Celebrate Jimmy Page’s 70th Birthday With His 20 Greatest Pre-Zeppelin Session Guitarist Tracks

by (@JordanRuntagh)

8. “I Pity The Fool” by The Manish Boys (1965)

The ‘Boys were fronted by a 17-year-old singer then still known as Davy Jones. Within a few years (allegedly to avoid confusion with the Monkees singer), he’d adopted a more distinctive stage name: David Bowie. He had fond memories of the session years later. “When I was a baby, I did a rock session with one of the bands, one of the millions of bands that I had in the ’60s – it was the Manish Boys, that’s what it was – and the session guitar player doing the solo was this young kid who’d just come out of art school and was already a top session man, Jimmy Page. He had just gotten a fuzz box and he used that for the solo. He was wildly excited about it.”

 

7. “Circles” by Les Fleur De Lys (1966)

Page acted as producer for this supremely talented Brit-garage band, before laying down guitar work on their second single, a cover of the Pete Townshend song. Play it loud and let your freak-beat flag fly!

 

6. “Beck’s Bolero” Jeff Beck (1968)

Jimmy only backed Beck with some 12-string rhythm guitar for this 1966 sesesion, but it may just be the most important title on this list. It was essentially conceived as a side project for a bunch of discontented musicians: Jeff Beck wanted to express himself outside of The Yardbirds, bringing on Page who in turn called upon Keith Moon and John Entwhistle, both fed up with the bickering in the Who and anxious to try something different, and pianist Nicky Hopkins. At the last minute Entwhistle couldn’t make the session, and renowned session man John Paul Jones stepped in on bass. The result was an instrumental for the ages, a driving piece based on the classical composition “Bolero”. They had so much fun that they began to talk about recording together again, but Moon (or possible Entwhistle) was wary of the contractual disputes and ego clashes between Page and Beck. “Yeah, it’ll go down like a lead zeppelin” he joked, laying the seeds for a kickass band name. Today the venture is widely seen as a dry run for the Led Zeppelin lineup, with Page even recycling some of the melody lines on “How Many More Times”.