2. “The Train Kept A Rollin’” by The Scotty McKay Quintet (1968)
For years we had serious doubts that Jimmy tore off this ferocious solo. What the hell is he doing with an American band, who recorded the song in America at a time when he was very clearly in England? But it turns out that the Texas-based band served as Jimmy’s opening act while he was touring with the Yardbirds. Scotty and Jimmy became friends and hatched a plan to record this old blues number, but the Yardbirds had to leave town before the session. So the Quintet recorded their parts and sent the master tape over to Page, who dubbed in his guitar work in the studio.
1. “Thumping Beat” by Screaming Lord Sutch (1970)
Technically, Jimmy was already in Led Zeppelin when he helped out on the eccentric Lord Sutch’s criminally underrated “Heavy Friends” album. And the friends were indeed some of the biggest heavys in the music business, including Page, his Zep-mate John Bonham, Jeff Beck, Noel Redding, and session pianist Nicky Hopkins. Apparently the musicians all assumed they were just making demos, and took an appropriately casual attitude towards the sessions. Things took a turn for the worse when they found out that the tapes were getting released for real. “I just went down to have a laugh, playing some old rock ‘n’ roll, a bit of a send-up,” he told Melody Maker after its release in 1970. “The whole joke sort of reversed itself and became ugly.” He may have disowned it, but we think it rocks!