That Was Then...
Historic pix of Jimmy Page and Marc Bolan, plus an interesting guitar or three.
Welcome to the Making Music ARCHIVES Department, where we have piles and piles of old pictures and useless information about every single musican who's ever played a note. IT'S TRUE. What's more, we're going to share them with you - little by little, bit by bit. In this first helping, a couple of ancient GUITARISTS show off their (ahem) axes.
This is guitarist Jimmy Page in 1965, ages before he joined Led Zeppelin, about a year before he joined the Yardbirds, and shortly after he'd released his spectacularly unsuccessful solo single 'She Just Satisfies'. At this time the 21-year-old Page was living in Epsom and earning good money doing as many as 10 sessions a week in central London studios, plucking for everyone from Van Morrison ('Baby Please Don't Go') to Burt Bacharach (no idea).
The rather tasteful guitar is Jimmy's Les Paul Custom 'Black Beauty', which he'd traded for an orange Gretsch Chet Atkins in 1962. The Custom was introduced in 1954, but the earliest models had two single coil pickups. Page's Les Paul was made between late 1957 and 1961. There's a three-way switch on it, hard to see in the picture, which selected front pickup, middle and back pickup, or back pickup, and a more obvious Bigsby wang bar.
Jimmy used the guitar in the studio when he joined the Yardbirds in 1966, but tended to use a Telecaster on stage; and while the double-neck Gibson became Page's best known stage guitar with Led Zeppelin, the Black Beauty was still on hand for studio duties. If only it knew what it was in for back in 1965...
This, however, is Marc Bolan sitting in his London office in 1972 surrounded by a few of his choicest guitars. And what a successful boy he was then: 'Metal Guru' had just become his fourth number one single (the others being 'Hot Love', 'Get It On' and 'Telegram Sam'). And he's hardly even smiling. There's no pleasing some people.
But what's he got stacked up in this historic pic? Left to right there's a 1958 Strat, an Epiphone acoustic, a late 1950s Les Paul Special, a late 1960s Flying V reissue, a Tony Zemaitis metal-topped guitar, an early 1960s Gibson SG Special, and an Aria acoustic. And still he insisted on putting them all through a fuzz box.
At this time T.Rex were gigging widely throughout Europe, using a five-ton Avis truck (for the equipment, not the group). Marc's backline back in '72 consisted of two H/H amps driving a custom-built cabinet, two spare Vamp amps and a Vox Supreme combo. Wonder where all the guitars went?
So That Was Then. Enjoy it? Course you did. Now... how would you like to see your FAVOURITE MUSICIAN (dead or alive) featured right here in an historic picture? Write in your suggestions to That Was Then, Archives Department, Making Music editoral address. We'll do the rest.
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