Pete Thorn explains why mistakes are part of Jimmy Page’s magic

Pete Thorn and Jimmy Page
(Image credit: Future / Paul Natkin/WireImage via Getty)

From his innovative playing and masterful songwriting all the way to his heralded tone and iconic live guitar moments, Jimmy Page is praised as one of the all-time greats of electric guitar history.

But while Steve Lukather has cited Page’s production prowess and Joe Satriani has waxed lyrical about his boundary-pushing creativity as the crux of the Led Zep hero’s genius – as they did once while speaking to Classic Rock – Pete Thorn attributes some of the magic of Jimmy Page to something else entirely: his mistakes.

In the latest issue of Guitarist, the Suhr signature artist discussed his Classic Rock Show 2023 tour – a live show that saw him once again perform some of rock’s greatest hits. Unsurprisingly, the music of Led Zeppelin was involved.

Owing to the nature of the show – and the challenge associated with emulating some of rock’s most notable guitarists – Thorn developed a fresh appreciation for Page, going as far as to call him “the ultimate guy to listen to if you’re worried about making mistakes”.

“Jimmy Page’s playing was like a stream of consciousness – it was about freedom of ideas,” Thorn explained. “He didn’t care about things like mistakes, I don’t think. 

“Like when you watch some of his solos, especially live, it’s really magical,” he went on. “He’s the ultimate guy to listen to and try to absorb if you’re uptight about your playing and worried about making mistakes... Because that doesn’t exist in his world.”

Elaborating on his observation, Thorn paid particular attention to Page’s ability to recover from errors and mistakes, arguing that this relatable, human aspect of his playing made it all the more appealing to listeners.

He continued, “It’s all cool. It’s a really appealing sound because it’s so human. That and the fact that he doesn’t choke. He might make an error or do something that’s not technically correct. But he never chokes – he always moves on to the next thing. And that’s part of his sound and it’s the beauty of his playing. It’s so magical and so rock ’n’ roll, in a way.”

Page’s mistakes can be added to a very, very long list of his playing attributes that his peers have all praised in the past. 

Speaking to Classic Rock back in 2022, Joe Bonamassa argued Page didn’t get “the credit for being an extraordinarily gifted producer”, while Ritchie Blackmore heralded his ability to hear “what’s going on within the context of the band”.

In a separate conversation with Total Guitar, Brian May reserved particular praise for Page’s riff chops, calling him “the master of the rif, and the master of getting lost deliberately in time signatures”.

In other Jimmy Page news, recently resurfaced footage saw the Led Zeppelin legend demo his most iconic gear, including his Les Paul, the Telecaster that built Led Zeppelin I and the Gibson double-neck behind Stairway to Heaven.

Head over to Magazines Direct to pick up the new issue of Guitarist, which also features an interview with Myles Kennedy – and an early look at his PRS T-type signature guitar.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.