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Gonna play that guitar any-old-how
January 29, 2011 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Jimmy Page, age 14, plays skiffle on BBC TV in 1957.
posted by Crane Shot (45 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Check it out, he's so high. On life.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:45 AM on January 29, 2011


There were clips of this featured in the movie It Might Get Loud. Which is streaming on Netflix right now...
posted by cyphill at 11:47 AM on January 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd recognize those glowing red eyes anywhere.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2011


Man, that host is just awful.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, that's how Spinal Tap got started too!
posted by bpm140 at 11:53 AM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Worth watching to the end for the Theramin part.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:58 AM on January 29, 2011


Maybe Page was doing biological research in Crowley's old house.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 PM on January 29, 2011


Can't see this lad coming to much. Mind, at least he's got a proper haircut.
The presenter is Sir Huw Wheldon, BBC bigwig.
posted by Abiezer at 12:16 PM on January 29, 2011


"Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can play a little guitar."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:25 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seeing him sing reminded me of something I was wondering about the other day...

On the bootleg recordings of Led Zeppelin's September 29, 1971 Osaka concert, the microphones pick up Bonham telling Plant that his (Bonham's) legs are tired. But he's not addressing the crowd directly.

Are there any known instances of a Led Zeppelin member other than Plant singing to or otherwise addressing the audience from the stage?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:48 PM on January 29, 2011


Jimmy Page is one of the few people in the world who have earned the right own a double neck guitar.
posted by notion at 12:55 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Check it out, he's so high. On life.

Worth noting because I read it somewhere recently (on the internet so it must be true). Young Jimmy Page was into the "occult" by the time he was 12, so don't be deceived by appearances, what we have here is a Junior Worshiper Of Satin and as such I'm recommending that this thread be closed immediately.
posted by philip-random at 12:59 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jimmy Page is one of the few people in the world who have earned the right own a double neck guitar.

Earning it.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:11 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


The documentary mentioned above explains how that double-necked guitar came to be: it was necessary so Page could play "Stairway to Heaven" live. Evidently, when they recorded it, no one thought about the difficulty of transitioning live from the intro into the first verse. (Or wherever that happens in the song. It's been a blessedly long time since I've listened to it.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:15 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously.
posted by chavenet at 1:18 PM on January 29, 2011


Yeah, but did he ever play skiffle in Schiphol?
posted by gurple at 1:25 PM on January 29, 2011


I was pretty impressed/shocked that the bass was hand-made. Then I got wondering what Skiffle was. I imagine I'd know the term if I was British.

Of note:
A large number of British musicians began their careers playing skiffle in this period and some became leading figures in their respective fields. These included leading Northern Irish musician Van Morrison, British blues pioneer Alexis Korner as well as Ronnie Wood, Alex Harvey and Mick Jagger; folk musicians Martin Carthy, John Renbourn and Ashley Hutchings; rock musicians Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Robin Trower and David Gilmour; and popular beat music successes Graham Nash and Alan Clarke of The Hollies.[8] Most notably The Beatles evolved from John Lennon's skiffle group The Quarrymen.[9]

But more importantly skiffle encouraged creation of music, in every way possible. And made music accessible (both to the budding musicians as well as the folks able to see live local music).
posted by el io at 1:26 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, that host is just awful.

Huw Wheldon set up the BBC's first major arts programme, Monitor, interviewed everyone he was interested in interviewing, and then stopped doing it.

American TV could learn a lot from Sir Huw about avoiding jumping the shark.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:27 PM on January 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Texykanna", heh, heh.

Civil_Disobedient, remind me who that quote refers to.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:28 PM on January 29, 2011


You can just see the cigarette dangling from his sneer, can't you? Awesome.
posted by scalefree at 1:52 PM on January 29, 2011


It's hard to tell with youtube image sync, but it does seem to be recorded live, not over-dubbed, despite no presence of cables or mics. I'm guessing that when James keeps glancing up and to his left, he's looking at a giant furry boom mic just out of the frame.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:52 PM on January 29, 2011


Mental Wimp - Fred Astaire
posted by Peach at 1:57 PM on January 29, 2011


Dazed and Confused with the Yardbirds in 1968. That singer, Keith Relf, died from electrocution using an improperly wired guitar. (Some idiots used to build guitar amps with the AC power wired hot to ground through a capacitor, in an attempt to reduce hum. If that cap leaks, the guitar is hot to anything else that is grounded, like a mic stand.)

Here's a quick history on Jimmy Page's famous "Dragon" Telecaster.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:09 PM on January 29, 2011


what we have here is a Junior Worshiper Of Satin

No, that would be a fetish.
posted by sourwookie at 2:22 PM on January 29, 2011


Zeppelin sucks. That is all.
posted by koeselitz at 3:14 PM on January 29, 2011


Zeppelin sucks. That is all.

What do they suck at?
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2011


Zeppelin sucks. That is all.

No, that is not "all."

Led Zeppelin only sucks if you don't really give a rat's ass about music or if you're determined to have twee little contained tastes. I sometimes find myself sick of Led Zep, or thinking of them as a net negative for music as a whole, but at their peak they were mighty, just massive — but also funny and nuanced. Great band.
posted by argybarg at 3:29 PM on January 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


What do they suck at?

Bowling.
posted by empath at 3:32 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dazed and Confused yt with the Yardbirds in 1968. That singer, Keith Relf, died from electrocution using an improperly wired guitar. (Some idiots used to build guitar amps with the AC power wired hot to ground through a capacitor, in an attempt to reduce hum. If that cap leaks, the guitar is hot to anything else that is grounded, like a mic stand.)

Dazed and Confused was written by Jake Holmes, who is also responsible for the "Be All That You Can Be" US Army recruitment jingle.

Les Harvey was performing with the band Stone The Crows when he was electrocuted onstage by an improperly grounded microphone. Stone the Crows featured Maggie Bell, a Janis Joplin-inspired vocalist
posted by squalor at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2011


What do they suck at?

Bowling.


is that why Bonham wore that dumb bowler's hat. To overcompensate?
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:43 PM on January 29, 2011


I believe that is Thomas Dolby playing next to him, even though he was born a year after this tv appearance. Science!
posted by orme at 4:12 PM on January 29, 2011



Man, that host is just awful.


Television was in its infancy. If he's awful, how far can we be said to have progressed?
posted by IndigoJones at 4:40 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are there any known instances of a Led Zeppelin member other than Plant singing to or otherwise addressing the audience from the stage?

I saw them in '77 (Christ, I'm old). In that era, young stupids often threw fireworks during arena shows. That's right, firecrackers and cheap smoke bombs inside an arena. Anyway, during the acoustic set, a smoke bomb bounced onstage. Plant made a crack about "trying to make us look like a cheap Alice Cooper." Bonham grabbed a mike on the floor and growled something about what he would personally do to the next person who threw anything near the stage. At this point, those who were possessing the fireworks probably pissed themselves and ruined their Black Cats because the only fireworks thereafter came from a Gibson Les Paul. And a certain doubleneck.
posted by Ber at 5:44 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this is an excerpt from All Your Own, a children's television programme. This clip is from 1957.

The BBC started broadcasting television in 1936 and stopped in 1939. Transmissions resumed in 1946. When Weldon made this programme, the BBC had precisely 14 years of experience of making TV at all, let alone children's TV.

Compare this video of Wizz Jones in 1960.

Of course it comes across as patronising now, but for 1957, Weldon is being spectacularly nice.
posted by motty at 6:32 PM on January 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I always wondered how Led Zepplin would've turned out if they shopped around for a more low key singer than wailin' Plant. Perhaps a spaced cowboy from America who injected a healthy dose of the experimental into their solid riffing. In an alternate universe, they gave Can a run for their money.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:40 PM on January 29, 2011


LED ZEPPELIN WAS ROBBED!
posted by clavdivs at 6:59 PM on January 29, 2011


Are there any known instances of a Led Zeppelin member other than Plant singing to or otherwise addressing the audience from the stage?

I saw them in '77 in Oakland. Being short and (back then) cute as a bug, I was able to weasel my way all the way up front. About halfway through the concert Page, who had been sucking on the neck of a fifth of Jack Daniels, grabbed a mike and said something to the effect of, "Argghie wabba buddle." Plant then reached over and switched off the mike so we'll never know what the rest of Page's message might have been.

I also have a few dozen bootleg concert recordings of theirs on LP. Most are of terrible sound quality (my favorite has someone bellowing "Free Bird! Play Free Bird!" from halfway through the show to the end) and IIRC, there's frequent Bonham comments to the audience. Nothing from JPJs, though.
posted by jamaro at 9:18 PM on January 29, 2011 [4 favorites]



I always wondered how Led Zepplin would've turned out if they shopped around for a more low key singer than wailin' Plant


Terry Reid was originally asked to do vocals. That would have been much different. Probably not as successful.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:24 AM on January 30, 2011


Zeppelin were very experimental in their day, especially for such a huge, well-known act. They brought a lot of (at the time) unusual modal and structural experimentation to audiences who listened to primarily blues-based rock music.

They are very much "musicians' musicians"; a lot of the music they play is technically complex and subtle, but seems like effortless riffing to non-musicians. The experimentation is obscured by their rock-god auras. (Deliberately - they help to create and define the very notion of "rock gods" - so that itself could be seen as a form of experimentation.)

Jimmy Page is also well known amongst musicians because of his innovation and mastery of recording and mixing techniques. He is credited with inventing the "reverse echo" effect and dual-distance-miking.
posted by jet_manifesto at 7:35 AM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plant tried out for The Who.
posted by Trochanter at 9:40 AM on January 30, 2011


Mental Wimp - Fred Astaire

Right! "Can dance a little" instead of "Can play a little guitar". I thought I recognized it, but couldn't quite place it.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:24 PM on January 30, 2011


Plant tried out for The Who.

I wonder when? Daltrey is the founder of The Who, they had already landed their first recording contract and released My Generation in 1965. At that time, a 17 year old Plant was working odd jobs and singing in a bunch of largely unremembered bar bands. He hooked up with Bonham in '66, formed Band of Joy in '67, was recruited by Page in '68, with the first two LZ albums released in '69. During the same time period, The Who were busy releasing an album nearly every year: A Quick One ('66), The Who Sell Out ('67), Tommy ('69).
posted by jamaro at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2011


Zeppelin were very experimental in their day, especially for such a huge, well-known act.

I dropped this little nugget into the recent prog-rock thread, just in case anyone was under the impression that Led Zep couldn't progress with as much authority as they could rock. In terms of ranking them on the RAWK pantheon, I honestly can't see anyone above them. Maybe Jimi Hendrix.
posted by philip-random at 12:53 PM on January 30, 2011



I honestly can't see anyone above them. Maybe Jimi Hendrix.


I think Zep wins the title. Hendrix wasn't around long enough and even if he had been, he was moving toward the serious jazz realms, not more rock godliness. Zeppelin was it. Unsurpassed in power and mythology.

That live Achilles Last Stand is interesting.
(I wish Page's live guitar work wasn't so sloppy most of the time.)
posted by Liquidwolf at 5:18 PM on January 30, 2011


Sorry, Plant just said the word "baby" far too many times for Led Zepplin to be truly transcendent.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:27 PM on January 30, 2011


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