Jimmy Page’s Solo on the Final Led Zeppelin Song Remains a Stunning Closing Statement
When Led Zeppelin recorded In Through the Out Door in late 1978, the band members had no idea the end was near. Though some within the group’s inner circle had expressed concern about the health of John Bonham and Jimmy Page, Zeppelin returned to the stage in ’79-’80.
In some ways, that marked a new beginning for the band. Yet there was no denying that John Paul Jones and Robert Plant were in the driver’s seat for In Through the Out Door. The pair had been credited with writing two songs without Page, which was a first in Zeppelin history.
Later, Page downplayed the idea he had a diminished role on Zep’s final album. After all, hadn’t he produced and mixed ITTOD like previous Zep releases? And, though he may not have been in “Achilles Last Stand” form, didn’t Page deliver another round of memorable guitar statements?
It’s impossible to listen to “In the Evening,” the album’s opener, and consider the track somehow beneath Page. And you can say the same about the closer, “I’m Gonna Crawl.” Though he didn’t know it at the time, Page’s guitar solo on the track represented a closing statement for the ages.
Jimmy Page crushed the guitar solo for ‘I’m Gonna Crawl,’ the closer on Led Zeppelin’s last album
The Zeppelin system of recording appears to have held for In Through the Out Door. That meant Page, Jones, and Bonham laid down the basic instrumental tracks before Page recorded Plant’s vocals and other overdubs (i.e., instrumental or vocal embellishments).
In this system, Page would save his own guitar overdubs (solos, additional parts) for last. On an all-guitar album like Presence (1976), Page would have a great deal of work left for him at the end. In the case of ITTOD, Page tried out some new approaches.
On “Fool in the Rain,” for example, Page trotted out the Octivider, an effect box that will double the note played on guitar at a different octave. It added a remarkable sound to his solo on that track.
But on “I’m Gonna Crawl” it’s just Page, his legendary Gibson Les Paul, and the blues. The solo kicks off around 2:40. A little over a minute later, Page closes the solo with an emotional flourish, marking the end of a brilliant ride.
Page remained on top of his game for several ‘In Through the Out Door’ tracks
Besides his solo work on “Fool in the Rain” and “In the Evening” (both of which he co-wrote), Page also delivered interesting textures on an acoustic guitar following Jones’ solo on “All My Love.”
So when critics look to drag Page for his work on the album, they basically have “Hot Dog” (a throwaway Zep track if there is one) to pick on. Otherwise, you could argue Page didn’t feel the same inspiration he would on a track like “Achilles.” It wasn’t material made for him.
Besides, Page more than made up for it on “I’m Gonna Crawl.” With Page solos, the listener is always looking for his special blend of exquisite taste and unfiltered passion. He brought that, along with all the right notes, on the solo he recorded for Zep’s final album track.