Tuesday, March 8, 2016

On This Day 08 March

Jimmy gimmee the music!
1968 08 March On This Day The Yardbirds in Birmingham UK

  • 1968 The Yardbirds - Birminham UK at Aston University
  • 1970 Led Zeppelin - Munich, Germany at Circus Krone Bau
  • 1985 Jimmy Page The Firm - Omaha, NE at Civic Center

1970 Jimmy Page / Led Zeppelin, Munich

1985 Tony Franklin, Paul Rodgers, Jimmy Page (Chris Slade not shown) of The Firm
You know by now how I feel about The Firm.  Often referred to as a supergroup, this particular combination of musicians was very, very good and yet never lived up to expectations.

Part of the problem was that allof the musicians came to The Firm as already accomplished and experienced performers. The more set in their ways - and perhaps the more successful they've been - the tougher it is for them to give it up to a new musical effort that isn't who they already are. This is true about almost any area of performance requiring great skill, of course.  For rock bassists and drummers - and for a guitarist like Jimmy Page who spent years as a session man and who can play any which way the music requires - giving it up might not be as tough as it might otherwise be since blending in and supporting is part of what they are expected to do.

Still, the effort was crippled from the beginning when they didn't (or couldn't) offer their souls to the cause that was the band. Um... honestly?  The better way to put it is that Paul Rodgers didn't sell his soul to the devil that was Mr. Page.

But then, I think that Jimmy Page probably didn't expect that from his vocalist. Rodgers was already set firmly on his own musical path. A vocalist has to have a strong ego since the singer/frontman usually sets the tone for the band as the focus of the music. The rest of the band supports that focus.

That's not how Jimmy Page does music.  That's why The Firm never was greater than its parts. And that's why Jimmy Page has taken so long to create new music. He needs musicians who will sell their souls to his vision. And they have to be good enough to meet Jimmy Page standards. Unfortunately, if they're good enough to perform with Jimmy Page, they're probably never going to give it up as much as Jimmy Page really needs. Catch 22.

My opinion, of course.  But seriously, dear reader, just listen to the versions of Live in Peace (below), written by Paul Rodgers. Great song. Powerful if a bit ponderous. But it's Paul Rodgers and The Firm, isn't it? I mean, it's not The Firm undivided and greater than the sum of its parts. It's the traditional "singer sings and the band supports the singer" format. It's okay but it lacks that extra something that makes musical greatness.

That is, of course, until Jimmy Page takes over and finally, finally, the song takes off. Then there's magic.

♪  Live In Peace (The Firm, Mean Business 1986) YouTube
♪  Live In Peace (The  Firm, Detroit 1986) YouTube

♪ Mage Music 1 playlist at YouTube
♪ Mage Music 2 playlist at YouTube
♪ Page & Plant playlist at YouTube

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