Jimmy Page Year-by-Year: Photos 1963-2020
Raised in the London suburbs, Page began playing guitar at the age of 12, entranced, like many budding British musicians of the day, by skiffle, rockabilly and the blues. He'd gotten enough experience playing in local bands that, by the age of 15, Page quit school to focus on music and, as a member of Neil Christian and the Crusaders, played on their 1962 single "The Road to Love" when he was only 18.
But a bout with mononucleosis took him off the road, and he enrolled in art school, which led him into the London blues scene. Page soon found himself in bands with names like Carter-Lewis and the Southerners and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men, but more importantly, he began to make a name for himself as a session guitarist. He played on early tracks by the Kinks, the Who and Van Morrison's first group, Them.
Page continued adding to his reputation as one of London's top studio guitarists over the next few years, but, in mid-1966, jumped at the chance to become the bassist in the Yardbirds. But he was soon sharing co-lead guitar chores with Jeff Beck, who was fired a few months later. By the middle of 1968, Page was the lone member of the band, and he began assembling a new lineup.
He recruited a session bassist and keyboardist he knew well, John Paul Jones, and on the recommendation from Terry Reid, found vocalist Robert Plant, who suggested a drummer he knew, John Bonham. The new group was originally billed as the New Yardbirds, but after a tour of Scandinavia, decided to change their name to Led Zeppelin.
Over the next decade, the eight albums the foursome released would redefine hard rock. Page's compositions ranged from ferocious bluesy rave-ups to complex epics that incorporated Indian and Arabic influences, and they served as a showcase for his innovative guitar work. Bonham's death in 1980 brought the band to an abrupt end, and Page eventually resumed recording in the mid-'80s, teaming up with Paul Rodgers in the Firm.
In 1988, the surviving members of Led Zeppelin reunited for five songs at a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of Atlantic Records, with Bonham's son Jason on drums. Page's solo debut, Outrider, arrived a few months later. Five years later saw Page release another album, a collaboration with Whitesnake's David Coverdale. Then he spent much of the rest of the '90s reuniting with Plant, first for the No Quarter MTV special and tour, then for 1998's Walking Into Clarksdale. That was soon followed by a string of dates with the Black Crowes.
Then, the inconceivable happened in 2007 when Page, Plant and Jones got back together -- again with Jason -- for the only full-length Led Zeppelin concert since John Bonham's death. Page returned to the spotlight a year later, starring with the Edge and Jack White in the guitar documentary It Might Get Loud.
Take a look below at more than 55 years worth of pictures of Jimmy Page.