The guitarist and producer James Patrick Page, best known as Jimmy Page was born in Heston, Middlesex in 1944, months before World War II came to an end. His musical career started at an early age in 1957 and in the following decade he became one of the most respected session guitarists in London.
With all the experience he had of working with famous artists in the studio and his talent, it didn’t take long for him to be successful as an artist. He first achieved fame as a member of The Yardbirds and then formed Led Zeppelin, which would become one of the best-selling bands of all time.
Over the decades he talked about many musicians and even mentioned one singer who according to him was “damn good”.
The singer that Jimmy Page said was damn good
During his session work Page had the chance to record with countless incredible artists and bands and record with them. Some were Donovan, The Who, Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker and many more.
Those years of experience with many incredible musicians prepared him for one of the most important opportunities he had in his life: join The Yardbirds. The legendary band formed in England in 1963 already had Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck in their line-up before. Page joined the group in 1966 when Beck was still in it.
He stayed in the band until they disbanded in 1968, forcing him to make a new group which was going to be called The New Yardbirds. However, the group was later renamed as Led Zeppelin.
During his career he talked a lot about his time in The Yardbirds and praised the late singer Keith Relf, calling him “damn good”. Page said that in an interview with Uncut magazine in 2017 when he was asked if he would like to play with The Yardbirds again. The question was made because the band is still active with only one original member, the drummer Jim McCarty.
“But who would sing? Keith Relf died all those many years ago. He’d done a couple of other things, Renascence and Medicine Head. Keith Relf was really damn good,” Jimmy Page said.
As the Led Zeppelin guitarist said, Relf died too soon in 1976 at the age of 33. The story goes that he passed away in his basement from electrocution while playing an electric guitar. It is said that since he had many health problems during his life like emphysema and asthma. Those conditions could have contributed to his inability to survive the electric shock.
He mentioned Keith Relf when The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
When The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 by the U2 guitarist The Edge, Jimmy Page remembered Relf. The Led Zeppelin guitar player said: “Before I came here I though ‘Well, I’ll keep short. So I’m gonna keep it short. But before we go any further there is one person who can’t be with us tonight and that’s Keith Relf. So I’d like to introduce you to his wife April and his son Jason,” Jimmy Page said.
Curiously, Jeff Beck who was there that night too didn’t have many good things to say about the band. He said: “I have done other music after The Yardbirds but anyway. Somebody told me I should be proud tonight but I’m not because they kicked me out. They did, f*ck them! (laughs),” Jeff Beck said.
Relf was a member of the band from its inception in 1963 until 1968 when they broke-up. Besides being the vocalist he also played the harmonica. Relf also became the rhythm guitarist after Jeff Beck was out and Jimmy Page was the only guitarist left.
In 1966, when he was still a member of the band he released his solo debut single “Mr. Zero”. The song peaked at number 50 in the United Kingdom singles chart. After Yardbirds disbanded in 1968 he formed the acoustic duo called Together alongside the drummer Jim McCarty (Who was also a member of The Yardbirds). Not much after he formed another band called Renaissance, which also had his sister Jane Relf. In the early 70s he also worked as a producer for other artists and in 1974 formed the Progressive Rock band Armageddon.