Elliott Randall On How He Recorded Jimmy Page’s Favorite Guitar Solo
During his recent interview with Rock History Music, famous session musician Elliott Randall gave some essential details about recording an iconic Steely Dan song. Randall revealed how he felt about the track being Led Zeppelin icon Jimmy Page‘s favorite by expressing his ideas about him.
Randall collaborated with several iconic bands and artists such as Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono throughout his successful and prolific career as a guitarist. In addition, the guitar player took place in some Steely Dan records, which received very positive reviews from music critics and longtime fans thanks to his unmatchable performance in the recording sessions.
One of these records was the band’s debut studio album ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill,’ released in November 1972, which brought Steely Dan members fame and commercial success in a short time. Its tracks’ well-crafted sounds and lyrics drew significant attention from rock music lovers and colleagues. Moreover, Jimmy Page once named ‘Reelin’ In the Years’ guitar solo his favorite during one of his previous interviews.
Elliott Randall recalled when he and band members worked on ‘Reelin’ In the Years’ by saying he loved the tune after checking out the lyrics. He decided to try and play the whole song nonstop. However, the tape operator surprised them after he didn’t press the button, so they had to re-record it. According to Randall, they will never know which version was better because of that incident.
In his interview, Randall said:
“Here I am, loving the tune, saying, ‘Can I see a copy of the lyrics, please?’ So they did and showed me the lyrics. I said, ‘Great, okay, let’s give it a try.’ They ran the tape, and I finished playing from beginning to end. Gary went, ‘That’s it, we got it.’ From the back, the little tape operator went, ‘I never pressed the red button.’
So whether or not it was as good as or better than what you’re hearing now, we’ll never know. The next take was another one-taker all the way through. What you’re hearing is what I did. They pulled out a couple of extra fills, which he wind up hearing the quad version that I’m not crazy about. But, I thought it worked well.”
The guitarist said he met Page in the ’60s when he was touring with The Yardbirds and later came across him a few times as a part of Led Zeppelin gigs. Randall thought it was nice to hear a guitar player like Page’s kind comments about the song and performance. He emphasized that the Led Zeppelin legend didn’t have to do that because Page could have seen him as an opponent or denied appreciating his solo.
“I love Jimi Page loving it. I first met Jimmy back in 1967. He was on tour with The Yardbirds, and they were playing in Ohio, where I used to teach. We got on like a house on fire, and then we had seen each other in the bar couple of times when Zeppelin played in the Garden. When I heard that he complimented me on that, I was like, ‘That’s nice.’ He doesn’t have to; he’s a guitar god.“
You can check out the interview and song below.