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Black Mountain Side

Jimmy Page was well versed in a variety of guitar styles.  Beyond blues and rock, Page was fascinated with folk styles, and one of his biggest influences was the British folk guitarist Bert Jansch.  Page loved to combine Celtic and Indian influences, so he took the main theme of Bert Jansch’s “Blackwaterside”, performed as an instrumental adding a tabla and retitled it “Black Mountain Side”.  Where Jansch’s recording of “Blackwaterside” is credited as “Traditional, arranged Jansch”, Jimmy Page gave songwriting credits for “Black Mountain Side” to himself.  In a 1977 interview in Guitar Player Page admitted, “I wasn’t totally original on that. It had been done in the folk clubs a lot; Annie Briggs was the first one that I heard do that riff. I was playing it as well, and then there was Bert Jansch’s version. He’s the one who crystallized all the acoustic playing, as far as I’m concerned.”
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5 thoughts on “Black Mountain Side

  1. I was at a party in Detroit with Pentangle the night they played a gig at the East-town theater. I was having a chat with Bert when he heard the Led Zeppelin album for the first time. When he heard “Black Mountainside”, he slammed down his beer, stomped across the room. and ripped the album off the turntable. He looked that label, then slammed it down again, saying, ‘That son-of a bitch!” We had heard Bert’s recording of Blackwater side and knew exactly what he was so angry about. True story.

    • Wow, history in the making. Bertie boy had integrity and was creative guitar genius along with Davy Graham, a decent chap who always acknowledge his influences. Page a proficient session man who got lucky.

    • Jimmy stole almost everything he did a master at plagiarism. Very apparent in stairway to heaven. He was such a mean bastard to not pay the author a bean (Spirt). If you watch it might get loud when he’s in the basement amongst all of his old records, he basically confesses to where the source inspiration derives.

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