Jimmy Page helped change nearly everything about music making in the late 1960s. Led Zeppelin produced albums filled with instantly recognizable tracks and underrated classics. Meanwhile, Page threw in some epic solos and riffs that took fans out of their comfort zone. Playing his guitar with a fiddle bow was one of Page’s innovations, but he first played that way long before he formed Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin took a different approach to music with Jimmy Page at the helm
Jimmy Page worked as a session musician before joining the Yardbirds or forming Led Zeppelin. He learned a lot about recording techniques (like a studio mic, work boards, and mixing) that he brought to the table with Zeppelin. That’s one of the reasons he recorded Presence in less than three weeks.
Page and Led Zeppelin broke with tradition by not releasing singles in the UK. Hearing a butchered version of a Zeppelin classic he hated reinforced that position.
Bowed guitars were another Jimmy Page signature, but the guitarist began to bow before creating the band. The first time Page played guitar with a bow was on a movie soundtrack composed by one of the Rolling Stones.
Jimmy Page first played bowed guitar on a movie soundtrack composed by one of the Rolling Stones
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Page brought the bowed guitar to the masses. He performed the Yardbirds’ “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor” solo from their album small games with a bow, but it wasn’t the first time he had played guitar this way.
During a chat with Chris Cornell at a Guitar World event (via YouTube), Page revealed that the first time he played guitar with a bow was when Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, had it featured on the film’s soundtrack. A degree of murder. Jones composed the soundtrack for the 1967 film.
Cornell points out that Page is waving a bow as he posts a photo of him and Jones in the studio. Page said he was still a session player at the time. He then describes working on the soundtrack with the talented Jones and explains that he had experimented with the bow before. He did not offer a specific timetable, but A degree murder appears to be Page’s first time bowing his guitar.
A degree of murder performed at the 1967 Cannes Film Festival, which ran from late April to early May. The soundtrack was reportedly completed before the film’s premiere. Meanwhile, registration for small games concluded in May 1967. It is possible that Page’s bowed guitar solo on “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor” occurred before he worked on the A degree of murder soundtrack, but no one would have heard it.
Guitarist played bowed guitar three times in Led Zeppelin
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Video and photographic evidence from the time could give the impression that Page was bowing to his guitar almost all the time. However, he played his guitar with a bow on just three Led Zeppelin songs.
He uses the bow on “Dazed and Confused” and “How Many More Times” by Led Zeppelin II. The first song is one of Zep’s signature songs, while the second is a closer epic album that flew under the radar, given the strength of the songs that came before it.
Page pulls out his bow again to physical graffiti“In the Light”, which might be Led Zeppelin’s most ambitious song. Jimmy Page first tilted his guitar on a forgotten movie soundtrack, but he made the style stick with his work in Led Zeppelin.
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