When John Paul Jones blew Jimmy Page’s mind in the studio

Jimmy Page

Fans have been perplexed, split, and furious about the search for the greatest Led Zeppelin album for years. The band developed over time. They got closer to guitarist Jimmy Page’s lofty artistic goal of giving rock a towering new dimension. Because of their constant motion, it is difficult to pinpoint the band’s peak performance dates.

Astonished fans argue that it’s either Houses of the Holy or its follow-up, Physical Graffiti. Some say it’s the unrestrained attitude of 1969‘s Led Zeppelin II. Other devoted fans say it’s 1971‘s Led Zeppelin IV, which gave rise to “Stairway to Heaven.” Some even go so far as to say that Led Zeppelin III from the 1970s is the best because it creates a stylistic link between the raw passion of their early years and the refinement that would follow, best exemplified by “Immigrant Song.” Even so, it’s evident after listening to the entire record that their body of work includes more robust opuses.

Physical Graffiti is a record with a powerful statement, and it usually resides in the final battle for supremacy with Led Zeppelin IV. From the comfort of modern hindsight, it sounds very much like it belongs to the past, but in many ways, it is the most condensed version of Page’s original plan for the group. A thrilling blend of progressive rock and hard rock, with a strong esoteric element, the group exhibited a truly expansive sound on the album, particularly in the tracks “Trampled Under Foot” and, more importantly, the monumental “Kashmir.”

When Led Zeppelin recorded the album, they were in an unusual situation. They’d just dropped two albums, the greatest band on the planet. However, their first attempt at the same location in November 1973 failed, with multi-instrumentalist and bassist John Paul Jones telling manager Peter Grant he’d had enough and wanted to quit before heading to Headley Grange to record it. But Grant told him to wait a year and reconsider.

Soon after, in the early months of the subsequent year, the group got back together, and they were free to try new things in the relaxed environment. Known for his contribution to the sessions, ideas, and arrangements, drummer John Bonham earned multiple lead songwriting credits as a result of his efforts. In January and February, they recorded eight tracks.

“In the Light” is a standout track on the album. Jimmy Page’s ominous drone on the opening track demonstrated that Jones still had a lot to offer the group. He complemented the former’s work with an equally captivating keyboard section. A powerful demonstration of his talent, Page remembered that Jones’ studio work on the song was “just unbelievable.”

“Once the vocal lines and phrasing were sorted out, you’d know where not to play. Which was as important as knowing when you should play”. Page said, recalling what happened in the book The Guitar Greats.

He went on: “With In The Light,’ for example, we knew exactly how it was going to be put together. But even so, I had no idea that John Paul Jones was going to create such a fantastic synthesiser intro. Not to mention all the bowed guitars that contribute to the overall drone effect at the beginning.” We used drones for a lot of our work, including “In the Evening” and other things. However, when he performed the opening to “In the Light,” it was simply amazing.

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