BIGGEST SINCE THE BEATLES
JIMMY PAGE, Superguitarist, does not look strong enough to be one of the wild men of pop. He is tall and thin and looks anemic; hardly hefty enough to wrest a powerhouse musical instrument.
But he does. A founder of the Led Zeppelin pop group, now England's most commercially-successful musical organization, he leads four musicians who are having the most impressive pop tour of Australia since the Beatles.
He is a complex young man. The second string guitarist in the old Yardbirds group, he was the musician who brought together bass player and organist John Paul jones, drummer John Bonham and singer Robert Plant.
They started playing together for pleasure and liked what they did enough to make a tape for their first LP within two weeks.
They were all well-respected session musicians at the time but hardly superstars. Yet the LP, called simply "Led Zeppelin," immediately hit the LP charts in the United States in the top 10.
Sales of their four LPs have been terrific. In Australia, alone, they have sold nearly 200,000 copies.
Jimmy Page admits to having two prejudices. The first is music, which he is very much for; the second is the news media, which he is very much against. His prejudice about the Press and radio and TV goes beyond the common vague dislike many pop stars have for reporters (an irrational attitude when you consider how much they depend on publicity for success).
Good Music Matters
But Jimmy wants nothing to get between his obsessional music and his audience. In one of his rare interviews in Sydney this week, he told me: "Names, titles and things like that do not mean a thing. What does Led Zeppelin mean? It does not mean a thing.
"What matters is our music. If we were not playing good music, nobody would care what we called ourselves. If we are not playing good music, we could call ourselves Cabbages,' and still get across to our audience."
This attitude comes through on the presentation of the group's records. The first three LPs were called simply "Led Zeppelin I", Led Zeppelin 2" and "Led Zeppelin 3".
The fourth is even more basic. It is not called anything; only a series of four symbols. How do they refer to it? "We just call it our latest LP", he said.
"You will notice that the words 'Led Zeppelin' do not appear anywhere on the cover. All the other usual credits are missing, too. I had to talk like hell to get that done."
This was the ultimate in gimmickry, I suggested. "No," he replied, "just an attempt to let nothing get between the music and the listener."
Why is the group so successful? Said Jimmy Page: "It is because we are all individuals but we just seen to click together. We respect each other and do not mind trying each other's ideas."
The future? "We will just go on making our kind of music until we drop dead," he said, "and we hope people are going to keep on digging it." [Telegraph / Published: Feb. 27, 1972]