Despite owning a career almost any living guitarist would kill for, Jimmy Page has voluntarily put himself into situations that hindsight would surely erase. And we’re not talking about him “borrowing” generously from others (Homer Simpson once called him “one of the greatest thieves of American black music to ever walk the Earth”); we’re not talking about him scoring the soundtrack to Deathwish II; we’re not talking about his brief plans to reunite Led Zeppelin with someone other than Robert Plant; and we’re not even talking about him teaming with Diddy to massacre “Kashmir.” Ok, maybe we are talking a bit about that last one.
What we’re really referencing is Page’s decision to team with David Coverdale for an eponymous Coverdale/Page album and subsequent tour. This was 1993 and Coverdale was 17 years removed from Deep Purple and, quite frankly, past his expiration date as the leader of the hair-metal outfit Whitesnake. Any clout that Coverdale once maybe had was long gone, so Page’s decision to glom on to the one guy forever accused of jacking Plant’s flow was dubious at best. Hell, even Coverdale got top billing!
The album—which, incidentally, debuted at #5 on the Billboard charts—featured song titles (“Shake My Tree,” “Feeling Hot” and “Easy Does It”) that likely had Bonzo rolling over his grave, but the tour of Japan in support of the album was worse—so much worse. In addition to performing songs off Coverdale/Page, the tandem performed songs from both Zeppelin’s and Whitesnake’s catalog. For Coverdale, it was a credibility builder but, for Page, a colossal embarrassment.
The tour never made it past Japan and, fortunately, this was pre-YouTube when footage wasn’t readily available (you can see some below). We can’t help but wonder had Plant seen Coverdale desecrate “Whole Lotta Love” or, perhaps worse, Page play lead on “Here I Go Again” that there may not have been a Jimmy Page and Robert Plant collaboration just a few years later.