The guitarist that Jimmy Page said was the best the world ever had

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In the verdant landscape of England’s music scene, Jimmy Page, born in 1944, embarked on his odyssey with the guitar in 1957. The 1960s saw him ascend to the zenith of London’s session guitarists, collaborating with an illustrious roster of musicians such as Donovan and The Who.

Beyond the confines of recording studios, Page’s luminary status burgeoned with The Yardbirds and subsequently with the inception of Led Zeppelin in 1968, a band that soared to the pinnacle of global record sales, with estimations ranging from 200 to 300 million albums worldwide. From 1968 to 1980, this ensemble gifted the world with eight studio albums.

Navigating through the annals of the music industry from the 1960s, Page was privy to the prowess of myriad guitar virtuosos, pondering over the quintessence of guitar mastery.

The pinnacle of guitar artistry, according to Jimmy Page, could not be envisaged without the electric guitar’s revolutionary impact, courtesy of numerous prodigious talents. By 1975, Led Zeppelin had already cemented their status as global musical behemoths when Rolling Stone procured Page’s insights on his preferred American guitarists.

Without hesitation, he acclaimed Jimi Hendrix as the unparalleled maestro, lamenting the loss of the greatest guitarist to have graced their ranks.

Jimi Hendrix, with the formation of The Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966, unfurled his magnum opus “Are You Experienced” a year hence. Despite his untimely demise at 27, Hendrix’s influence on his contemporaries was monumental.

Jimmy Page’s musical journey commenced a half-decade before Hendrix’s, albeit being his junior by two years. Page’s early forays into multiple bands and his subsequent ascension as a preeminent session musician in England allowed him to collaborate with numerous renowned bands of the 1960s.

Hendrix, treading a parallel artistic trajectory, aligned with the backing bands of celebrated musicians like Little Richard. Their extensive experiences across various bands were instrumental in honing their distinctive musical styles.

In 1993, Guitar World engaged Page in a discourse on Hendrix’s oeuvre, to which he responded with high praise, particularly lauding Mitch Mitchell, Hendrix’s drummer, for his unparalleled inspiration and execution. Page highlighted the era’s experimental fervor, exemplified by The Beatles’ evolution from “Please Mr. Postman” to “I Am The Walrus.”

Inquiries into Hendrix’s perspective on Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page were sparse, given Hendrix’s passing shortly after Zeppelin’s debut. Robert Plant, in a 2019 documentary, recounted Hendrix’s commendation of John Bonham’s drumming. Conversely, Hendrix’s remarks to Melody Maker in May 1970 conveyed a neutral stance on Led Zeppelin, albeit acknowledging Page’s guitar virtuosity.

Page’s only encounter with Jimi Hendrix was marred by missed opportunities to witness his live performances. Despite their paths crossing, Page’s commitments with The Yardbirds and subsequent tours precluded any live experiences of Hendrix’s performances, a regret he shared in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview.

Page’s singular sighting of Hendrix in New York, albeit without interaction, remains a poignant memory of what might have been.

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