A Page turner for music lovers

Guitarist Jimmy Page as a young boy. Photo: PA Photo/Genesis Publications/Dennis Coffin.
Guitarist Jimmy Page as a young boy. Photo: PA Photo/Genesis Publications/Dennis Coffin.

London’s Gore Hotel is a fitting place to meet Jimmy Page.

It was once, after all, the capital’s wildest hang-out, famed for its ‘anything goes’ celebrity gatherings and scene of The Rolling Stones’ infamous launch party for their Beggars Banquet album in 1968.

Now, there’s an air of old-fashioned establishment about the place, and the guests are often the very same people who once stayed up all night here partying. The grand decoration and artwork adorning almost every mahogany-lined wall couldn’t be from any other city in the world.

If only those walls could talk, the stories they might tell...

Until they spill forth those secrets, there’s always Jimmy Page’s self-titled photographic autobiography. With more than 600 images researched and curated by the Led Zeppelin guitarist himself, it’s as accurate a depiction of life inside one the biggest bands of all time as you’re likely to get.

“It’s from a whole career, from me as a choirboy right through to the Led Zeppelin reunion show at the O2 and beyond,” he said.

It is a staggeringly detailed piece of work, as intricate and carefully thought out as one of his famous guitar solos, with something for everyone, whether die-hard Zeppelin fan, casual observer, Sixties historian or fashion enthusiast.

“You can really see the decades whooshing by,” says Page, “and the photos I love best are the ones that really capture the time.

“Take Gered Mankovitz’s photos of The Yardbirds. You can’t get better, they’re just superb,” he says. “They were the first shots we had done after I’d joined and they’re so iconic. You know it’s the 1960s, you don’t even need to know who the people are, you just know it’s a band in the mid-Sixties. The composition is absolutely perfect.”