Led Zeppelin’s legacy and influence are undeniable, but some may still hesitate to call them the best band ever. Not Jimmy Page however.
Jimmy Page recently spoke with writer Michael Bonner for the November 2019 issue of Uncut. He explains (as transcribed by Blabbermouth) in great detail why Led Zeppelin were the greatest band ever back in the day, and may just continue to be today. “It’s really hard to say something like that and not sound conceited, but over the years, a lot of other musicians have told me they thought we were the best.” Page continues, “I’m not talking about record sales or concert attendance, although I think we can hold our own with anyone.
“What I mean is, when you talk about a band as a collaborative musical unit, we were the best. I am not talking about one or two genius songwriters, and everyone else tagging along. I am talking about a collection of musicians who are each at the top of their craft in their own right. In Led Zeppelin, we were exactly that.”
The iconic guitarist adds, “If you are a young musician and you want to hear how a band works well together, then we’re a pretty good blueprint… every combination of the quartet could bring something special.”
Regarding a Robert Plant interview on Charlie Rose in 2002 where the vocalist refused to call Led Zeppelin the greatest band of their era, Page says, “Robert probably said, ‘Oh, well, there were a lot of great bands,’ to the interviewer because that is the gentlemanly reply.” He adds, “I agree with him, there’s a lot of absolutely fantastic music out there made by lots of different artists. But when you are talking about rock ‘n’ roll alchemy, I had to say what I thought. We were the best.”
When discussing Led Zeppelin’s two reunions in the ’80s (1985’s Live Aid and 1988’s Atlantic Records 40th anniversary), Page said the band was taken down a peg. “The band is not just something that falls back into place after a pub lunch.” He adds, “I think it’s fair to say that we had a couple of disasters from which we learned valuable lessons.”