Keith Richards’ Solution To Fix Jimmy Page’s Problem In Led Zeppelin
Known among the greatest guitarists of all time, Jimmy Page achieved worldwide success as the guitarist and founder of legendary rock band Led Zeppelin. During his tenure in the band, Page delighted their fans with his unique guitar riffs, experimentalist approach to guitar-playing, melodic and technical solos, and of course, aggressive and distorted guitar tones.
After beginning his musical career as a studio session musician, Page became among Britain’s most popular session guitarists. When his career with the Yardbirds came to an end, he founded Led Zeppelin in 1968 and played with the band until 1980. During the time the band was active in the music scene, Page contributed significantly to their success with his musicianship.
Jimmy Page even attracted Keith Richards’ attention with his musical talents, although Richards didn’t like Zeppelin that much. In fact, at one time, Richards even suggested to Page a solution for a problem he encountered in Led Zeppelin. Let’s delve into the details of what happened between the two.
Keith Richards Suggested Jimmy Page Get Another Guitarist As He Overworks
Throughout his tenure in Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page played the guitars all by himself without a second guitarist. Considering that the band has some really long and complicated tracks, it was pretty challenging for Page to handle this duty all alone. However, the case was different for Keith Richards, as Rolling Stones had second guitarists in the band.
In a 1977 interview with Trouser Press, Jimmy Page talked about the songs that were challenging to play live on stage. He gave ‘Achilles Last Stand’ as an example and recalled when Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards came to hear them play. According to Page, Richards suggested he find another guitarist as he is among the most overworked guitarist in the business. However, Page thought the audience wouldn’t like that.
In the interview with Trouser Press which was later revealed by an Instagram account dedicated to Jimmy Page, he said the following about this issue:
“Then it becomes a challenge, a tough challenge in some cases. ‘Achilles’ is the classic one. When Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards came to hear us play, Keith said, ‘You ought to get another guitarist; you’re rapidly becoming known as the most overworked guitarist in the business.’ Quite amusing. There are times when I’d just love to get another guitarist on, but it just wouldn’t look right to the audience.”
In 2015, during an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Jimmy Page recalled Richards’ solution to this issue. He said that Richards suggested that he do that because they had second guitarists in the band. Page then revealed he is used to being the only guitarist in the band as he always played in similar situations.
Following that, the guitarist recalled the song ‘Achilles Last Stand’ once again and said it was a long and complicated arrangement. So, that song consisted of a lot to remember. Page revealed that he wrote the guitar parts of the song in one night, and he sarcastically said Richards would say they would need a second, third, fourth, and a sixth guitarist to perform this song if he ever heard that.
Ultimate Classic Rock asked Jimmy Page the following:
“I want to ask a question about guitars. Somebody said that Keith Richards right around that time said that you should have a second guitarist in the band.”
As a response, Jimmy Page said:
“Yeah, he did, that’s right. Because they had had second guitarists in the band. Even from the very early days of playing electric guitar when I was a kid, I was always in bands that it was just bass, drums, and guitar until I got into the Yardbirds. And then the Yardbirds trimmed back down to bass, drums, guitar, and singer. So I was really sort of used to that and sort of filling the guitar parts in.”
He then continued:
“Yeah, ‘Achilles Last Stand’ is a lot to remember. I just laid these guitars down in the space of one night. So it was like all of the orchestration was in my head, and I just sort of did it. Now, if he ever heard that, he’d probably say they need a second guitarist, and maybe a third and a fourth and a fifth and a six, to be able to do that.”
Below, you can listen to the live version of ‘Achilles Last Stand.’