Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page will see his official autobiography, Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page, a photographic essay he personally created to tell his story for the first time, hit major bookstores in October after being published as a limited edition in 2010. It will retail at $60, but is currently available via pre-order at Amazon for $54. The book will be published by Genesis Publications, home of rock biographies from Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and David Bowie; visual artists such as Shepard Fairey, Storm Thorgerson and Sir Peter Blake; and contributing writers such as Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.
Page tells the story in his own words, combined with a handpicked selection of 650 photographs. He arranged the content into a narrative order and oversaw the design of the book. Page said: “I’ve been asked on a number of occasions to do a written book and I thought of the other side of the coin. I thought it would be unique to have an autobiography in photographs, charting my whole musical journey. It was important to include every milestone along the way, so people who were fans of the music have got a real testament of the times.”
The intensely private rock guitar legend narrates the story of his legendary career for the first time in the form of captioning the pictures. Delving into his personal archives, the book reveals never-before-seen photographs, working visas, memorabilia and every one of his passports, saved throughout his life. Page’s passport stamps were used to verify all tour dates, making the tome an authoritative historical account. “All those artifacts really make up a complete picture, which just keeps unfolding as you turn each page of the book,” says Page.
In addition to the guitarist’s own photos, and those chosen from various sources including fans and magazines, his book showcases a collection of iconic portraits and rare images by over 70 of the greatest names in rock photography, including Ross Halfin, Kate Simon, Gered Mankowitz,Dominique Tarlé, Pennie Smith and Jim Marshall. Page chose one of his favorite portraits for the book cover: a 1977 passport photo, shot by Neal Preston on board Led Zeppelin’s private tour plane.
There are many rare finds throughout, such as Led Zeppelin playing an impromptu gig in a nightclub in Jersey, or double-exposure shots of Page and Brian Jones by Ian Stewart.
“I wanted to make it as thorough as possible," Page remarked. "So that meant trawling through all the thousands of files that photographers had taken, and pulling from my personal collection as well. There’s a photo of me playing the guitar by the fire at Bron-Yr-Aur cottage. It’s the most complete document that there’s ever going to be because of the amount of time that I’ve put into every aspect.”
Over two years in the making, this 512-page volume documents Page’s musical journey, from a 13-year-old choirboy to ‘60s session musician, through the Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin and beyond. “You see this young man growing, from when I’m a choirboy – and took my guitar along to see if I could tune it up from the organ – right through to almost yesterday,” he says.
Originally conceived as a limited edition of only 2,500 copies worldwide, the first printing of Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page sold out within weeks of release. In the spring of 2010, it became the fastest-selling book in Genesis Publications’ 40-year history, even at a price tag of £445 (more than $750).
“I always like to do something different – if you’re inspired by an idea, really make something of that inspiration,” says Page. “That goes for music, as well as anything else – even putting a book together! To have a photographic autobiography is a totally different way of looking at things, but it does the job very well and I think it will bring a lot of pleasure to people.”