Book Review: Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinksi

Light & Shade: Colight and shadenversations with Jimmy Page by Brad Tolinski

Jimmy Page, founder, guitarist and producer of Led Zeppelin, is the reason that many famous guitarists of following generations picked up the instrument in the first place.  Light & Shade provides an in-depth but easily read history of Page’s entire career in music, told in narrative segments by guitar writer Brad Tolinski and through interviews with Page himself and several of his musical contemporaries.  In this book, Page, never famously open in interviews, candidly discusses each of his essential musical phases:  top English session guitarist, groundbreaking soloist in the Yardbirds, and, certainly the climax of his artistry, the creation of 1970’s powerhouse rock group Led Zeppelin, who reigned as stadium circuit champions from the late sixties until the tragic death of their legendary drummer, John Bonham, in September 1980.

Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin are probably best remembered for their devastating brand of heavy rock, but the interviews in Light & Shade reveal how much further the band’s and the guitarist’s influence extended, mixing what many believe to be the birth of heavy metal with country blues and English folk flavors.  Indeed, hindsight has shown Zeppelin to be a remarkably versatile unit which, despite their stylistic borrowings, always had their own unmistakable signature sound and never failed to pull off their jaw-dropping performances with an effortless-sounding perfection.  Reading this book really makes you want to go back and listen to the group’s work, and yes, it is as good as you remember!  A music nerd’s delight.

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