One of the most famous guitarists in history, Jimmy Page is best known for his work in the rock band Led Zeppelin. According to Bob Spitz’s 2021 biography Led Zeppelin: The BiographyPage went by the stage name Nelson Storm while he played music in a band called Red E. Lewis & the Red Caps.
Page’s name and the picture of him playing a double-neck guitar on Led Zeppelin’s song “Stairway to Heaven” are etched in music history.
While Page is a household name today, he used a stage name early in his career. Corresponding Led Zeppelin: The BiographyHis stage name was Nelson Storm.
“In fact, he was no longer Jimmy Page but . . . Nelson Storm. For reasons unknown, the band decided that stage names were more conducive to the rock ‘n’ roll image. Nelson Storm, the alias Jimmy chose for himself, hung out with drummer Jimmy ‘Tornado’ Rook and performed John Spicer’s nom de guerre, Doc Swift,” reads the bio.
Spitz’s bio shows that Red E. Lewis & the Red Caps were, for the most part, “an ordinary cover band”.
“But no matter what they called themselves, Red E. Lewis & the Red Caps were an ordinary cover band, like so many others working on the stage in the late 1950s,” writes Spitz.
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In the 1950s, Page played in a band called The Paramounts. This eventually led to him joining Red E. Lewis & the Red Caps as the Paramounts often opened for the band while they played at Contemporary Club in Epsom.
After Bobby Oats, the guitarist for Red E. Lewis & the Red Caps, left the band, the other members had to look for a replacement.
“Chris and Red were both in love with Jimmy. They said: ‘The boy is only fifteen but he can play, he’s fantastic.’ It was decided to invite him to London for a rehearsal to see if he would fit into the band,” said the band’s bassist John Spicer Led Zeppelin: The Biography.
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After Page joined Red E. Lewis & the Red Caps, the band changed their name after some members left the group. The band’s manager, Chris Tidmarsh, joined the band as vocalist and adopted the stage name Neil Christian.
“…the Red Caps/Dean Aces became the Crusaders. Neil Christian & the Crusaders – it had a nice ring to it,” writes Spitz in LEd. Zeppelin: The Biography.
All told, Page toured with the band for two years, which brought him local fame and served as a stepping stone in his music career.
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