Jimmy Page pays tribute to Led Zeppelin tour manager Richard Cole: “He was a brother and a friend to the end”

Jimmy Page and Richard Cole
(Image credit: David M. Benett / Getty)

Jimmy Page has paid his respects to Led Zeppelin road manager Richard Cole, who passed away on Thursday (December 2). 

In a message shared across his social media channels, the guitarist acknowledged Cole’s long history with the band, detailing his role from the outset of Led Zeppelin.

“Richard and I went back a long way,” said Page. “He had been recruited by Peter Grant to be tour manager with the Yardbirds Keith Relf, Jim McCarty, Chris Dreja, and myself during our American touring schedule of underground venues. He was with me at the time that band folded and when I formed Led Zeppelin.”

Cole was born in the UK but had moved to the US in the 60s and became known for his talents in helping English groups tour in North America. His innovations in flying over a band’s preferred crew and equipment to take on the road – rather than depend on local talent and hiring facilities – helped lay the foundations for the era’s mega touring acts.

The tour manager later fell out of favor with the group, after his contributions to Stephen Davis’ 1985 rock bio Hammer Of The Gods and revelations in his own 2002 biography Stairway To Heaven, which the band felt were inaccurate. They appeared to patch things up though, as Cole was later invited to the band’s 2007 live performance in London. 

Indeed, Page’s tribute, certainly seems to show no signs of ill will, stating:

“From the time of the rehearsals at my home at Pangbourne through to the touring of the USA, we witnessed the phenomena that was Led Zeppelin.

“He was there for the first and last concerts of the band. He was a brother and a friend to the end. Goodbye my dear friend. They were special times and so were you.”

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.