How John Bonham helped craft Jimmy Page’s favourite Led Zeppelin riff

Led Zeppelin’s musical prowess transcended individual virtuosity, intertwining their talents into a harmonious amalgamation that elevated them beyond mere solo instrumentalists. The acclaim bestowed upon Led Zeppelin members as the preeminent bassists, guitarists, vocalists, and drummers stemmed not solely from their brilliance but from their collective synergy, coaxing the best out of one another.

This collaborative ethos found resonance in one of Jimmy Page’s cherished riffs, a testament to his knack for crafting iconic melodies. While Page crafted numerous memorable riffs, it’s evident that certain ones possessed an inherent magnetic quality destined for success. The enchanting opening notes of ‘Black Dog’ or the unforgettable strains of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ stand as a testament to Page’s creative genius. However, when pressed about his personal favorite, Page acknowledged the impact the entire band had in shaping the composition, with John Bonham playing a pivotal role.

Page, a proponent of the spontaneous nature of creativity, often emphasized the mysterious origins of his riffs. “Riffs come out of the ether, out of nowhere,” he remarked. Yet, the intentional craftsmanship evident in the final product contradicts the seemingly elusive creative process. When asked about his favorite Led Zeppelin riff, Page initially hesitated, acknowledging the challenge of singling out one track. Eventually, he settled on ‘Kashmir.’

The allure of ‘Kashmir’ lies not only in Page’s guitar mastery but in the collective effort of the entire band. Page underscored the orchestral dimension, emphasizing that John Paul Jones’ orchestration mirrored the guitars with symphonic hues. During the song’s embryonic stages, Page and the legendary drummer John Bonham collaborated to forge the initial ‘Kashmir’ riff and the cascading segment that defines it. Page recalled the experience, noting, “It’s the first thing I ran through with Bonzo,” highlighting the infectious enthusiasm they shared, treating the riff as a cherished creation.

Led Zeppelin’s distinctiveness emanates from their collaborative spirit, a recognition that one skilled musician alone cannot consistently produce genre-defining records. The making of ‘Physical Graffiti’ stands as a testament to this ethos, where each member contributed to the album’s experimental rock approach, solidifying Led Zeppelin’s position as trailblazers in the musical landscape.

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