That Was Then...
Historic and faintly embarrassing pix of Jeff Beck and John Paul Jones. Another exclusive!
Each month TWT uncovers the sordid history of a couple of Big Stars through embarrassing historic pix and revealing words. Our Archives Dept keep coming up with piles of old sepia prints of every musician who's ever wondered what happens after the third chord — any suggestions for future victims, you lot!
Jeff Beck (22) rehearses his new group in January 1967 at Studio 19 in central London (£1.25 an hour, or £1 5s 0d as it was known then). Jeffrey had left the Yardbirds late the previous year and had started to fiddle with the beginnings of the Jeff Beck Group. With his back to us is Ron Wood (then a bassist; now a Stone) and we reckon the vibrant looking drummer is Viv Prince (though on the first LP, "Truth", which came out the following year, Beck used Mick Waller, Aynsley Dunbar and Keith Moon). Jeff is significantly fretting an Eb on the A-string of his lovely new Gibson Les Paul, which he moved to after dumping his Fender Esquire at the same time as the Yardbirds. It's the same Les Paul that he used for "Truth", and then picked up years later (after his lengthy Strat period) to make the classic "Blow By Blow" LP. The big Vox amp behind Beck is probably Ron Wood's; the guitarist seems to be going through a smaller Vox head on the floor on the left. Rod Stewart was probably at a football match.
This is 20-year-old John Paul Jones in early 1966, when he was a busy session man and had just been signed as 'musical director' to pop producer Mickie Most. One of his early and enviable tasks in this role was to arrange and play bass on most of the Herman's Hermits records, during the making of which he met session guitarist and fellow-Zeppelin-person-to-be Jimmy Page (see last month's That Was Then). If you think Herman's records must have been bad ('No Milk Today' is the worst we can think of) then how do you think John got through sessions for Kathy Kirby, Paul and Barry Ryan, Shirley Bassey, and Lulu? No doubt by thinking of the session fees. John's first bass guitar had been a Dallas Tuxedo, whatever that was, but in our picture he's grappling with a Burns Split Sound six-string bass, a three-pickup model made between 1962 and 1964, selling originally at £120, and complete with obvious wang bar. Did he still have it when he joined Led Zeppelin three years later? We've no idea. Anyone else know?
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