Why Jimmy Page Started Out Playing Bass in The Yardbirds

by Jeremy Spirogis
Why Jimmy Page Started Out Playing Bass in The Yardbirds

Say the identify Jimmy Page and some photographs will pop into the minds of rock followers. Many will envision Page at work on his Gibson double-neck guitar throughout a reside rendition of “Stairway to Heaven” within the 1970s. Or possibly you’ll see Page duck-walking on stage, taking part in one other Led Zeppelin monitor.

But the possibilities of somebody picturing Page taking part in a bass guitar are slim-to-none. Outside of a uncommon 1965 solo file on which Page did all the things — bass, harmonica, and vocals along with guitar — the Zep founder and guitar large not often performed bass professionally.

So once you hear that Page joined The Yardbirds because the group’s bass participant in 1966, we don’t blame you for scratching your head. But Page, alongside along with his buddy Jeff Beck (then taking part in lead guitar in The Yardbirds) had their causes for Page’s odd instrument task.

Jimmy Page turned down the Yardbirds guitar gig on 2 events

“The Yardbirds” pose for a portrait after their present in Los Angeles in September 1966. (L-R) Chris Dreja, Keith Relf, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jim McCarty | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The first query many individuals have about Page and The Yardbirds is the plain one: Why didn’t they ask him to play guitar within the band? And the reply is equally easy: They did, on two separate events. The first time got here when Eric Clapton was nonetheless taking part in lead within the band.

In a 1977 Trouser Press interview, Page described the circumstances of the preliminary Yardbirds supply. “The very first time … [Yardbirds manager] Giorgio Gomelsky said that Eric was going to have a ‘holiday,’ and I could step in and replace him,” Page stated. That didn’t sit proper with him.

“The way he put it to me, it just seemed really distasteful and I refused,” Page stated. “Eric had been a friend of mine and I couldn’t possibly be party to that.” When Clapton left the group in 1965, The Yardbirds once more turned to Page, who turned them down a second time.

That’s when he really useful his pal Beck for the lead-guitar spot, and after The Yardbirds agreed everybody appeared blissful. However, following a 1966 gig that Page attended, the band began splintering aside.

Page lastly joined The Yardbirds when the bassist give up abruptly

Jimmy Page and Keith Relf of the rock band “The Yardbirds” carry out onstage on August 10, 1966 in Michigan. | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Page obtained his third supply to affix The Yardbirds in 1966. Following a raucous Oxford gig that summer season, Paul Samwell-Smith introduced he was quitting the band, successfully instantly. Page, who’d gone with Beck to look at the group play that evening, noticed it occur.

On the way in which house, Beck requested if he’d lastly be a part of and take Samwell-Smith’s place till they may discover one other bassist. Page agreed, considering he’d sit in till they discovered somebody to play the instrument. However, Beck had different motives.

“Jimmy wasn’t a bass player,” Beck advised Brad Tolinski within the Page biography, Light and Shade. “But the only way I could get him involved was by insisting that it would be okay for him to take over on bass in order for the band to continue. Gradually — within a week, I think — we were talking about doing dueling guitar leads.”

To make that occur, they switched rhythm-guitarist Chris Dreja to bass and unleashed Page and Beck because the band’s leads. Later in ’66, throughout a grueling American tour, Beck left the group, giving Page an sudden opening as the important thing determine in The Yardbirds. From there, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than he based Led Zeppelin from the stays of The Yardbirds.

Also see: Why Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page Had a Falling-Out within the 1960s

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