Best moment on Jimmy Page’s solo debut didn’t involve Robert Plant

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The easy assumption, by the time Jimmy Page’s long-awaited solo debut Outrider arrived on June 19, 1988, was that he had lost whatever will he had to again scale the heights of his own dizzying guitar-god edifice. After all, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham had been dead for some eight years before Page bothered to issue a stand-alone, non-soundtrack album.

When he did, most of the focus perhaps inevitably went to Jimmy Page’s reunion with Robert Plant on “The Only One,” which also featured Bonzo’s son Jason Bonham at the drums — echoing a portion of the Led Zeppelin reunion lineup that had gathered that May for Atlantic Records’ 40th anniversary concert event at Madison Square Garden, and would again storm the charts in 2012 with Celebration Day.

Elsewhere, we find Tony Franklin, who’d earlier worked with Page as part of the Firm, appearing on “Wasting My Time.” Chris Farlowe, who sang on three Outrider tracks, also contributed to Jimmy Page’s 1982 soundtrack for Death Wish II. This project featured John Miles, a vocal collaborator with the Alan Parsons Project, on two other songs, as well.

The most complete return-to-form moment on Jimmy Page’s Outrider, however, can be found here. “Emerald Eyes,” this time showcasing the drum work of Jethro Tull alum Barriemore Barlow, reanimates all of Page’s legendary atmospherics — not to mention the tough tone — of his best moments in Led Zeppelin.

Over a dramatic arc that begins (and ends) with a pastoral turn on acoustic, Jimmy Page hurtles himself across a storm-front of strings with this crunchy electric solo — belatedly reclaiming everything he once seemed intent on giving away.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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