When George Harrison Listened To Led Zeppelin Before They Were Famous
Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page began his career by being a session musician to various well-known names of the time. He wanted to save enough money to continue his life by focusing on his art and didn’t consider being a musician as a full-time career. However, the band’s sync and the iconic songs made it inevitable to carry his name to the top and make him one of the best guitarists in the world.
Before the band was well known, their name started spreading slowly through various music channels. Especially by musicians recommending other musicians to hear them out. While Page’s name was more known due to his career as a session musician, the rest of the band members were slowly getting recognition as well. In 2011, an audio had emerged where The Beatles’ George Harrison reacts to Led Zeppelin after listening to them for the first time.
What Did George Harrison Think About Led Zeppelin?
In the audio, Glyn Johns asked George Harrison if he heard Jimmy Page’s new album with his new band. Harrison didn’t seem to recognize Page at first, but then he realized that he heard his name with the Yardbirds. He was uninterested in the beginning and wanted to know when he was going to have lunch. But then, after hearing them, his reaction changed.
Here is how the conversation went:
“Glyn Johns: George, do you want to hear some of this Jimmy Page album?
George: Jimmy Page?
Glyn Johns: Yeah, he just produced a new album with his new group.
George: Is he the one that was in the Yardbirds?
Glyn Johns: Yeah.
George: I think. Is lunch ready?
Glyn Johns: It’s really unbelievable. Let me, unbelievable. Very psychedelic though. Don’t you like it?
George: Not that I mind psychedelic. But he is really, and it is such a good group. It’s so tight.
Glyn Johns: John Paul Jones on bass.
George: John Paul?
Glyn Johns: Jones. On bass. Don’t you know any of them? Jimmy used him in sessions.
Glyn Johns: He’s like the governor. He’s very young, he’s about 24. The governor bass player. Really good. And a kid
called John Bonham on drums who is unbelievable.
George: I think he was on a session with Paul last year with some other people.
Glyn Johns: Yeah? He comes from Birmingham.”
Harrison also didn’t recognize John Paul Jones, and Glyn Johns praised him by saying that he is like a ‘governor.’ They also talked about John Bonham and stated how talented he was. Almost like a time machine, this piece of audio takes the listener back to those days.
Although it’s incredible to think that the world once didn’t know about Led Zeppelin, the biggest names of the music world heard them following their success and praised their talents even before their worldwide fame. However, the Beatles star had a slight problem with the band’s music.
What Was Harrison’s Problem With Led Zeppelin?
After hearing the band for the first time, Harrison decided that he needs to listen to them live. He met the band members and talked to them about their music. Although he loved their sound, he considered it a problem that they never did ballads.
The band didn’t take his criticism in a bad way and worked hard to produce their first ballad named ‘Rain Song,‘ and referenced the Beatles for inspiration. The band’s primary songwriter Jimmy Page stated that this comment fuelled them to grow as a band.
Here is what he stated in their biography:
“I said, ‘I’ll give him a ballad,’ and I wrote ‘Rain Song,’ which appears ‘Houses of the Holy.’ In fact, you’ll notice I even quote ‘Something’ in the song’s first two chords.”
You can listen to the full audio and ‘Rain Song’ below.