5 Must-Hear, Post-Led Zeppelin Moments by Jimmy Page

When Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980 following drummer John Bonham’s death, the remaining band members began a new life against the colossal shadow of what they’d accomplished.

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An impossible task paralleled only by the Fab Four’s post-Beatles reality.

Unbothered by chasing hits, Jimmy Page has moved between multiple bands, collaborations, and a solo album. This journey also reconnected him and Robert Plant, reviving some of the magic of their iconic band.

Below are five must-hear Jimmy Page post-Led Zeppelin moments.

“Ten Years Gone” from Live at the Greek (2000)

In 1999, The Black Crowes and Jimmy Page recorded a live album at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, featuring Led Zeppelin songs alongside blues and rock standards. The key to the album’s appeal is how the band, specifically Chris Robinson, doesn’t reach for pastiche. Hearing them rip through “Ten Years Gone,” with Page harmonizing with guitarists Rich Robinson and Audley Freed, brings to life the multitracked layers from the Led Zeppelin original.

Then as it was, then again it will be
And though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea
Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays
On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey
Kind of makes me feel sometimes didn’t have to grow
But as the eagle leaves the nest, it’s got so far to go

“Radioactive” from The Firm (1985)

The Firm presented the blues rock of Led Zeppelin and Bad Company with an ’80s sheen. Singer Paul Rodgers allowed Page to evolve his familiar sound without abandoning what made him an icon. His success as a session musician before Led Zeppelin showcased a versatile guitarist with a broader lens than most of his blues revivalist contemporaries. On The Firm’s debut single, Page used the recording studio to orchestrate cascading guitar parts while echoing Robert Fripp in the song’s descending discordant lines.   

There’s not a fight
And I’m not your captive
Turn me loose tonight
’Cause I’m radioactive
Radioactive

“Satisfaction Guaranteed” from The Firm (1985)

It’s tempting for an established artist to return to what’s worked in the past. But the risk of parody lingers, and with The Firm, Page aimed for new ground without abandoning the sounds that made him famous. Also, “Satisfaction Guaranteed” has one of Page’s finest guitar solos outside of Led Zeppelin. The song begins with a wistful fade-in texture, and his riff is punctuated with twangy country bends. Page has so many signature pieces to his playing, many of which appear in “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Head upon the highway, just as fast as I could go
I rode through the night and halfway through the day
I had no direction I didn’t even want to know where I was going
The only thing I knew was that I had to get away

“Yallah” from No Quarter (1994)

MTV’s “UnLedded” project reunited Page and Plant for a mostly unplugged performance. However, Page turns up the volume on “Yallah,” a Moroccan-inspired original song and one of four new songs featured on No Quarter. While Plant howls, Page reaches for his vintage Echoplex and interrupts the hypnotic blues riff for a wall of sci-fi noise. He is famous for borrowing sounds from around the world, such as American blues and Eastern folk. Fitting a garage-rock riff over a North African groove shows the deep interconnectedness of disparate cultures, and Page has spent his career introducing Western audiences to global sounds.   

And your city will fall
And your corn won’t grow
To the silence from the temple
Hear the truth explode

“Please Read the Letter” from Walking into Clarksdale (1998)

Following the successful “UnLedded” reunion in 1994, Page and Plant entered Abbey Road with Steve Albini to record Walking into Clarksdale. “Please Read the Letter” was written by Page, Plant, and their bandmates, bassist Charlie Jones and drummer Michael Lee. Risking blasphemy, it’s as good as Led Zeppelin, and it’s a Plant lyric one could quote without irony. Plant and Alison Krauss recorded a folk version for their T Bone Burnett-produced album Raising Sand, which won five Grammys. Page’s guitar riff is yet another classic from the master.

Too late, too late a fool could read the signs
Maybe, baby, you’d better check between the lines
Please read the letter, I wrote it in my sleep
With help and consultation from the angels of the deep

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