Rock and Roll, Sick Again, Over the Hills and Far Away, In My Time of Dying, The Song Remains the Same, Rain Song, Kashmir, No Quarter, Trampled Underfoot, Moby Dick, Dazed and Confused (incl. San Francisco), Stairway to Heaven, Whole Lotta Love, Black Dog, Heartbreaker.
Describing a rock musician as someone who “courted the occult, curated his own legacy and guaranteed himself immortality” is perhaps over-egging the pudding, even if that musician is Jimmy Page, the guitarist for Led Zeppelin, the biggest rock band in the world back in the 1970s.
The way respected music writer Chris Salewicz tells it in his doorstopper book, Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography (Harper Collins, £14.99), the guitarist had always believed his own hype. From being asked as a 13-year-old what his future plans were (to find a cure for cancer) to being described by a former girlfriend as making her feel “like we were somewhere off in the mists of Avalon”, Page comes across as, shall we say, a conflicted figure.
Notwithstanding his exceptional musicianship, aspects of Page’s character stretch from disagreeable (narcissism, conceit) to disquieting (a well-documented sexual preference for pubescent females, and the displaying of “Polaroids of often blurred close-up parts of female anatomy, often featuring fruit,” recalls a former band member).
Salewicz occasionally stumbles badly in writing about the man (“some of Jimmy’s more unfortunate character aspects disguised the fact that he was a really evolved human being” is but one choice evaluation) but punches above his weight when astutely analysing the music. This noted, the book is a reminder of one important detail: like VHS tapes and hula hoops, the era of the unchecked rock star is over.
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