ONE OF THE MANY tracks cut by Jimmy Page in his pre-Led Zeppelin days as a session man has surfaced on a television trailer for the BBC’s weather forecast. The track, I’ve Got Everything You Need Babe by cult British beat combo The Fenmen was released on the Decca label in 1965 following the band’s split with frontman Bern Elliott, but it did not replicate the success of earlier singles, Money and New Orleans.
Page, who estimates he recorded three sessions per day in 1964 and 1965, identified his presence on the track when he saw the trailer on television.
“I heard the track the other day while I was watching TV,” he tells MOJO magazine. “I thought, ‘Oh. That sound familiar.’ Then, all of a sudden there’s a solo that comes in and I go, ‘That is me!’ It’s something that I would have forgotten about had I not heard it again. In fact, if they hadn’t left the solo on the trailer, I may not have known I’d even played on that track.”
Page is one of 20 visionary musicians who re-live the year they turned 20 in MOJO’s 20th anniversary issue. In Page’s case, the year is 1964 – a pivotal 12-month period where, as he puts it, "I went full-on into session work.”
In a revelatory interview Page recalls playing on records by artists as diverse as The Kinks, The Who and Petula Clark.
“I did so many sessions and not all of them were big. But I was on all of those big sessions with Tony Hatch and I did a string of records with Petula Clark that did really well. You know what? I think I might even have been on a Benny Hill track, that’s how varied things were!” he laughs, recalling endeavours that took place prior to his joining The Yardbirds.
“You know what? I think I might even have been on a Benny Hill track.”
Page turned down the first invitation to join that band, suggesting his friend Jeff Beck as the replacement for the departing Eric Clapton.
“I knew Eric but I didn’t want to get involved in the politics of it all. [Manager] Giorgio Gomelsky asked me but I suggested Jeff instead,” admits Jimmy. “I knew Jeff from the time before any of us were in any proper bands and we were still making homemade guitars and I thought he’d be great in that band.”
Page would eventually join The Yardbirds in the summer of ’66 before forming Led Zeppelin in 1968. He still credits his days as London’s most in-demand session player with a lasting impact on his career as a guitarist and producer.
“I didn’t realize how much I learnt at the time. But when I came out of the session work, I was raring to go and that bow was out in a fraction!”
Read the full interview with Jimmy Page in MOJO’s 20th Anniversary Issue, on sale on October 29. The issue features exclusive cover artwork hand-drawn by Kate Bush and features a 20 From 20 CD that features tracks by Björk, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, John Grant, The Black Keys and more.