Led Zeppelin’s “How The West Was Won” is surprisingly good – even given the rather high expectations caused by the band being, well, Led Zeppelin.
Ignore all the guff about how Jimmy Page’s playing is often sloppy live – heck, it was sloppy in the studio – but his playing has always been primal, and the sloppiness only makes his actual skill more surprising.
And the man has mad skills.
Not just skills – but mad skills.
Look, I pay homage to a lot of guitarists – Hendrix, David Gilmour, Alex Lifeson, and Steve Howe, in particular.
But in my personal set of influential guitarists, the guys who really turn my crank as guitarists, you might say, one man stands above them all.
Yeah, Jimmy Page. Fearless, primal. The primal aspect makes you think he doesn’t have the skills he possesses – you think, “Oh, he’s so raw!” and forget that he’s likely to break out Bolero or In the Hall of the Mountain King on you.
And when he does: he’s going to play them well.
The thing about Page that’s always startling: in the studio, he had this guitar army in mind, where a single song might have six, seven, eight guitars working together, off and on, to create a song’s dynamic.
On stage, he couldn’t really do that – one guitarist, you know, with only one back and two arms.
But the music doesn’t suffer – it’s still awesome.
Being able to go back and forth like that is a testament to Page’s consummate skill. He’s unbelievable.
And that doesn’t even touch the rest of the band – which itself was pretty good. Sure, Rush may have the best rhythm section in the free world, but they’re following the model set by Zeppelin.