Say It's Your Birthday: Jimmy Page

The grand master of Led Zep (left) and some singer.

Today we celebrate the birth of Mr. Jimmy Page. "What's

that man moving 'cross the stage/It looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy

Page/It's like a relic from a different age." So wrote Paul McCartney in "Venus

and Mars" in 1975. What McCartney couldn't have anticipated was that James

Patrick Page (born January 9, 1945) would ease into revered relic-hood almost

as comfortably as Macca himself. If you can't be a founding Beatle, a founding

Led Zeppelin is about the next best thing (apologies to the Glimmer Twins). Led

Zep is one of those bands whose stature keeps increasing as successive

generations do their best to approximate Page's proto-dinosaur stomp and

inevitably come up short. Of course, Jimmy did his own cause a world of good

when--after years of dire post-Zep collaborations with the likes of John Miles

and David Coverdale that seemed intent on proving only that Page could be fully

as mediocre as any of his imitators--he finally wised up, reunited with Robert

Plant and issued No Quarter, an album noteworthy not simply because of

the Led Zep nostalgia it leans on but because it represents Jimmy and Robert

suddenly remembering that quality music--not a sound or an image--is the

bedrock of their expanding historic stature. Other birthdays: Crystal Gayle,

Eric Erlandson (Hole), Dave Matthews, David Johansen (New York Dolls) , Scott

Walker (Walker Brothers), and Joan

Baez.