Led Zep’s bad reviews made them more determined
Focus: JImmy Page
Jimmy Page says negative press reviews of Led Zeppelin’s work felt like “acid poured on us” – but it just made them more determined to succeed.
The band are now icons of the rock world, but that wasn’t always the case. The guitarist remembers the days when much of their output was panned by critics.
He tells Rolling Stone: “There was a certain amount of acid poured on us. I could see it as venomous then.
“How I see it now? It went over their heads. Each album was so different to the others. After Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II you get III. ‘What’s this about – acoustic guitars?’
“There were crazy conclusions: ‘They’re doing a Crosby, Stills and Nash.’ That’s because your ears weren’t open to the first album, when there was quite a bit of acoustic guitar too.”
But Page insists the reviews didn’t get him angry. “It made me more determined,” he says. “I knew what we had. Everybody knew how good we were.
“And we were strict in that if we were writing something and it sounded like something else we’d done, we’d immediately drop it. There was one tipping of the hat – Tea for One, which was like Since I’ve Been Loving You. That was intentional, to apply a different feel to that blues.”
Page wanted Led Zep to continue after their 2007 reunion show, but singer Robert Plant wanted to return to his solo career. The guitarist, along with John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham, auditioned a number of singers including Steven Tyler and Myles Kennedy. But Page says nothing was quite right.
“It sounded premature,” he reflects. “Various people thought we should go on tour. I thought we needed a good, credible album – not do something that sounded like we were trying to milk the O2.”
Page is currently remastering Led Zep’s catalogue. It’s believed a large-scale re-release campaign will take place next year.