Print Led Zepplin

January 1, 2010

LED ZEPPELIN Shadows Taller Than Our Souls By Charles R. Cross At first blush, 96 pages don’t seem like a lot to talk about one of the greatest bands of all time. Charles R. Cross tells an amazing tale in that space, however, and he does it in a refreshing, engaging, and multi-media fashion. Cross doesn’t go too far into the fishy tales of debauchery and decadence that have been done to death, but instead tries to chronicle how and why the band evolved the way it did, with fascinating insights along the way. Although this isn’t a guitar book per se, there is intriguing info about Jimmy Page’s gear, playing, and role—as soloist, producer, and member of the rhythm section—that is sure to interest guitar freaks and casual fans alike. The way Cross describes how Page’s relationship with the other three members changed over the years also sheds plenty of light (and maybe a little shade) on Page’s playing and writing. One obvious misstep, however, comes in the recounting of the “Stairway to Heaven” solo session. The author claims that Page did merely three takes, with the first one being the keeper, but that contradicts engineer Andy John’s account of “quite a few passes.”

What will certainly set this book apart from others is the fact that it contains a ton of awesome memorabilia, including programs, concert tickets, press clippings, pictures, and a CD of an audio interview with Page that offers a great glimpse into his ability to craft albums. These little goodies are tucked into pockets right in the pages, and they jump out and surprise you, almost like the pop-up books we loved as kids. They make an already engaging read even more fun. It’s tough to come away from Shadows with anything less than a whole new respect for Zep, which is saying something. !t. — Matt Blackett

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