Jimmy Page’s First Disappointment With Robert Plant
California had what it took to welcome newcomers all around, with its shiny weather and gold-tinted beaches surrounded by palm trees embellishing the scene. The atmosphere surely enchanted millions, and it wasn’t long after the area established its very own legacy, becoming a timeless myth.
The Beach Boys surely had quite a lot to say on the ‘Californian myth‘ as they took the vessel and drove their imaginary convertibles right into beach parties, sunbathed with ladies, and surfed on friendly waves through their lyrics, praising their beloved home state and the fantasia it held over millions.
They, perhaps, were the Beatles’ greatest creative rivals as the Californians tried fighting against the British Invasion while the Fab Four readily and happily landed in the continent and took over the charts… That was one of the first instances where the West Coast scene clashed with its British peers.
Years went on, and different bands in both scenes came and went into the ’70s, with the West Coast featuring prestigious names like Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, and the Byrds. California had made such a name over the years that by the late ’60s, it was apparent that the area was a hotspot for rock, especially after the Monterey Festival of 1967.
The British scene was also boiling, with numerous icons making their debuts and influencing the industry worldwide. One of those icons was Led Zeppelin, a band that quickly managed to lead the scene, successfully connecting with vast American audiences and taking the torch to continue the British Invasion.
Although the two scenes were far, far away from one another by thousands of miles, there was no denying that West Coast and London scenes competed, as the creative rivalry that started from the Beatles and Beach Boys evidently followed acts into the ’70s.
Well, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page seemingly had some criticisms about his Californian peers, as he found the American bands to sound poor. So, you can imagine his shock when Robert Plant declared that he was into the West Coast scene as the two had just met and were trying to bond over their shared love of music.
The guitarist recalled meeting with Robert while chatting with Alan Freeman in 1976, praising the frontman and discussing how they clicked easily as Plant was into the melodic experiments and riffs Jimmy had been working on. However, when Page learned that his then-new friend enjoyed the West Coast scene, that became something they couldn’t really bond over.
Jimmy’s words on meeting Plant:
“There was this thing of forming a group, and then, well, we seemed to get on pretty well. He was very bluesy orientated, and of course, I’ve been through that as well, and then I played him a lot of other things which I sort of attempt things like, ‘Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You,’ things like that which had a totally different approach to the way that it’s originally been done by Joan Baez. So, he definitely seemed to be into those things, so it was definitely on.”
When talking about differences, the guitarist quickly recalled the singer’s like for Californian music:
“I remember he was doing a lot of West Coast music, which I had an aversion to [laughs].”
So, although Plant’s love for the West Coast scene didn’t halt Page’s plans of forming a band with him, it surely was surprising to see the guitarist criticizing his American peers, as, in the continuation of the interview, Page went on about how poor Buffalo Springfield sounded on stage.