Jimmy Page: Led Zeppelin ‘Never Got Good Reviews’
As the point man for Led Zeppelin‘s reissue series, Jimmy Page has spent a lot of time wading through the band’s catalog over the last few years — and hearing about how many people still love their records. But he hasn’t forgotten the uphill battle they faced with critics back when they were first released.
“We never got good reviews in Rolling Stone,” Page pointed out during a recent interview with Radio.com. “Whether it was the first album, second album, third album, whether it was a couple of concerts in L.A., all reviewed by the same guy. And they were just really hatchet jobs.”
The hatchet man in question, former Rolling Stone writer John Mendelsohn, actually found himself at odds with the band once again during the run-up to the reissue campaign. “I’ll tell you something,” continued Page. “I wanted to reproduce his articles within the framework of these releases, and Rolling Stone was all right with it — there were five reviews. And [Mendelsohn] refused to allow us to use [his name]. I wanted to use at least one of them, the first album, and have the blurred image of his name. It’s all over the Internet anyway! But the rest of the band didn’t want to do that. I said, ‘Aw, come on guys!’”
Time obviously hasn’t softened Page’s stance on Mendelsohn, who he went on to refer to as “just poisonous,” adding, “He wasn’t even worth following, as far as what his opinions were. Not as a musician, I can tell you that!” And while he acknowledges that “as time went on, we got some good reviews on the albums, because some people actually got it,” Page added that Zeppelin never really ended its battle with critics. “There were other reviewers, and I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here, that they weren’t just sort of trying to be clever,” he recalled. “Actually, they were stupid.”