See ya at Cowboy's Friday nite!!!!
Roy Orbison Jr. & Jimmy Page (image courtesy of http://www.myspace.com/royorbisonjr )
This article by Roy Orbison Jr.http://www.myspace.com/royorbisonjr
from Roy's myspace site http://www.myspace.com/royorbison
should elicit some response from the ZERO MOB!!!!
LED ZEPPELIN & ROY ORBISON ARTICLE !
(Written by Roy Jr )
I Love Led Zeppelin! I Just Love 'em!
It would be easy to write a whole article on why & how, but I'll keep this limited to parts of their story relating to my father, Roy Orbison.
At first glance, there would seem to be few connections between the music of Led Zeppelin and the music of Roy Orbison. It will be fun for me to point some out.
My Father was one of the "Four Horseman of the Apocalypse" of Rock & Roll. Under the guidance of Sam Phillips at Sun Records in
Jimmy Page has said that the reason he wanted to play guitar was the Elvis song "Baby, Let's Play House" and that he learned all the Sun Records stuff note for note. Jimmy is a smart man and an avid fan of music, so it is likely that his first introduction to Roy Orbison was the song "Ooby Dooby". It is a fast song with Roy taking two guitar solos. ( In the Rock & Roll years, Orbison was known more for ferocious guitar picking than his voice and songwriting. Along with Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins, he was noted by Sam Phillips as the best guitar player at Sun. )
Another of Roy's Sun Record singles, the first self-written song he recorded , "Go! Go! Go!" (also known as "Down the Line") , would occasionally turn up in Led Zeppelin's live show as part of the medley in "Whole Lotta Love". ( One recorded example was the 1976 January 9th show at
Robert Plant's introduction to Orbison's music is described by him in the Life of Roy Orbison documentary "In Dreams" -
In a 1972 Led Zeppelin concert in
A subconscious reference can be heard in Robert's song lyrics -
"Had a friend she once told me,
You got love, you ain't lonely,
Now she's gone left me only,
Looking for what I knew."
The Yardbirds (featuring Jimmy Page on guitar) were the opening act on the Australian leg of a Roy Orbison's 1967 Tour. The new manager for the Yardbirds was Peter Grant. The shows were the first gigs he booked for them. These were the first audiences to see Jimmy's technique of bowing his guitar like a violin. So Roy was one of the first people to see what would become one of Page's trademarks.
Jimmy and Roy became good friends on this tour.
There is still a story Jimmy has tried to tell me about a guitar, but we've never had time for him to finish. Dad's stage guitar was a black Gibson Les Paul Custom. It is still heavily associated with him. Black hair, Black Sunglasses, Black Gibson Les Paul Custom. He later switched to a black Gibson ES-335, but during this period and until 1972, (as can be seen in the video "Roy Orbison – Live In Australia" 1972) the Custom was an "Orbison thing". With Led Zeppelin, Jimmy is famous for the Les Paul Standard. (it looks about the same as the L.P. Custom, but sounds different.) During this Yardbirds-Orbison tour his guitar was the same as my father's guitar of choice – a black Gibson L.P. Custom. Jimmy's guitar was lost or stolen on this tour and I think the story he has tried to tell me involves my Dad helping him somehow. (But I'm not sure about this. I think also remember my Dad telling me Jimmy would meet him at the airport like a fan when he flew into London and that Dad would bring him strings and guitar parts. But I haven't confirmed that either.)
7,000 people attended the opening performance of
The show was relayed by radio and reached people a thousand miles away. It was a big event for
It was opened by a local band. Next up were the Yardbirds. They did their most popular hits, including "Shapes of Things" and "I'm a Man". There was an interval, followed by the Walker Brothers. Then
The tour dates were as follows:
Saturday, Jan. 21 - Sydney Festival Hall ( & )
Sunday, Jan. 22 – Sydney Television Show ?
Monday, Jan. 23 – Sydney Festival Hall ( & )
Tuesday, Jan. 24 – Adelaide Festival Hall ( & )
Wed., Jan. 25 – Adelaide Festival Hall ( & )
Thursday,Jan. 26 – Melbourne Festival Hall ( & )
Friday, Jan. 27 – Melbourne Festival Hall ( & )
Saturday, Jan 28 - Brisbane Festival Hall ( & )
Monday, Jan 30 -
Tuesday, Jan. 31 –
Wed., Feb. 1 -
Friday, Feb. 3 – Orbison flies to
In those days it was common for acts to do 2 shows a night. Roy Orbison would tour like this 200+ days a year for the rest of his life.
Jimmy Page, in the 1990's, when asked by a guitar magazine interviewer the question - How has the music business changed over the years? – answered with several lines about Roy Orbison. Saying success was easier now then in the old days when " they worked poor Roy Orbison to death."
I haven't read the article in a long time. It made me cry. Still does. But it was amazing to me that he cared enough to lash out at the system in those words. For a Road Warrior like Jimmy Page to single my Dad out as an example of someone who worked themselves to death "on the road" seems quite an honor.
The Orbison set concludes with his latest single "Communication Breakdown" and then everybody's favorite . . . "Oh Pretty Woman"!
Although the songs are quite different, I have wondered about Zeppelins "Communication Breakdown" since I was 12 years old. My Dad wrote hundreds of songs. Of course many of the titles are general enough to have been used by others. So I thought it was just a funny coincidence. Until recently when I realized Jimmy saw this song performed over and over again, twice a night every night, only a year before using it as a title on Led Zeppelin 1. The drummer from the tour confirmed he heard Jimmy ask Dad permission to use the song title. In any case, Mr. Page certainly must have liked the title!
The title for Roy's song held the obvious meaning : a couple having problems communicating. 99 out of a hundred Zep fans hear the title with that meaning. But I believe the title for Zeppelin's song was probably a humorous reference, Breakdown being a play on titles like Flat & Scruggs song "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", where the word breakdown means "song". ( like Lemon Song, Rain Song, and the word Stomp elsewhere )
I have also always wondered about Beck's Bolero. ( which Jimmy played on and came up with) It sounds very little like Ravelle's "Bolero", and very much like Orbison's "Running Scared". I can hear this rhythmic influence in the "triplet" sections of many Zeppelin songs. (How Many More Times & Achilles Last Stand come to mind instantly, but there are more examples) If you can hear the connection I am making, you probably think this is a timeless musical rhythm. It is. But it is my father's variation of the rhythm that popularized it. Listen to "Running Scared" again. You will hear a song Jimmy absorbed thoroughly.
In 1985 Robert Plant and Roy Orbison crossed paths at Elvis' home
I know Roy really liked Jimmy Page too. He was pretty critical about most music, but always spoke well of Jimmy.
One of my fondest memories is of when I was 13 years old and had just started to love Led Zeppelin. I cranked the volume up really loud in my room. I mean really loud! It was the guitar bow part of one of the songs. I was trying to be rebellious and piss my Dad off.
He walks in and motions for me to turn it down. When I do, instead of being mad at me, he says "Is Jimmy Page in that band?" He had never heard Led Zeppelin before. I could not figure out how he knew that! It took me until last year to fully understand :
You cannot rebel against Roy Orbison with music.
Subject: Re: Images of Mike McCarty Taken By Robin Rainer For DOTHAN MAGAZINE
MAN! I love his work.
The abstracts are mufuggin fantastic!
Thanks for sharing, 'berto.
Ben Burford http://www.chevy6.com/songlist.html
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