Led Zeppelin was one of the most influential bands of the Seventies, to a great extent due to the passion and care with which their guitarist, Jimmy Page, imprinted in each composition process.
Jimmy Page and the art of musical composition /
Each song is a different place, which we reach in a different way each time. In the process of Jimmy Page’s musical composition, the character of each place he wants to lead the listener to is very different to all others —or at least, that is the ideal of the different emotional states which Led Zeppelin’s music takes us to.
From the orchestral overture from “The Rain Song”, to the Celtic imagery from “Stairway to Heaven” and passing by the rapid attacks from “Rock and Roll”, each of Zeppelin’s pieces is a small architecture, a house in the woods, an invocation for rain, a frenetic tribal dance, and so on, because as Page used to say “Each one has its own character; musically as much as lyrically”, because each song is created “was crafted in such a way that the music was really of paramount importance to setting the scene”.
As Page asserts in an interview with Daniel Rachel, the titles were the best clue: a map of the place where he occasionally wanted to musically take the other members of Zeppelin, as well as serving at times as reminders of the process itself. “The Song Remains the Same”, which they use to open the Houses of Holy album, was at first mean to be the overture that would trigger “leading into an orchestral part for ‘The Rain Song’”, but during those rehearsals Robert Plant began singing before he was supposed, which is why they were able to play with the idea and develop it until it became a song that “worked out really well as it was”, forming a separate piece.
Page used to work on small musical ideas when she was in the studio, so that when the rest of the band came together he would “think, ‘Oh, I know what I’m going to put in this,’ if you hadn’t already put it together. Some things, I had them really mapped out, and other things—this is as the group goes on—would be on the spot. “Ramble On” and “What Is And What Should Never Be”: I had those structures complete”, when he presented them to the group.
However, Page would not trust himself when it came to writing lyrics, which is why he trusted “whoever [he] was going to be working with, to come up with lyrics” since he felt that his “lyrics weren’t necessarily good enough. Maybe they were in certain cases, but I preferred that very close working relationship with whoever was singing, whether it was Robert Plant, Paul Rodgers or David Coverdale.”
Although the lyrics (and in Led Zeppelin’s case, Robert Plant’s vocals) played a key role in the song, Page preferred that “The starting point would always be coming from the music, whether I had written that acoustically or electrically.”
Jimmy Page has influenced our understand of rock, and in the It Might Get Loud (2008) documentary the rock star features in the film alongside Jack White from the White Stripes and The Edge from U2, in a fascinating journey over their musical influences, the technique that best enables them to express themselves musically and the role played by guitars in their lives.Tagged: rock, music, musicians, Warriors & Rebels, Jimmy Page