It’s no surprise that Led Zeppelin’s founder and primary musical architect, guitarist Jimmy Page, is still struggling to emerge from the band’s shadow. Zeppelin had surpassed even the Rolling Stones as the world’s top live draw by the time the British band called it quits in 1980, following the death of drummer John Bonham.
Critics routinely chastised the band, which included vocalist Robert Plant and bassist-keyboardist John Paul Jones, for its pompous attitude and often insubstantial songs. The band’s most famous songs, especially the epic ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ are as deeply ingrained in the rock consciousness as anything penned by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, or Bob Dylan.
Zeppelin’s folk, rock, and blues-influenced sound set them apart with their near-terrifying strength. The auditory assault of Led Zeppelin was so overwhelming that it’s no surprise that the band’s influence can be heard in the works of bands ranging from Jane’s Addiction to Metallica.
The band’s music has remained popular enough that a four-disc box set published in 1990 became the best-selling CD retrospective of all time, with over one million copies sold for more than $70 each. A second retrospective will be held shortly.
The page has sought to reassert his musical stamp on a rock on multiple occasions, including a 1982 film soundtrack, two albums, and a U.S. tour with Firm, as well as a 1988 solo album and tour.
Nothing, however, had ever matched the fury and certainty of his Zeppelin days—until now. With vocalist David Coverdale of Whitesnake and Deep Purple fame, the page has formed a band named Coverdale/Page. Their debut album, which will be released by Geffen Records on Tuesday, recaptures a lot of Zeppelin’s blues-rock ferocity and intensity.
If the rock world has spent more than a decade wondering if Page will ever find his former touch, you can understand Page’s fear. “I believe everyone goes through a time when they’re frightened of losing… that spark,” the guitarist says, seated alongside Coverdale in a West Hollywood hotel room.
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