Top 20 Jimmy Page Guitar Solos

Jimmy Page Guitar Solos

Photo Credit : By Andrew Smith [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There have been many articles on the mystique and overwhelming greatness that is Led Zeppelin; there can simply never be enough journalistic opines in commemoration of their widespread immanence, especially here at ClassicRockHistory. This think piece is dedicated solely to the axe-slaying entity who made his mark in a highly influential blues band, The Yardbirds, before creating a continuation of that legacy in the refined form of Led Zeppelin. Their music was an extension of each member’s conflicting ideas and inimitable skill in their respected field; without one, the others cease to subsist. That’s the case with Jimmy Page: he was the engineer who laid the foundation for each composition. His powerful and stentorian guitar techniques were the hallmark of all things rock and roll; it’s simply ignorant not to acknowledge the widespread impact his playing has had on not only classic rock and heavy metal, but music, period.

Page began his journey early on at the age of 13, teaching himself how to play by listening to the records of his favorite bands and musicians; his early influences were Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore, James Burton, Scottish folk music and Bert Jansch, and blues musicians Elmore James ad B.B. King. Before he knew it, he was off using his skill as a well established session musician, working with everybody from the Who, The Kinks, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, and Al Stewart, all the way to Marianne Faithful and Joe Cocker. Then of course the Yardbirds shook things up for him when he replaced Eric Clapton as guitarist. Things didn’t work out too well due to personal disputes involving the state of the band’s success, so they all called it quits, which ultimately lead to Page meeting Plant and Bonham; he was already good friends with Jones due to playing together during their stint as session musicians. No need to write any more from there: Their inseparable bond as four insanely proficient human beings led to the time-honored legacy of Led Zeppelin.

His post-Zeppelin work consisted of the rhythm and blues pet project of Plant’s, the Honeydrippers, music composition for the Death Wish film sequels, a solo album, and another brief band formation, the Firm, with singer Paul Rodgers. Since then, Page has been living a peaceful life as one of the greatest, most influential, and most popular guitarist’s in the world. So for this list, we’ll be honoring his insurmountable prowess by compiling a list of some his greatest guitar solos; a small helping of his finest moments to satisfy the palate of eager listeners and fanatics alike.

 

20.) Baby Come Back-Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends:

Opening up our Top 20 Jimmy Page Guitar Solos list is something both rare and very special. In 1970, Page, along with Bonham, Jeff Beck, and Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience teamed up to be a part of a record with singer Screaming Lord Sutch; quite a line up, right? It was really a raw, fun, and extremely heavy effort that feels almost like a poor man’s Led Zeppelin; that’s what makes this virtually unheard of album so intriguing. Here Jimmy pulls out some of his signature licks with his distinguishable tone to properly punctuate this Jim Morrison-esque tune.

19.) What Is and What Should Never Be – Led Zeppelin II

Led Zeppelin’s self-titled sophomore record, commonly known as Led Zeppelin II, was the epitome of the band’s blues roots bundled up in raging distortion. What Is and What Should Never Be is one of the more laid back tracks from the album, offering up a quiet-to-loud rhythm, along with a delicate slide guitar solo that almost sings to the listener’s ears before rattling said ears with quite a manic peak.

18.) In My Time of Dying – Physical Graffiti

When it comes to blues slide guitar, this is Page at his most stunning; he brings straight fire to this already volcanic epic. His licks are nasty, tasty, razor-sharp, and absolutely angry; the anticipation of his solos each listen never ceases to grow tiresome, and are sure to put one in an extremely hyped state of mind. Physical Graffiti is one of our favorite Led Zeppelin albums of all time and a magnificent host to some of the best Jimmy Page Guitar Solos in the Led Zeppelin Catalog.

 17.) Celebration Day – Led Zeppelin III

This is one of Led Zeppelin’s most inspirational songs just because it has such a wonderful sound and a chorus that is sure to make one chant it loudly every time they hear it. But the heart of the song lies in Page’s solos; the middle section boasts a feeling of soaring virility, while the solo towards the end cleans up the song with an almost foot-tapping quality to it. But the real reason it should be on this list is mainly because of the improvised solo he rips on stage on their live album and film of the same name, The Song Remains the Same.

 16.) Wailing Sounds – Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends

This opening cut from the album not only has a brief but crazy solo, but also a vicious guitar riff that sets the mood for the entirety of the record. Most of you would probably gather up the basic consensus that Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends was just trying to emulate the style and essence of Led Zeppelin’s first two albums, which was around the time this album dropped, but that’s essentially due to Page and Bonham being omnipresent here. It’s kind of hard forLed Zeppelin NOT to creep up on this kind of project. It’s still a great, obscure psych-rock record and a fascinating presentation of some of the best Jimmy Page Guitar Solos.

 15.) Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin IV

You just can’t write an article about the best Jimmy Page Guitar Solos without mentioning Led Zeppelin’s classic Rock and Roll. This banging hard rock anthem was close to bring used for the classic 1993 film, Dazed and Confused, but due to the band being strict on the use of their music in other forms of media, they declined; it was hard enough being able to use their song title for the film! All of that aside, Rock and Roll is a stone-cold classic with one of Page’s most stoic solos to ever hit the wax of an LP.

14.) White Summer/Black Mountain Side/Little Games -Various Live Performances

These separate instrumental pieces are here simply because they’re structurally amazing and quite hypnotic. Both compositions were arranged in a modal tuning called DADGAD, which was favored by most Celtic folk musicians, and has a droning tonality similar to the sitar; that’s why it’s typically referred to as the sitar tuning. Page liked to play these two together live as a ten minute medley, with much of it being improvised. Their melodies tap into the worldly qualities of Arabic, Indian, and Irish, and showed that Jimmy Page Guitar Solos were in a galaxy all their own.

13.) Achilles Last Stand – Presence

This guitar solo makes its grand entrance about halfway into this 11 minute beauty, blowing every expectation one might have had about this song right out of the water with a series of notes doused in a frantic fit of sloppy emotion that nobody other than Page could ever pull of so wonderfully; he makes the guitar cry without doing much.

12.) Ten Years Gone – Physical Graffiti

The spontaneous dexterity of Page is absent here. Instead he shows grace and reticence with this swirling guitar solo that turns this woefully stunning song on its head just for a moment; bringing out an intimate side of his, without renouncing his archetypal embellishments.

11.) No Quarter – Houses of the Holy

This gloomy and memorizing organ-based song couldn’t have been any more perfect without Page and his unassailable runs that paint a surreal portrait, while at the same time creating an edgy atmosphere of cannonball proportions. And it’s mainly his extended performance on The Song Remains the Same that properly punctuates those elements; those exotic licks and swagger-inducing passages he formulates on the fly elevates that live show to transcendental enlightenment.

10.) Bring It Back Home – Led Zeppelin II

Here’s another live performance that showcases Page’s ability to carry on a prolonged jam with meticulous ease. He gets down and dirty with his sweet mixture of the blues and his signature idiosyncrasies that helps the listener immediately identify that it’s Page playing; those screeching bends and jovial licks he sings each song with are what makes his solos a singular trademark.

9.) Bron-Ya-Aur – Physical Graffiti

Here’s another instrumental that just had to find its way on this list. If there’s one thing that should be noted about Page, it’s that he almost never played in the same tuning; he loved experimenting with different sounds. This lovely acoustic piece was played in an open C tuning, with its song title derived from the cottage Plant’s parents own in a village in Wales. This is probably Page’s most complex composition.

8.) Since I’ve Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin III

This exhausting blues number is home to some of Page’s most delicious harmonies; he gets down right filthy on this track. His smooth, almost sensual attitude that he conveys in the beginning is but a slow burning build up to the kind of howling brilliance he unleashes midway through the song; he really exudes the unapologetic grit of the Blues here. His solos on his How the West Was Won live performance are also significant highlights.

7.) Heartbreaker – Led Zeppelin II

If there’s one attribute about Page that must be praised, it’s his gratuitously sloppy playing style; it’s a quirk that really showed his humanity as a premier guitar god. This raunchy blues rock tune embodied the very definition of slop, but that’s what makes it one of his best known solos; he goes off the walls in the studio version, and one could definitely tell it was a spur of the moment solo, because Page confirmed that it was just that. He went back into the studio and recorded the solo on a different track; that’s why that section sounds out-of-place. Of course the live versions of his solos are incredible, because he’d always incorporate Bach’s Bourrée in E minor towards the end. This was the solo that inspired the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai too.

6.) Black Dog – Led Zeppelin IV

Nothing can top this heavy-hitting solo; it’s what puts Black Dog on the classic rock apex that it deserves. It comes out of nowhere towards the end of the song like a semi truck, never letting up even after it slowly fades out. What more can be said about it? The song opened up the most famous Led Zeppelin album of all time. Its the one songs that does not sound right unless its Led Zeppelin performing it. No one can cover this one.

5.) Smile On You – Little Games

This guitar solo deserves to be in the top 5 simply for being the earliest known example of Page’s rapid-fire grit and technical ingenuity. Little Games was the final Yardbirds record before they were no more, and Page perfectly demonstrates on the album, with this song in particular, just what kind of guitar menace he was before Zeppelin cemented his legacy.

4.)Dazed and Confused-Led Zeppelin I

The most remarkable thing about this song and his solo is the fact that he used a violin bow to play it with. His ideas were so outlandish that they worked brilliantly. This monster of a solo is one for the ages, and it’s so heart-stopping on the record version that it’s actually mind-boggling that this was actually recorded in 1969. His live improvisation of the solo is much more melodic but still great just the same. The best Jimmy Page Guitar Solos also incorporated some of the most original thought in classic rock history.

3.) Whole Lotta Love-Led Zeppelin II

Again, this goes back to what I said above: How in the world was this song recorded in 1969? The salacious and bluesy velocity displayed here is what made Led Zeppelin the greatest rock act of their time. Page’s guitar solo, while extremely short, manages to leave a lasting impression that still sounds organic decades later. Is there any guitar riff more recognizable in rock and roll history than “Whole Lotta Love’s,” opening riff? There are some great ones, but “Whole Lotta Love,” simply defines the term “Classic Rock.”

2.) Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin IV

Everybody was expecting this one, I’m sure. It’s the Jimmy Page guitar solo that’s banned from every music shop, and the one that has inspired millions of young guitarists. It was said that Jimmy Page was having a hard time coming up with the right solo in the studio, and after many failed attempts, he finally gave it one last shot; and let’s just say the finishing product was the right take. It should be noted that this solo was also improvised on the spot; how amazing is that? One of the greatest Jimmy Page Guitar Solos ever.

1.) Good Times Bad Times – Led Zeppelin I

You’re all probably perplexed on why we decided to put this song at number one instead of Stairway to Heaven. Well we are going to argue its because this was the very first song on their very first album that introduced the world to Led Zeppelin. In the end  choosing the Best Jimmy Page Guitar Solo is as subjective as it gets.It also can become an almost impossible task after listening to solo after solo and never getting tired or bored by anything that Jimmy Page played. However, on “Good Times Bad Times,” every ounce of his technical ability showed on this track, and he let it be known that he wasn’t going to fade into the distance like most of the pop acts did during that era. “Good Times Bad Times,” was Jimmy Page grabbing the world by the throat, reassuring them that his indubitable adroitness as a guitar paragon was just the beginning.

 

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