How Jimmy Page Played Lead Guitar on The Who’s ‘Bald Headed Woman’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Jimmy Page in 1969

If you ever dig into the pre-Led Zeppelin profession of Jimmy Page, you discover his guitar handiwork on dozens of UK studio periods. Right from the beginning, producers noticed the worth in having Page on their data. In truth, his first session gig got here on the Jet Harris No. 1 hit “Diamonds.”

From there, Page actually made the rounds. You can discover him on the soundtracks to Goldfinger and the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night in addition to periods with a younger David Bowie (Manish Boys) and Van Morrison (Them) from 1964-65.

You’ll additionally discover Page backing Pete Townshend on the primary single by The Who, “I Can’t Explain.” For that ’64 session, producer Shel Talmy introduced in Page in case he wanted assist getting a strong guitar half.

Though Townshend principally dealt with the basic “I Can’t Explain” riff on his personal, Page discovered himself with extra work to do on “Bald Headed Woman,” the B-side to that single. In truth, Page performed the low-key lead half on the monitor.

Jimmy Page had the proper fuzz pedal for the lead on ‘Bald-Headed Woman’

Jimmy Page in 1969
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin speaks with the press in Copenhagen throughout the band’s tour of Denmark, March 1969. | Jorgen Angel/Redferns

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While a guitar participant on Townshend’s stage couldn’t have been thrilled to see Page at a recording session, The Who had extra urgent priorities. For starters, the band was seeking to make a reputation for itself. As for Townshend, he was seeking to get his first main composition on vinyl.

They completed each issues with “I Can’t Explain.” On the B-side, the group (together with Page) recorded a throwaway monitor titled “Bald Headed Woman.” This tune, credited to Talmy, appears to be little greater than a case of the producer seeking to earn somewhat additional money.

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But “Bald Headed Woman” stays noteworthy due to Page’s enjoying. Rather than hiding within the shadows as he did on “I Can’t Explain,” Page will be heard doing a justifiable share of labor utilizing his new fuzz pedal. On prime of the distorted intro, you hear Page’s licks towards the tip of the monitor as properly.

Who bassist John Entwistle defined how Page ended up on lead for “Bald Headed Woman.” “The fuzz guitar droning throughout is played by Jimmy Page,” Entwistle stated. “The reason being, he owned the only fuzz box in the country at that time.”

Page tends to downplay his work on The Who and Kinks data

The Who performing in 1964The Who performing in 1964
The Who performs at Shepherds Bush Bingo Hall in 1964. | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

If you ever hear Page talk about his session days, he tends to downplay his function on recordings by The Who. (“I didn’t need to be there,” he as soon as instructed Rolling Stone of the “I Can’t Explain” session.) And he stated one thing comparable when requested about Kinks periods. (No, he didn’t play on “You Really Got Me.”)

Part of it got here all the way down to the code of session gamers. But one other factor at work is the resentment of the band members. (In 2014, Dave Davies angrily refuted a documentary’s declare that Page performed on Kinks hits.) However, Page did acknowledged his enjoying on “Bald Headed Woman” in a 2020 Instagram post.

Page may play in quite a lot of kinds and do it on demand, beneath stress. So it’s not thriller why he performed on key periods of the period. And, as Entwistle famous, it didn’t harm having the most recent expertise at his disposal. Never underestimate the ability of a fuzz field in 1964 London.

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