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Rock & Roll Books

By Austin Powell, Fri., June 1, 2007

Rock & Roll Books

Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man, an unauthorized biography

by George Case

Hal Leonard, 293 pp., $25

Unraveling the occult mythos and lore of Jimmy Page's notoriously enigmatic life is as difficult as deciphering the esoteric meaning of the pagan's infamous Zoso sigil. Magus, Musician, Man aims to elevate the "Wagner of the Telecaster"'s life and work to scholastic level, emphasizing its social and historical context and impact, while providing an accurate account of how the West was won. Case's unauthorized biography traces the virtuoso's trek from session work with Tom Jones and Burt Bacharach and early development alongside fellow Yardbird Jeff Beck into the depths of crippling drug addiction, the death of Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, and finally Page's painful recovery process in the Firm and collaboration with the Black Crowes, paying particular attention to the guitar models and various tunings used throughout. The author's praise of his subject as an extraordinary musician and a visionary producer, worthy of inclusion in David Howard's Sonic Alchemy, is well-grounded, but Case's admitted idolatry undermines the work of other artists and movements in the process and provides little insight into the mystery behind the sorcerer's magick. The song, unfortunately, remains the same.

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