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Page Climbs Solo Stairway to Heaven


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Page Climbs Solo Stairway to Heaven

Post-Standard,Syracuse, NY November 04, 1988


Knight-Ridder News Service

Guitarist Jimmy Page has 10 of rock's most famous fingers, digits that have hammered out the

power chords of "Whole Lotta Love" and plucked the delicate melody of "Stairway to Heaven"

in stadiums and arenas around the world.

The ex-Led Zeppelin leader's first-ever solo tour reaches the Onondaga County War Memorial

tonight. During almost 25 years of playing, 44-year-old British guitar whiz Page has become the most

imitated guitarist in rock 'n' roll history, outranking peers like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. Many

of his Zeppelin songs that still fill the playlists of rock radio stations are considered classics, and his

guitar riffs are landmarks for any young band.

"I know there's a hell of a reputation that I've got," said Page, who's also logged time in the

Yardbirds and the Firm. "It's become almost like a textbook with all these new bands trying to

recreate it. It's fantastic to have created that legacy, so obviously I'm very proud of it."

Now, however, Page is working to build on that heritage. During the summer he released "Outrider," his first solo album, not counting the sound track to ''Death Wish II" in 1980. It's something Page fans have been waiting for since Led Zeppelin broke up eight years ago after the death of drummer John Bonham. But Page has made them wait for it.

"I've been involved in other things." he said, ticking off the activities that delayed the start of

his solo career: a period spent recovering from Bonham's death, the 1983 ARMS benefit tour and

his two-year involvement with the Firm. Page also said he's "never had a burning desire for a solo career," but he did admit that his legacy made it a somewhat daunting prospect. "I had to gear up for it," he said. "It took awhile to do that."

For "Outrider," Page enlisted singers John Miles and Chris Farlow, and Bonham's son, Jason, on

drums. He also hooked up with exbandmate Robert Plant for one song. And he decided that the best

way to live up to fan's expectations would be to create a blues and rock review course in Jimmy


"I decided to touch back to my roots rather than trying to pioneer something new at this time," he

said. "I think that's the first step down the road to a strong solo career. I said, 'I'm going to be as

reckless as possible ... and do what I really believe in — making spontaneous music up on the spot.'

We used to work like that in (Zeppelin), to be honest."

In preparing for his first solo tour — with Miles, Bonham and bassist Durban Laverde — Page

decided to keep to those roots, roaring from the Yardbirds' nugget "Train Kept a-Rollin" through Zeppelin favorites (including an instrumental version of "Stairway to Heaven") and material from "Outrider." But Page cautioned that the retrospective approach doesn't mean he's in

a time warp. "On the second album, the approach will be totally different," he said. "I won't be making

stuff up in the studio there. That will be really, really planned, I'll really work to shape a sound."

One thing that's definitely doubtful for the future, however, is another Led Zeppelin reunion

Page and Plant continue to have a cordial but volatile relationship — "I find his demeanor a bit questionable at the moment:" the guitarist said - and Page was unhappy with the two Zeppelin

reunions that have been staged.

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Ah, what became of that 2nd solo album?

1989: Jimmy sold his studio (The Sol) in Summer.

1990: Jimmy dedicated most of the year to producing/promoting The Led Zeppelin

Boxed Set.

1991: A band meeting was held in January and Robert tentatively agreed to a Led

Zeppelin reunion (but changed his mind later the same day). Jimmy met with

David Coverdale in March and the rest is history.

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