Jimmy Page Reveals His Favorite Childhood Song
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 24: Jimmy Page of the rock band 'Led Zeppelin' performs onstage at the Forum on March 24, 1975 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
There can be no doubt that Jimmy Page is among the all-time greats of the guitar. The Led Zeppelin guitarist pioneered the use of distortion and produced some of the most innovative sounds ever heard from an amplifier, serving as an inspiration to countless aspiring guitarists from the ‘70s onward. But like us, Page also had that one thing (or song for this matter) that totally drove his desire to pursue a career in music.
In 2016, Bob Boilen interviewed the legend to select a song that had a profound impact on his own life. Page could think of just one song to play, and that was Lonnie Donegan’s “Rock Island Line.” Intriguingly, Page’s history with the song dates to when he was just a little lad of eight and got his hands on his first guitar.
“It was the campfire guitar, you know?” Page said. “It was sort of, you know, round hole – yeah, literally that, like a campfire. But it did have all the string on, which was pretty useful. And there was this sort of explosion of music in the ‘50s. And what we had over in England was this guy Lonnie Donegan. The song I’m going to sort of give as an illustration of this is ‘Rock Island Line.’”
He continued: “I mean, he was superb. It was absolutely superb. But there he was, playing, like, an acoustic guitar. Sort of every Saturday there would be a show on the television where usually he was on every other week, and it was just something to behold at the time, just his whole passion and the way that he delivered this material… So this guitar was there, and then somebody showed me how to tune it up – somebody at school. Then I started strumming away, having a go, just sort of strumming chords and all of that stuff.”
Thanks to Lonnie Donegan and his penned song “Rock Island Life,” we have someone like Jimmy Page to inspire countless other musicians when they first picked up a guitar.