MARTIN POWER – No Quarter: The Three Lives of Jimmy Page
The first thought that presented itself to me once I was done reading this superb biography on Led Zeppelin legend Jimmy Page was that author Martin Power is a genius. "No Quarter: The Three Lives of Jimmy Page" is so incredibly well-researched, compelling, and fascinating that it borders on the surreal, and I was unable to put it down once I started reading it. Page is undoubtedly one of the greatest and most intriguing artists to walk among us mere mortals. I think most of us can agree on that. A legend and a stylist. An innovator with an uncanny ability to paint musical landscapes that defy description. Power’s biography covers just about everything relating to Page; his childhood and upbringing, his work as a session musician in London in the sixties, the power and magic of the Zeppelin years, and his dabbling in soundtracks as well as his work with The Firm and Robert Plant. Every aspect of Page’s life and work is explored and chronicled. The amazing thing is that although "No Quarter" is such an exhaustive study of Page and so insanely rich in detail, the book never comes across as an overload of information due to the way in which it is written. It all flows beautifully, and Power has a knack for making every word come alive. The whole thing is a vibrant work of pure class.
Given that Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin are inextricably linked, "No Quarter" is also a study and analysis of Led Zeppelin and the cultural and musical impact that the band had (and still has). In many ways, this book is also a critique of Led Zeppelin; Power is not afraid to highlight some of the rather unfortunate and negative things that happened either within or because of Led Zeppelin. There were people in Zeppelin’s inner circle who succumbed to stress, drugs, and/or alcohol. There were failed marriages. There were strained working relationships and bruised egos. In other words, there were triumphs, defeats, and casualties along the way. Power puts everything into perspective. Then there were the groupies, the mayhem out there on the road, and that thin line between artistic madness and musical brilliance. Power leaves nothing out, but there is none of that sensationalist "Hammer of the Gods" bullshit to be found within the pages of "No Quarter". At no point does Power revel in the debauchery that certain members of Zeppelin indulged in. The focus is on the otherworldly quality of the music and Page’s role in and impact on the wonderful vortex of Zeppelin. The thorough discussion of each album is not only reflective and honest, but also thought provoking. I especially enjoyed the chapters on Jimmy’s life and career post-Zeppelin and found those to be enlightening and captivating. The same goes for the chapters detailing Page’s time with the Yardbirds. Power has done a stunning job of weaving all the different threads together and producing such a cohesive piece of literature.
"No Quarter: The Three Lives of Jimmy Page" is a must-read for every fan of the mysterious figure that is Jimmy Page, and at the same time it is also the best account of the life and times of Led Zeppelin yet. Grab a copy of this book once it is published in November. It is a thrilling portrayal of a true rock ‘n’ roll legend! You cannot afford to miss this one.