No Quarter: Massive Tome Explores the Three Lives of Jimmy Page

No Quarter: The Three Lives of Jimmy Page
By Martin Power
Overlook Press
, 704 pp., $35

There’s certainly a Whole Lotta Jimmy Page crammed into this massive missive by rock journo Power, who has penned previous books on Jeff Beck, Queen, Pearl Jam and Aerosmith. But just like a lengthy solo on a live take of “Dazed and Confused,” absorbing it is an undertaking of no small time frame.

Page’s “Three Lives,” of course, boil down to Pre-Zep, Zep and Post-Zep. The heart of the book concerns the tale of his times with Mssrs. Plant, Jones and Bonham and of course treads many of the same stories (and same interview quote pulls) as many of the other millions of words spilled about the Titans of Testosterone Rock.

However, Power manages to weave together the most complete portrait of Jimmy Page’s career to date, combining not only sonic biographical detail but astute observations and analysis of every single Led Zeppelin album and song. And no, he doesn’t care much for the film or soundtrack of The Song Remains the Same either.

Of more interest and revelation here to more hardcore fans are Power’s chapters on Page’s early studio work as both musician and producer and his time with the Yardbirds, which could be chopped off into a book of its own.

And then there’s his deep look into Page’s musical journey post-1980, during which we see him make many round trips vacillating between distancing himself from his previous band’s legacy, embracing it, continuing it, and how it all affected his roller-coaster relationship with Robert Plant.

Page was always the greatest historical steward of Led Zeppelin, and the past decade or so has seen a spewing forth of live material, deluxe editions CDs and video from the Zeppelin vaults, all with Page’s direct and intense involvement. Then there was that little 2007 one-off “Celebration Day” reunion gig (with John Bonham’s son Jason rightfully taking his late father’s stool), which 75 percent of the lineup would have liked to see continue…

Page’s solo, guest and collaborative appearances are also painstakingly looked into; you’re not likely to find as much material about the making of the soundtrack to Death Wish II anywhere else. Surprisingly, while Power’s prose heavily concentrates on the musical life of Jimmy Page, not much space is devoted to his personal life. Perhaps that was unavoidable given the somewhat private nature of the subject.

Make no mistake, this monster of a book requires something of a commitment from the reader, who likely should be far more than a casual fan of Led Zeppelin. That said, Power’s book is the most complete collection of pages about Page to date.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero