|James Patrick Page was born on January 9, 1944 to James and Patricia Page in what is now the London Borough of Hounslow. He has said that the Elvis Presley song "Baby Let's Play House" first inspired him to begin playing the guitar, which he took up around the age of thirteen. Page mostly taught himself how to play and would bring his guitar to school every day. Despite being a good student, Page left school to pursue his love of music and began to play with anyone that would have him. In 1961, singer Neil Christian of The Crusaders asked Page to join his band. Page happily joined and toured with The Crusaders for two years before falling ill with glandular fever. At this point Page decided to return to college to pursue his interest in painting and leave music on hold for some time.
Page continued playing while in college and eventually began doing studio work. Producer Shel Talmy really liked Page and found him session work with many famous bands like The Who and The Kinks. Page eventually became the house producer and A&R man for Immediate Records, where he worked with many artists, including Eric Clapton, and received priceless music experience. Eventually guitars began to take a more backstage role in recording, so Page left his session work behind as he began to notice his skills slipping away. Upon leaving the studio, Page joined The Yardbirds, an English rock band that also launched the careers of famous guitarists Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck. This venture was largely unsuccessful as constant fighting between band members eventually ripped the band apart. The Yardbirds eventually broke up with still unfinished commitments to tour in Scandinavia. Page decided to reform the band with members that he knew would get along, learning from his experience with his old band members, and eventually recruited Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones to complete the rest of the unfinished Scandinavian tour. After the completion of this tour, the band was renamed Led Zeppelin.
Page's years of experience in the studio and with The Yardbirds allowed him to know exactly how to make this new band work. He worked not only as lead guitar, but also as producer and composer for Led Zeppelin, and his work influenced his contemporaries from the moment the band began. Page's solo in Stairway to Heaven is still considered the greatest solo of all time by several popular guitar magazines, and he is also famous for using a violin bow to play his guitar. He made countless innovations in recording during his career with Led Zeppelin, which John Paul Jones has said was responsible for the success of the band.
After Bonham's death and the breakup of Led Zeppelin, Page refused to play for nearly a year. He later began to play again but was never able to surpass the work he had done with Led Zeppelin. Since 1980, Page has worked with several artist, performed for numerous charities, and released a few solo albums. The living members of Led Zeppelin played with John Bonham's son, Jason Bonham, at a charity concert at the O2 Arena in London in December of 2007; there are currently no known plans for any future Led Zeppelin projects.