What Happened to the FIRST Singer Jimmy Page Asked to Join Led Zeppelin?

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For those in the know, the story is a bit ’o’ rock legend.

The sad thing is that not many people are “in the know.”

Terry Reid’s career began as if he would forever be rich, famous, and a huge and essential part of the firmament of rock music. Reid joined Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers in 1965, opened for the Stones, did a solo record with producer Mickie Most, and was asked to join TWO Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bands—Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. 

Reid’s voice is that good. His luck, not so much.

As the story goes, Jimmy Page was playing in the Yardbirds when he heard Reid. As the Yardbirds morphed into Led Zeppelin, Page invited Reid to front his group, then called the New Yardbirds. But the singer had already committed to touring with Cream as an opening act on their 1968 U.S. tour. He didn’t leave Page empty handed, though. He suggested the guitarist check out a young Birmingham based singer named Robert Plant, whose group, Band of Joy, had played support on one of Reid’s shows. The rest is history.

The following year, good fortune again came Reid’s way when Deep Purple showed an interest in having him replace founding singer Rod Evans. Unfortunately, contractual obligations prevented him from taking the gig, which instead went to Ian Gillan. 

Now, at 66 years old and not anywhere near awesome financial shape (he has had to hock some of his guitars), Reid finally may be seeing a bit of a career lift.

He’s working with Joe Perry on the Aerosmith guitarist’s new solo album—executive produced by the fabulous Jack Douglas and Johnny Depp, and produced by Bruce Witkin—and the song the duo composed together, “I’ll Do Happiness,” will give listeners the first chance to hear Reid’s voice on a studio recording in a quarter century.

Here’s a peek at the proceedings—with Reid and the gang in Depp’s kitchen after tracking in the actor’s home studio.