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Jimmy Page´s injured fingers in the 70ies


Jiri
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Hey guys!

As I was watching the Earls Court gig I realized how Jimmy´s playing approach had changed since ´73.

He rarely uses his left ring finger and if he does so it´s used in a very strange way. Through the entire gig he´s not able to stretch the fingers of his left hand to full extend (which makes fast runs easier to play).

Referring to this observation...

I don´t know why so many people are so enthusiastic about his guitar work during the EC-shows (on the official DVD, that is). It´s hardly average compared to ´73 and the beloved Stairway-solo just sucks! Jimmy´s struggling in trying to play all the fluid, fast runs from 1973. Trampled Underfoot´s not much better.

His playing in IMTOD is superb, BUT he uses a bottleneck on his left ring finger!!!

Now, I know that Jimmy hurt his finger(s) several times in the 70ies.

My questions:

When did Jimmy actually injure his finger in the 70ies?

Which performances were done 3-finger-style hence below par?

MOST IMPORTANT:

Which performances were actually as great or better as the ones in ´73?

Have those accidents in the 70ies affected his playing/dexterity ever since?

Did Jimmy actually develop a form of (chronical) arthritis which is common under such circumstances?

Erm, just to let you know: this is not JP bashing. He´s one of the most gifted and interesting guitar players out there! :D

Edited by Jiri
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Hey guys!

As I was watching the Earls Court gig I realized how Jimmy´s playing approach had changed since ´73.

He rarely uses his left ring finger and if he does so it´s used in a very strange way. Through the entire gig he´s not able to stretch the fingers of his left hand to full extend (which makes fast runs easier to play).

Referring to this observation...

I don´t know why so many people are so enthusiastic about his guitar work during the EC-shows (on the official DVD, that is). It´s hardly average compared to ´73 and the beloved Stairway-solo just sucks! Jimmy´s struggling in trying to play all the fluid, fast runs from 1973. Trampled Underfoot´s not much better.

His playing in IMTOD is superb, BUT he uses a bottleneck on his left ring finger!!!

Now, I know that Jimmy hurt his finger(s) several times in the 70ies.

My questions:

When did Jimmy actually injure his finger in the 70ies?

Which performances were done 3-finger-style hence below par?

MOST IMPORTANT:

Which performances were actually as great or better as the ones in ´73?

Have those accidents in the 70ies affected his playing/dexterity ever since?

Did Jimmy actually develop a form of (chronical) arthritis which is common under such circumstances?

spent some time looking for the 1973 hand in bandage shot, but no luck. i asked a similar question and that photo was posted in response as well as a claim that he had tendinitis. Clearly there is a fluidity loss after 1973.

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The bios don´t say how long it took Jimmy to recover. And as I know that there are some real hardcore-Zeppers out there who know details about every single gig...

BTW

Just listened to the MSG-Stairway of 1975. I don´t know which day it was, I don´t know if it´s that legendary SB-bootleg but i do know that the solo is pure crap! Sorry...

That photo above is a photo of Jimmy playing what seems like a C-(power)chord. Nothing´s wrong with that. Lots of people - especially with knee-slung guitar - do it this way.

Edited by Jiri
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Hey guys!

As I was watching the Earls Court gig I realized how Jimmy´s playing approach had changed since ´73.

He rarely uses his left ring finger and if he does so it´s used in a very strange way. Through the entire gig he´s not able to stretch the fingers of his left hand to full extend (which makes fast runs easier to play).

Referring to this observation...

I don´t know why so many people are so enthusiastic about his guitar work during the EC-shows (on the official DVD, that is). It´s hardly average compared to ´73 and the beloved Stairway-solo just sucks! Jimmy´s struggling in trying to play all the fluid, fast runs from 1973. Trampled Underfoot´s not much better.

His playing in IMTOD is superb, BUT he uses a bottleneck on his left ring finger!!!

Now, I know that Jimmy hurt his finger(s) several times in the 70ies.

My questions:

When did Jimmy actually injure his finger in the 70ies?

Which performances were done 3-finger-style hence below par?

MOST IMPORTANT:

Which performances were actually as great or better as the ones in ´73?

Have those accidents in the 70ies affected his playing/dexterity ever since?

Did Jimmy actually develop a form of (chronical) arthritis which is common under such circumstances?

Erm, just to let you know: this is not JP bashing. He´s one of the most gifted and interesting guitar players out there! :D

Page broke his ring finger in 1975 right before the US tour started, and his playing suffered the first stretch of the tour, and they had to redo the set list to adjust (thus Dazed and Confused was replaced with How Many More Times and they added When the Levee Breaks as well).

That being said, his playing in general was not as fluid as it was in 1973 (the Europe tour prior the US tour probably had some of Page's best playing imo) but near the end of the 1975 tour, it wasn't bad at all. Remember that the DVD only shows a few songs from the 5 night stand at Earl's Court. I'm particularly fond of the Earl's Court concerts, TSRTS, D+C, and Stairway to Heaven from May 24th are the best live versions I've personally heard. Over the Hills and Far Away also featured some great guitar work.

As for whats actually on the DVD, the acoustic set is played fabulously imo, and Trampled Underfoot is as well. As for Stairway, I was actually really surprised when the DVD was released that Page chose the version from May 25th, the solo was cut short because Page broke his B-string mid solo, and the performance was a bit uninspired as well. The version from the previous night was far superior. I suggest you try and find a copy of "Evoluzione" and "When we Were Kings"/"Conquistador" (shouldn't be too hard, there are pretty common in trading communities) to really hear what the Earl's Court concerts were like. Remember, these were 3 hour long concerts, you can't just characterize them based on a few songs.

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May 30 1973

Reportedly sprained a finger on the fence at Los Angeles International Airport greeting fans who waited for the flight arrival. Concert for that night postponed until the following night.

Circa January 13-15 1975

Left-hand ring finger got crushed in a closing train door he tried to hold open for a passenger at Victioria Rail Station. Later the same day, a visit to a doctor for x-rays confirmed he had broken the tip of his finger. They departed England January 15th

for the United States. He adopted what he called a "three finger technique" on that

leg of the tour. This type of injury normally takes six to eight weeks to heal.

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Jimmy injured his fingers twice in the 70's.

The first time it happened was in LA, on May 29 apparently. He played a couple of gigs in LA with a sprained finger, and his hand was still bandaged when he arrived in San Francisco for the famed Kezar stadium show on June 2 - simply took it off for the show and used painkillers. He developed a three finger technique for the ensuing shows, but as the tour progressed his playing improved and gradually went back to his normal way of doing things. Here's Jimmy arriving at San Francisco airport.

KezarOMSC04.jpg

Here he has just arrived at the venue, looking a bit worried:

PAGEY_OMSCAN_031-1.jpg

The second time it was two fingers, just as the group was departing from England to play a couple of gigs in Rotterdam and Brussels, on January 11 and 12, 1975; and then the U.S. Tour immediately afterwards. His playing again obviously suffered most in the first gigs after it happened. Robert had health problems at a similar time, and as far as I know, the February 12 performance was the first really strong one on the tour. By Earl's Court in May the band were giving great performances by all accounts (and I'll second that, going from what I've heard of those shows).

Edited by Otto Masson
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Oh, I didn't notice you had already made a reply, Steve. I believe you are a few days off for the '75 incident. :D

Possibly. Richard Cole said after the concerts in the Netherlands (Jan 11) and Belgium (Jan 12) they all returned to England for three days before flying to the USA on Jan 15th; Cole says the injury happened during those three days. Apparently, the band

were interviewed by a tv crew in their hotel suite in Rotterdam (Jan 11) before the

show and so far as I know his finger was not injured at that time.

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May 30 1973

Reportedly sprained a finger on the fence at Los Angeles International Airport greeting fans who waited for the flight arrival. Concert for that night postponed until the following night.

That always made me wonder. Because the show on May 31th (well known as Bonzos birthday party) is pretty good for Page. His Stairway solo is one of his best. Really great playing.

But another thing: In an interview in 1986 Page said that he can't even play bar chords and scales. I can't believe that. In many songs there are bar chords (Stairway, ten years gone, Thank you) and not just power chords. And of course there are great scales in many songs. You can't play such solos without knowing scales. Was he just confused? I think so. I'm also a guitar player.

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I think what Jimmy meant by that is, that he never used to practice the D-dorian (not talking about Scrubs here B) ) scale or the A-mixolydian for hours :) He´s a "lick player" using the pentatonic scheme or related scales but IMHO he never sat down to do some "scale work".

And of course he knows how to play chords but he rarely played "strumming guitar" (ok, there´s Thank You).

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That always made me wonder. Because the show on May 31th (well known as Bonzos birthday party) is pretty good for Page. His Stairway solo is one of his best. Really great playing.

But another thing: In an interview in 1986 Page said that he can't even play bar chords and scales. I can't believe that. In many songs there are bar chords (Stairway, ten years gone, Thank you) and not just power chords. And of course there are great scales in many songs. You can't play such solos without knowing scales. Was he just confused? I think so. I'm also a guitar player.

Learn the major/minor pentatonic scales in all positions on the fret board and you can play 95% of Page's solos.

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Yeah, Andrew´s right...

Same with Clapton! He´s always been a purist. And he doesn´t even use his little finger... :rolleyes:

As far as Jimmy´s work is concerned one might think he´s been using the same old licks since day #1 in LZ. To some extend it´s true but his phrasing and how he combines his licks - it´s very special. Even after hearing guys like Vai or Petrucci) I´m still blown away by Jimmy´s amazing live work in SIBLY or some of his empty-string-runs in D&C (although I know it´s not that difficult to play).

His licks might sound simple but Jimmy´s concept of guitar playing is a very complex one. If you think you are a flashy guitar player who "has seen it all" analyze the simple-sounding solo of Black Dog. The notes he´s using, the unusual fretboard positions, the phrasing - it´s sheer genius!

Same with "Ocean".

Edited by Jiri
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That always made me wonder. Because the show on May 31th (well known as Bonzos birthday party) is pretty good for Page. His Stairway solo is one of his best. Really great playing.

But another thing: In an interview in 1986 Page said that he can't even play bar chords and scales. I can't believe that. In many songs there are bar chords (Stairway, ten years gone, Thank you) and not just power chords. And of course there are great scales in many songs. You can't play such solos without knowing scales. Was he just confused? I think so. I'm also a guitar player.

The May 31st 1973 LA Forum gig is a good performance, but so far as I know he only suffered a slight sprain. The postponement of the May 30th show was announced on

the radio as fans were arriving at the venue. This seems to be consistent with them

having arrived at the airport from San Diego, although I've also heard Jimmy actually

hurt it screwing around at the Riot House pool the day before. I tend to believe it

happened at the airport as he said, unless I ever confirm they flew up from San Diego

on May 29th instead.

I think what Jimmy meant concerning barre chords is he finds them difficult to play. He

may have even compared himself to Eddie Van Halen as a contrast. Anyway, he sure

does play scales, as evidenced by Achilles Last Stand, for example. JPJ originally had

doubts about it but Jimmy was convinced he could pull it off.

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Yeah, Andrew´s right...

Same with Clapton! He´s always been a purist. And he doesn´t even use his little finger... :rolleyes:

As far as Jimmy´s work is concerned one might think he´s been using the same old licks since day #1 in LZ. To some extend it´s true but his phrasing and how he combines his licks - it´s very special. Even after hearing guys like Vai or Petrucci) I´m still blown away by Jimmy´s amazing live work in SIBLY or some of his empty-string-runs in D&C (although I know it´s not that difficult to play).

His licks might sound simple but Jimmy´s concept of guitar playing is a very complex one. If you think you are a flashy guitar player who "has seen it all" analyze the simple-sounding solo of Black Dog. The notes he´s using, the unusual fretboard positions, the phrasing - it´s sheer genius!

Same with "Ocean".

Yes you got it. Jimmy is no technical player. He is more in "feel". The black dog solo is really great, especially live. I heared many covers of LZ-Songs but i never thought that a solo sounded better than the original. Do you know the cover-project "Hammer of the gods" with Mike Portnoy on drums and Paul Gilbert on guitar? Gilbert himself is one of the best guitar players in the world (in technic and speed the best, in my opinion). But he couldn't play the Heartbreaker solo better than Jimmy could do in 1970-1973. You can say about Jimmy the same that Gandalf said to Frodo: "You could learn all about you in a few weeks, but also after years you suprise me on and on." Ok maybe not in a few weeks....bad example B)

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The bios don´t say how long it took Jimmy to recover. And as I know that there are some real hardcore-Zeppers out there who know details about every single gig...

BTW

Just listened to the MSG-Stairway of 1975. I don´t know which day it was, I don´t know if it´s that legendary SB-bootleg but i do know that the solo is pure crap! Sorry...

That photo above is a photo of Jimmy playing what seems like a C-(power)chord. Nothing´s wrong with that. Lots of people - especially with knee-slung guitar - do it this way.

May 30 1973

Reportedly sprained a finger on the fence at Los Angeles International Airport greeting fans who waited for the flight arrival. Concert for that night postponed until the following night.

Circa January 13-15 1975

Left-hand ring finger got crushed in a closing train door he tried to hold open for a passenger at Victioria Rail Station. Later the same day, a visit to a doctor for x-rays confirmed he had broken the tip of his finger. They departed England January 15th

for the United States. He adopted what he called a "three finger technique" on that

leg of the tour. This type of injury normally takes six to eight weeks to heal.

Both mentioned in the LZ~Definitive Bio BTW

I think it takes Page the same amount of time to recover from said injuries as most other human beings. :rolleyes:

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Anyway, he sure does play scales, as evidenced by Achilles Last Stand, for example. JPJ originally had doubts about it but Jimmy was convinced he could pull it off.

He was probably just trying to sound modest. Thank You, Achilles, Fool in the Rain, No Quarter, and many others feature "full scale" rather than just pentatonic solos.

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That always made me wonder. Because the show on May 31th (well known as Bonzos birthday party) is pretty good for Page. His Stairway solo is one of his best. Really great playing.

But another thing: In an interview in 1986 Page said that he can't even play bar chords and scales. I can't believe that. In many songs there are bar chords (Stairway, ten years gone, Thank you) and not just power chords. And of course there are great scales in many songs. You can't play such solos without knowing scales. Was he just confused? I think so. I'm also a guitar player.

I read that interview and I could hardly believe what I was reading. Page was a successful studio musician prior to LZ. If you are in a band you can kind of do your own thing somewhat and make things adaptable if you play it well, but if you are a studio musician you are paid to sound like a million other people--and be adaptable on the spot. How could you not know about scales and barre chords? :wtf:

But that's what the article said.

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Jimmy injured his fingers twice in the 70's.

The first time it happened was in LA, on May 29 apparently. He played a couple of gigs in LA with a sprained finger, and his hand was still bandaged when he arrived in San Francisco for the famed Kezar stadium show on June 2 - simply took it off for the show and used painkillers. He developed a three finger technique for the ensuing shows, but as the tour progressed his playing improved and gradually went back to his normal way of doing things. Here's Jimmy arriving at San Francisco airport.

KezarOMSC04.jpg

Here he has just arrived at the venue, looking a bit worried:

PAGEY_OMSCAN_031-1.jpg

The second time it was two fingers, just as the group was departing from England to play a couple of gigs in Rotterdam and Brussels, on January 11 and 12, 1975; and then the U.S. Tour immediately afterwards. His playing again obviously suffered most in the first gigs after it happened. Robert had health problems at a similar time, and as far as I know, the February 12 performance was the first really strong one on the tour. By Earl's Court in May the band were giving great performances by all accounts (and I'll second that, going from what I've heard of those shows).

The '75 tour did take a while to get going 100 percent. Plant had a bad cold that I think turned into pneumonia when they opened the U.S. tour in Minneapolis in January. They played a shorter than usual show that night. I am surprised they did not just postpone the tour for a few weeks.
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The 73 injury happened at Long Beach Municipal Airport. He strained a tendon in his palm climbing a chain link fence that separated him from some fans.

The 75 injury was his ring finger that got fractured when it got slammed in a train door.

Hi Otto! :D

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Jimmy injured his fingers twice in the 70's.

The first time it happened was in LA, on May 29 apparently. He played a couple of gigs in LA with a sprained finger, and his hand was still bandaged when he arrived in San Francisco for the famed Kezar stadium show on June 2 - simply took it off for the show and used painkillers. He developed a three finger technique for the ensuing shows, but as the tour progressed his playing improved and gradually went back to his normal way of doing things. Here's Jimmy arriving at San Francisco airport.

Here he has just arrived at the venue, looking a bit worried:

The second time it was two fingers, just as the group was departing from England to play a couple of gigs in Rotterdam and Brussels, on January 11 and 12, 1975; and then the U.S. Tour immediately afterwards. His playing again obviously suffered most in the first gigs after it happened. Robert had health problems at a similar time, and as far as I know, the February 12 performance was the first really strong one on the tour. By Earl's Court in May the band were giving great performances by all accounts (and I'll second that, going from what I've heard of those shows).

Otto, thanks for the detailed information and the photos. Here are two more of the '73 hand injury that you once posted here or on the old site for us:

JP73bh2.jpg

JP73bandagedhand.jpg

The May 31st 1973 LA Forum gig is a good performance, but so far as I know he only suffered a slight sprain. The postponement of the May 30th show was announced on

the radio as fans were arriving at the venue. This seems to be consistent with them

having arrived at the airport from San Diego, although I've also heard Jimmy actually

hurt it screwing around at the Riot House pool the day before. I tend to believe it

happened at the airport as he said, unless I ever confirm they flew up from San Diego

on May 29th instead.

Steve, interesting that you mention that. I was at both LA concerts and I remember hearing that rumor circulating back then - that Jimmy actually hurt his hand at the Riot House and not at the airport. In any case, while at the Riot House he did get some R&R and recover well enough to carry on.

The 73 injury happened at Long Beach Municipal Airport. He strained a tendon in his palm climbing a chain link fence that separated him from some fans.

The 75 injury was his ring finger that got fractured when it got slammed in a train door.

Hi Otto! :D

I believe that you are right - that he was hurt at the LB airport. I hadn't thought of that old rumor until Steve mentioned it...

Edited by MadScreamingGallery
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