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Charles Obscure And S. Flavius Mercurius

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It’s Jimmy Page Week day three in the Jenna James Corner and today, kids we are going to talk about Charles Obscure and S. Flavius Mercurius.

Both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have said that their work was heavily influenced by Roy Harper who is a blues singer that started his recording career in the 1960’s. The song “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” is a medley of fragments of blues songs and lyrics, most notably Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down”.

If you look closely at the album sleeve of Led Zeppelin III, “Hats Off to (Roy) Harper” is listed as “Arranged By Charles Obscure”. Charles Obscure is not a fifth member of Led Zeppelin. Charles Obscure is just a fake name that Jimmy Page picked and there’s no real story behind it.

In 1971, Roy Harper released an album called “Stormcock” and there’s a track on that record called “The Same Old Rock” with lead guitar credited to a one S. Flavius Mercurius, aka Jimmy Page. The reason for the uncredited work on that record was due to contractual restrictions, Jimmy Page’s name was used on the 2007 re-release.

Jimmy Page and Roy Harper did collaborate again in 1985 on an album called “Whatever Happened to Jugula?”. The following track, “Hope” was written by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. The guitar playing you hear is Roy’s son Nick Harper, who was just 16 when this was recorded.


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