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Jimmy Page fated to land Yardbirds gig

Guitar icon says he was in the right place at the right time to hook up with band

Jimmy Page says he was in the right place at the right time when he got a chance to play in the Yardbirds.

The guitar icon gave an interview to Soundgarden mainman Chris Cornell in Los Angeles and revealed the night he got his break in the band was after a chaotic university gig in the 60s.

He says: “The way that it happened, it was like fate intervened. I was with Jeff Beck at a Yardbirds concert. It was actually in a big tent at Oxford University. Keith Relf got rather drunk and fell into the drum kit – I thought it was brilliant. 

“I’m watching this from the back and there’s all these students on the point of graduation all in their evening dress and Keith Relf being an absolutely wonderful punk.

“The bass player, Paul Samwell-Smith, didn’t think this was much fun and he left the band that night. They had a marquee club to play and I said, 'Well I’ll come in on bass. I played bass at this gig but the idea was to start playing guitar.”

Page has been working on a series of Led Zeppelin remasters – the most recent of which is 1975's Physical Graffiti. It launches on February 23 via Atlantic/Swan Song and contains the original tracks plus seven previously unreleased studio outtakes.

Meanwhile, the Yardbirds recently revealed their new-look lineup featuring Jim McCarty, Anthony ’Top’ Topham, Kenny Aaronson, Myke Scavone and John Idan. They’ll hit the road across the US in April for a run of live shows.

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