioned UnLedded performance, Page hired luthier Andy Manson to build him a three-neck acoustic guitar. It’s an ambitious instrument featuring a 6-string neck, a 12-string neck, and a mandolin.
In honor of Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary, Jimmy Page got together with Fender in 2018 to recreate his legendary Telecaster guitar. There will be four artist signature models in total released throughout 2019. Two of the models will be made by Fender Custom Shop, named “Limited Edition Jimmy Page Telecaster Set.”
Among other guitars he played after Zeppelin, there was also a 1961 Danelectro 3021 Page used with The Firm, and a 1958 Danelectro 3021 he used for the “Outrider” tour.
Although Jimmy Page is regarded as a guitar god for his work with legendary rock outfit Led Zeppelin, he’s certainly has kept himself busy musically over the years with plenty of music to explore. Check out our playlist below to enjoy some of his post-Zeppelin contributions!