Jimmy Page bow inspiration was guitarist Phillips, says Shel Talmy
Producer Shel Talmy insists Jimmy Page was inspired to play guitar with a bow by guitarist Eddie Phillips rather than cellist David McCallum, despite contradicting comments from the Led Zeppelin icon.
The matter has been a subject of argument amongst fans for years, with Page having said in the past that McCallum suggested the move, and he didn’t meet Creation member Phillips until the 1990s.
But suspicions have remained that the idea came from Phillips – and Talmy asserts that his former session man and “security blanket” sometimes says so too.
He tells Finding Zoso: “Eddie Phillips absolutely was first, no question of any doubt. Jimmy stole it. I don’t know how often he’s admitted it – it probably depends on the mood he’s in – but absolutely.
“Eddie is the best unknown guitarist of all time. He was asked to join the Who and turned it down. The Creation should have been superstars – I made a deal for them to sign with Atlantic, and they broke up right before it was supposed to happen.
“But Eddie’s still out there, still playing, still having fun.”
Talmy first encountered Page as a 17-year-old and brought him in to play with the Kinks. But the producer says he’s tired of explaining the future icon played rhythm and not lead – and he thinks that’s one of the reasons Dave Davies has never got the credit he deserves as a guitarist.
“He was extremely good, his inventions of the solos and stuff,” Talmy says. “Jimmy did not play the solo on You Really Got Me, which I’ve said about five thousand times to people who insist that he did. The reason I used Jimmy is Ray didn’t really want to play guitar and sing at the same time.
“Jimmy was only on that first session with the Who of I Can’t Explain, and he played rhythm. Pete Townsend played the lead. Again I needed somebody to fill it out. I had him standing by because Pete was, at that point, still more or less a rhythm guitarist. I think he evolved into maybe the greatest rhythm guitarist of all time. He was never a great lead guitarist. So I had Jimmy standing by – he was my security blanket.”
Talmy and Page lost touch many years ago, although the producer can’t think of any reason why. He says: “I only regret that he didn’t call me when he formed Led Zeppelin. It’s a shame – I would like to have done that.”