Jimmy Page and the BBC Sessions - BBC Radio Documentary To Air Christmas Day

December 22, 2009

The inside story of Led Zeppelin's BBC sessions told exclusively by Jimmy Page. Jimmy Page joins Shaun Keaveny for a unique celebration of the thrilling early recordings . The BBC sessions capture the audacity and raw energy of Led Zeppelin's first live shows. Now Jimmy Page chooses his personal highlights from the music and shares his memories of an extraordinary time in Led Zeppelin's history.

Documents from the BBC’s written archive unearthed by BBC 6 Music show that producers invited the group to appear on a trial basis only, giving their performance a cautious welcome.

A 1969 Audition Panel of BBC producers reviewed them, with future broadcasts depending on their verdicts. One wrote: "English blues group longing to sound like Muddy Waters, but failing necessarily through being derivative...for me it’s unconvincing and I’d rather hear the genuine article."

The programme, Jimmy Page and the BBC Sessions , will be broadcast in two parts on Christmas Day (25 December).

You can hear Part 1, Led Zeppelin in 1969, on BBC Radio 6 Music between 1200-1300 GMT, with Part 2, Led Zeppelin in 1971, on-air between 21:00-22:00.

The show features a section of the famous Whole Lotta Love medley, that wasn't included on the commercial release in 1997, although after hearing it again at 6 Music, Jimmy seemed to remember why.

"For those who were hearing it for the first time, there was a certain guitarist who was really wincing at the out of tune part, because the string had dropped and it was out of tune," he said. "I was gyrating on the chair here wishing I could tune it up. Anyway it got tuned and it got back in, but I could hear then it was putting my playing off. It’s interesting."

In the records there is a mention of a cheque made out to Jimmy Page for six pounds, a payment which bounced. "It just so happened that quite a number of years ago I was going through some old papers and things in a tea chest, and I found this cheque that said, 'Ordered not to pay'," he explained. "It’s from the Zeppelin era, so one of these sessions.

"I’ve actually got it on the wall at home and I should have looked at the date before I came here. It was probably for that out of tune guitar on that medley, and that’s fair do's."

We had a cheque re-written and Shaun Keaveny presented it to the guitar legend, who says he plans to put it in the frame with the old document.

View original documentation from the sessions: