JIMMY PAGE – Unauthorized Biography Reviewed
May 25, 2007
Jimmy Page’s flamboyant, spectacular guitar solos helped propel LED ZEPPELIN’s musical triumphs as much as, if not more than, Robert Plant’s otherworldly screams and vocals.
Yet there’s been more written about both Plant, and the group as a whole, than Page, with the exception of the numerous articles dissecting his technique, influences and approach in various guitar journals.
But George Case’s Magus Musician Man: Un Unauthorized Biography (Hal Leonard) is the first complete work that not only examines the man and the guitar, but the personality, motivations and interactions as well. It actually covers more personal territory than some might desire, chronicling seemingly every encounter, affair, combative session and event in Page’s life, particularly as he navigated through the exciting world of London during the ‘60s.
Though one might not make the immediate connection between Page and the mercurial soul/R&B giant Marvin Gaye, Case’s book shows the conflict between Page’s spiritual leanings and dark side to be just as great and tumultuous as Gaye’s. Page’s sheer skills were (and still are) so great that he could literally blow other players off the bandstand, yet he often was unable to channel that creative spirit into productive behavior away from the stage.
The book delves into the complex, sometimes prickly and combative relationships inside Zeppelin, but above it profiles Page and his many moods. Given the adulation he received, the unbelievable fame the group achieved and the individual tributes routinely bestowed upon him, it’s not difficult to understand why Page eventually suffered some of the setbacks the book documents, or why he and other Zeppelin members engaged in several unbelievable actions it also highlights.
Still, while not ignoring the negative aspects or dubious periods, Case’s book also shows why Jimmy Page is a legendary figure among modern rock guitarists, and the things that shaped his life and his signature style.