As you humble readers may recall (all three of you), I read the pinnacle rock bio of Led Zeppelin “Hammer of the Gods” not too long ago. You remember the post…
Me: Great story of this gigantic force of rock music. Don’t like all their work, but a great deal is simply mind blowing. Deserving of their place in the pantheons of rock history.
Jackson: Plant sucks, Page is sloppy.
Misanthrope: Yeah, what he said.
Anyhoodle, During the long dry spell of output following Bonzo’s death, the surviving Zep’s really struggled to figure out what they wanted to do next. For Jimmy Page, consuming metric tons of heroin didn’t help his quest any. There were many attempts on Jimmy’s behalf to get together with Robert in any of Jimmy’s bazillion studio’s spread out all over the United Kingdom to do some song writing, but Robert was having none of that. Jimmy had been a working musician for most of his life and ALWAYS worked in collaborative situations no matter if it was session work, The Yardbirds, or Zep. He simply didn’t do well on his own.
So, after being turned down by Plant yet again and in an act of creative desperation (or defiance depending on who you ask), Page dialed up another formidable blonde front man, fellow countrymen David Coverdale.
Before you all make the obligatory stinky cheese grip of your nose, remember Coverdale’s resume goes far deeper than supermodels crawling on the hoods of cars. He capably fronted Deep Purple in the early/mid 70’s and made some decent records with Whitesnake before MTV and greed ruined it all. Just admit it, the dude’s got the pipes. Yes, his mop of blonde hair, and stage poses harkened back to old Zep shows, but I can grant him his right to pay homage to an idol of his. Okay… So he sounds a bit like the guy too (I’d say much better really).
Coverdale must have pissed his pants after what I’m sure must have been many hang ups before the realization hit that this was no crank: “Hello mate, this is Jimmy Page… you wanna come down to my place and have a go at a couple of these songs?” Coverdale: “Who is this? Nigel? Fuck off and quit calling me, I’m in the midst of being beat up by my girlfriend”.
You’ve got Jimmy Page with arm loads of material backed up since Zep grinded to a halt, and a more than capable singer who is currently in the charts everywhere. Something great is about to be put to tape, right? I mean com’on?!
Well... Jimmy Page would have done himself (and the rest of us) a favor by forgetting Plant's and Coverdale's number and ringed up John Paul Jones instead. JPJ's the song crafter of that lot anyway. He's the one who molded Pages riffs into songs. No, everybody wasn’t missing anything. There would be no diamond in the rough discovery. No defensible “They don’t know what they’re talking about” moment. Just eleven songs of poop. Into the rack it goes filed under "P" perhaps never to see the light of day again.
Hmmm, wait a minute, who’s birthday is coming up next…?