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According to the unofficial fansite for Page, the basic facts are that he was born in Middlesex, England in January 1944. He first ‘picked up a guitar’ when he was 12, had some lessons but was mainly self taught. An early possession was a second-hand 1959 Futurama Grazioso.
Early influences included Scooty Moore and James Burton on one hand, and Bert Jansch and John Renbourn’s acoustic folk playing on the other, with Elmore James and BB King blues for good measure.
Page left school at 14 and joined a band called The Crusaders, followed by playing with Neil Christian, when he fell ill with glandular fever and stopped touring. He then decided to put music aside for a time, and enrolled at Sutton Art College. However, he would often jam with guys from Alexis Korner, with Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.
This lead to a career as a session musician where, among many, he played on Jet Harris and Tony Meehan’s Diamonds, The Who, The Kinks, Nashville Teens’ Tobacco Road, Rolling Stones’ Heart of Stone, Mariane Faithfull’s As Tears Go Byand Van Morrison (with Them) on Baby Please Don’t Go and Here Comes the Night.
He was appointed house producer and A&R man for the new Immediate Records and so played on and/or produced tracks by John Mayall, Nico, Chris Farlowe and Eric Clapton. He worked with Joe Cocker, Al Stewart and Jackie DeShannon (and also enjoyed a romantic connection).
It was late 1964, according to the unofficial site, that he was invited to replace Clapton in The Yardbirds. He declined from loyalty to Clapton and because session work was lucrative. He suggested Jeff Beck, instead.
During 1966 he had the idea of a new group, after Beck’s Bolero was recorded, featuring The Who’s drummer Keith Moon and John Entwistle, bassist John Paul Jones, keyboardist Nicky Hopkins and Jeff Beck, but it came to nothing.
When Paul Samwell-Smith left The Yardbirds, Page joined to play bass before Chris Dreja switched to bass, so Page and Beck teamed up on lead guitars. The view about The Yardbirds at that point, expressed by fans but not ‘official’, was "the musical potential of the line-up was scuttled by interpersonal conflicts caused by constant touring and a lack of commercial success’, although they released one single, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago."
While Page and Beck played together in the band, the Page, Beck and Clapton trio never played in the original group simultaneously, but did appear on stage together at the Arms Charity Concerts in 1983. Page wished to continue with a group when Keith Relf and Jim McCarty left in 1968, so took on drummer John Bonham and vocalist Robert Plant. John Paul Jones also joined.
They appeared as The New Yardbirds, but Keith Moon said that would go down like "a lead zeppelin," which became Led Zeppelin. With experience as producer, composer and guitarist, Jimmy Page shaped the new band as ‘a prototype for future rock bands’ through the 1970s.