Monday, 8 September 2014

30 Years Ago: Jimmy Page Joins Yes on Stage to Cover the Beatles Read More: 30 Years Ago: Jimmy Page Joins Yes on Stage to Cover the Beatles

The legendary rock guitarist who bustled up our hedgerows on stage with the band that recorded a double album around Paramahansa Yogananda’s ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’? The idea seems, as the Brits say, not bloody likely — but it came to pass in the summer of 1984, when Jimmy Page joined Yes for a live rendition of the Beatles‘ ‘I’m Down.’

The June 24, 1984 concert, which took place in Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany, found the newly re-ascendant Yes touring triumphantly behind their hit ‘90125‘ LP. Just a few years before, however, they’d reached one of their periodic low points, with the band effectively on hiatus following the turbulence surrounding 1980′s ‘Drama.’ Page was also struggling, coping with serious depression after the death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and the group’s subsequent breakup.

With all these British musicians at loose artistic ends, the stage was set for one of the more surprising collaborations of the decade. “Jimmy moved and bought a house in England near the house I was living in. So, we became neighbors and got together,” explained Yes bassist Chris Squire. “He was obviously pretty depressed about John Bonham’s death for awhile, and I kind of helped him out of that by saying ‘Let’s try to do some new music’ and that’s really what happened.”

“I met him at a Christmas party,” Squire recalled in a separate interview. “He said he’d like to start playing again, pull himself out of the depression after John’s death. So we got together, we did some music, most of which was some music I’d written. Jimmy really wasn’t that bothered about writing, he just wanted to play at the time.”

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