Steve Vai Names The Led Zeppelin Song That Helped Him Decide To Be A Guitar Player

In a recent article by Louder Sound, the renowned guitarist Steve Vai has selected eight songs that he considers as an inspiration for him, mentioning a Led Zeppelin song that influenced him to have a career as a guitar player.

Having sold over 15 million records, Steve Vai started his music career when he was 18 years old as the transcriptionist for the musician Frank Zappa in 1978, and performed with Zappa’s band for three years between 1980 and 1983. He then pursued a solo career, releasing eight solo albums up to now. Vai has also worked with Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth, and Whitesnake throughout his career, touring and recording with them. It is known that Steve Vai deserved his reputation with his individualistic and influential guitar playing style and was also voted by Guitar World magazine as the ’10th Greatest Guitarist.’

In Louder Sound’s article, while talking about the eight songs which inspired him throughout his musical career, Steve Vai has mentioned Led Zeppelin’s song ‘Heartbreaker’ which belonged to ‘Led Zeppelin II’ album released in 1969. Vai said that he wanted to play guitar after the moment he heard his sister Pam’s copy of ‘Led Zeppelin II,’ describing the record as his everything.

Steve then said he was insecure about playing guitar as he thought it was an untouchable thing which he was unworthy of holding, adding this has changed when he heard the solo on ‘Heartbreaker.’ Vai later added that he bought a Teisco Del Rey guitar and started learning to play it, saying he wanted so much to be like Jimmy Page.

Steve Vai told Louder Sound that:

“Hearing my sister Pam’s copy of ‘Led Zeppelin II’ was the defining moment in me wanting to play guitar. That record was my everything. I’d always thought that a guitar was this untouchable, beautiful thing that I was unworthy of holding, but as soon as I heard the solo on ‘Heartbreaker,’ something shifted in me, and I thought, I don’t care about my insecurities, I’m playing the guitar.

I bought a Teisco Del Rey guitar from a friend for $5 and started learning, and everything Jimmy Page represented was everything I wanted to be.”

In the article, Steve Vai has also mentioned other songs that changed his life, including Leonard Bernstein’s ‘The Rumble,’ Sly And The Family Stone’s ‘Dance To The Music,’ Elton John’s ‘Burn Down The Mission,’ Queen’s ‘Ogre Battle,’ Frank Zappa’s ‘Inca Roads,’ Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite Of Spring,’ and Tom Waits’ ‘House Where Nobody Lives.’