New compositions and ambitious band projects, as he has announced them to eclipsed in recent years, have so far proved to be castles in the air. But 2016 is also such an eventful year for Jimmy Page. His 26-year-old girlfriend is making headlines in the British gossip press and polishing up his rock star image, his lawsuit with neighbor Robbie Williams, whose remodeling work threatened to damage Pages' Victorian villa in Kensington, has been stopped in court, and the spectacular "Taurus vs. Stairway To Heaven" trial, which took place in Los Angeles in mid-June and was to convict Led Zeppelin of plagiarism, is miserably clever. On the one hand, because no adequate consistency with the Spirit song was determined, but also because star attorney Francis Malofiy relied on an argument so absurd that Page on the witness stand played air guitar, drumming drum parts by John Bonham and firing one disarming verbal after another.
The process seems even stranger when you consider how often Led Zep have been copied in modern rock music without receiving royalties. And how openly they themselves have dealt with foreign influences in the twelve years of their existence. "We've never ripped anyone off. After all, we knew what it meant to be a starving musician. We knew that from our early days. And that's why we've treated everyone with decency and respect, just as our colleagues should," says John Paul Jones.
Revealed blues roots
This is underlined by the "BBC Sessions", which originally appeared in November 1997. The first live epic since "The Song Remains The Same" in 1976 made no secret of the band's blues roots, but cultivated them intensively. Be it with songs like "You Shook Me" (Willie Dixon) or "Somethin' Else" (Bobby Cochran), but also with credits for Dixon in "Whole Lotta Love", Sleepy John Estes in "The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair" and John Lee Hooker, Bukka White, Arthur Crudup, Doc Pomus as well as Mort Shuman in the "Whole Lotta Love" medley.
Songs recorded between March 1969 and April 1971 in six sessions for the BBC. Sometimes in concert halls like the Playhouse Theatre or in pure recording studios like Maida Vale or Aeolin Hall. Sometimes with an audience, sometimes without, and - that's the remarkable thing - with songs that weren't even on the market at the time of their performance. From today's point of view unthinkable, because such material would spread within seconds in the social networks and reduce the turnover. At the time, however, there were no such concerns. Even if the sessions were booted multiple times. "Most of the robbery recordings were of such poor quality that they posed no threat," recalls Page. "They were only bought by hardcore fans who had everything anyway. And the only people who could reasonably record these BBC sessions from the radio were people who had professional tape recorders anyway. That wasn't really many. Some sessions were only broadcasted over longwave, over AM-Radio. That's how they sounded."
Nevertheless, according to Page, they were an important promotional tool for the band as they showed the public how Led Zep sounded live and what songs they would release next. Which explains the frequency - six sessions within three years. For Led Zep, they served to earn a reputation. And this was only possible because the quartet presented itself in top form: as a young, fresh band that gave everything. "We wanted to show the world who we were. We were really under fire," Jones adds.