The song that made Jimmy Page want to play guitar

Jimmy Page

Since the 1970s, practically every generation of rock guitarists has attempted to play a Jimmy Page lick at some point. The power behind Page’s licks was too good to ignore half the time. Even if you didn’t like Led Zeppelin’s approach to discussing mystical lands. Or the more-than-questionable lyrical content of their sexual songs. Page didn’t just come up with the idea to play those riffs; after he bought a guitar, he was inspired to actually learn them by Elvis Presley.

Because Presley was the main face of everything that rock and roll stood for, even before The British Invasion. Although he mostly utilized his guitar as a prop. His renditions of songs by artists such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard encouraged many budding musicians. They pulled out their old, dusty six-strings and actually learned how to play them.

The guitar phrasing of “Baby Let’s Play House” actually leans slightly towards country even though he represented everything that rock and roll should be. Presley employed some of the best musicians in the business. When Scotty Moore jumped on this song, the bending licks he played could satisfy fans of Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash alike.

Page said to Trouser Press, “I’ve read about many records which are supposed to have turned me on to want to play, but it was ‘Baby, Let’s Play House’ by Elvis Presley. I loved it more than anything else because it was so dangerous to listen to.” I knew something was happening when I listened to that record and wanted to be a part of it. Three instruments and a voice—an electric guitar, slap bass, and acoustic guitar—created such a powerful energy that I had to join in.

It was very different from what Presley was doing abroad once Page got his first guitar. Page listened to skiffle music for most of his early songs and attempted to imitate. The Yardbirds’ experience with blues fills back home in London was very similar to this. Even though Page deviated greatly from the bluesy foundation of his style, if you look hard enough, you can still detect Presley’s influences.

Many of the best Page licks originated from riffing on classic rock and roll clichés. Take, for example, the bending lick in “Whole Lotta Love“. Another example is the Little Richard parody, “Rock and Roll“. However, we will politely overlook the notorious song “Hot Dog“. Even if they choose to soften things, folk and country music is still present.

Whatever genre you want to assign it, it’s impossible to listen to a song like “Over the Hills and Far Away”. The solo from “All My Love” also demonstrates Moore’s tasteful playing. It’s not hard to conclude that his style was a major influence on many of Presley’s greatest albums. Although Jimmy Page eventually faced criticism from some of his fellow musicians for allegedly stealing from them. Page never intended this as a way to deceive rock icons.

It was an attempt to honour the genre of music that influenced Page long before he was even known for his electric guitar playing. Like the blues, rock and roll has passed down through the generations. So, why not give a tip of the hat to the greats when you can?

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