‘Pretty famous, isn’t he?’: Roger Daltrey on Jimmy Page’s contribution to the Who’s “I Can’t Explain”

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Roger Daltrey sorts through the curious situation that found Jimmy Page playing guitar on a track by the Who, after their producer asked him in during the sessions for “I Can’t Explain.” “Pretty famous, isn’t he?” Daltrey muses.

The idea that anyone, even a performer of the future Led Zeppelin star’s stature, even during the earliest days of the Who’s tenure in rock, would feel the need to bolster Pete Townshend with the guitar continues to boggle the mind. Daltrey credits the idea to the date’s producer, and says it was a matter of getting the 1965 recording — made in a primitive setting — nailed down in real time.

“He played lead guitar; he played the solo,” Daltrey says of Page, in the Howard Stern video below. “I think because it was done live, basically, and to do the chops and the solo at the same time — something has to drop out. It just kept the continuity of it going.”

Surprisingly enough, Daltrey says there weren’t any internal issues, despite the forced addition of an outsider. “No, it kind of made sense — and it sounded great,” he adds.

Besides, Daltrey says the backing vocals weren’t theirs, either. That was handled by a group called the Ivy League.

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