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Jimmy Page on Who/Kinks Recordings
I had this in my archives from a rec.music.misc exchange between me,
Shel Talmy (the Who's and Kink's early producer), and a rec.music.misc
reader, Kurt Finchum.
I don't have a quote of my contribution to the discussion, but I
was basically advancing the story from Dave Marsh's book that Alan
McKendree recently quoted, as well as some Kink's info from another
book. Unfortunately, I wasn't as careful as I should have been, and
incorrectly identified Shel as a manager rather than producer.
I think this ties in nicely with the recent discussion of the similarity
between "I Can't Explain" and "All The Day And All Of The Night".
- - The original note follows - -
From: email@example.com (Kurt Finchum)
Subject: Re: Page / The Who / Kinks ( Facts !!! )
Sun Dec 7 12:12:12 PST 1997
Date: 10 Aug 90 19:10:46 GMT
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> bb@wjh12.UUCP (Brent Byer) writes:
>I am passing along a note I received from someone with *facts* :
>===================== begin of correspondence ==================
>I'm afraid Ron Crandall got it all wrong. First of all, I was
>not the manager for the Who & the Kinks, I was the producer. In
>fact I found both bands & signed the Kinks to Pye Records and the
>Who to my own production company.
>Jimmy Page did not play at all on "I can't explain", or any of my
>Who sessions. Jimmy did play rhythm guitar on the first Kinks
>LP, and certainly did not play lead on "You really got me", which
>preceded the LP by several weeks, or anything else for that
>matter. I only brought him in to play rhythm because at the
>time, Ray wanted to concentrate on his singing. John Lord
>played organ on that LP btw & Perry Ford was on piano.
>Dave Davies was not shaky on lead at any time that I recorded
>him--in fact, the reverse is true. There are many who consider
>Townsend the greatest rhythm guitar player of them all, and not a
>great lead player, or having any intention of being one. Suffice
>it to say that whatever Townsend played fit the particular song.
>I hope this clears up some of the "mysteries".
>============= end of correspondence =========================
It's neat that Brent was able to get a quote from Mr. Talmy about this
issue, but it doesn't seem to agree with the following quote from Pete
On "Can't Explain" we had been fully manipulated in the studio, the
like of which hasn't been seen since (aside from my dastardly treatment of
Thunderclap Newman). Jimmy Page played rhythm on the A side and lead
on the B, "Bald Headed Woman." He nearly played lead on the A, but it
was so simple even I could play it. [...]
Shel Talmy, who produced out first three singles, was a great believer
in "making groups who are nothing, stars." He was also a great believer
in pretending the group didn't exist when they were recording in the
studio. Despite the fact that I go on to say that our first few records
are among our best, they were the least fun to make. We only found out
recording was fun when we made "Happy Jack" and the ensuing album
with our latter-day producer Kit Lambert. However, dear Shel got us our
first single hits. So he was as close to being God for a week as any
other unworthy soul has been. Of course it was a short week; I quickly
realized it was really the brilliant untapped writing talent of our
lead guitarist, needless to say myself, that held the key to our
success. Talmy and all following claimers to Who history are imposters.
- Pete Townshend, 12-7-71, in The Rolling Stone Record Review, vol.II
Nor does it agree with Jimmy Page's story:
I played rhythm guitar on the Who's first single, "I Can't Explain."
I really wasn't needed at the session, but I was fortunate enough to
find myself there. It was simply a case of strengthening riffs, using
two guitars instead of one."
- The Led Zeppelin Biography, p. 33. (by Ritchie Yorke, 1976)
No disrespect to Brent or Mr. Talmy, but that makes it 2 to 1 against Talmy.
The following are excerpts from interviews with Davies and Page concerning
"You Really Got Me", etc, all from The Led Zep Bio:
[Page:] Concerning the Kinks' work, though, and looking at it in
retrospect, my presence at their sessions was to enable Ray Davies to
wander around and virtually maintain control of everything, without
having to be down in the studio all the time. Ray was producing those
songs as much as Shel Talmy was . . . more so actually because Ray was
directing them and everything. At one point, there were even three
guitars playing the same riff.
[Ray Davies:] Dave Davies is a good guitar player and he played the solos
on all our records. Jimmy Page played tamborine on 'Long Tall Shorty'
because he came into the studio as a friend of Shel Talmy's. [...]
Dave Davies did all those solos and Dave started that sound. The take
of "You Really Got Me" that was actually released was the third take --
there was a demo thing with Dave playing lead, a second cut which may
have had Jimmy Page on it (and which Pye Records still have in their
vaults) and a third which definitely had Dave on it. I know because I was
standing right next to him when he played on it. And that's the one
which was released. Jimmy Page did play tamborine on our first album.
It's very good tamborine and he's a very good musician. I'd use him if
I was producing a record.
[Page: (after Zigzag magazine brought Davies' remarks to his attention]
Fair enough -- I didn't really do that much on the Kinks' records. I
know I managed to get a couple of riffs in on their album but I can't
really remember. I know that Ray didn't really approve of my presence.
The Kinks just didn't want me around when they were recording. It was
Shel Talmy's idea. One aspect of being in the studio while potential hits
were being made was the press -- too many writers were making a big fuss
about the use of session men. Obviously I wasn't saying anything to the
press but it just leaked out . . . and that sort of thing often led to
considerable bad feeling.
Everyone seems to agree in the case of "You Really Got Me," but Page and
Townshend both disagree with Talmy on "I Can't Explain." The world may