The new exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York which features seven of Jimmy Page’s guitars opens to the public today, but it has already created a significant debate online about one particular guitar on display.
The 1960 Gibson Les Paul was Page’s main session guitar from 1962 to 1967 and was also used during the early years of Led Zeppelin. The guitar was stolen at Minneapolis–Saint Paul airport in April 1970 when Page took it with him to the US on tour.
The presence of that guitar in the exhibition has caused widespread debate, with several commenters wading in via email, Facebook, Twitter and online forums to accuse the guitar on display of being a replica.
LedZepNews decided to do some digging, and eventually came to a definitive answer: Yes, that is the original “Black Beauty” guitar on display in the Met. It’s not a replica, it’s the real guitar that was stolen in 1970.
We spoke to a source close to Jimmy Page who is an expert on the guitar and they told us the full story of its theft, the moderations carried out to it, and its November 12, 2015 return to Page.
Now, Page apparently doesn’t want the full story in the public domain just yet, so we can’t report the full details of it. But it backs up the Met’s own website’s page for the guitar which identifies it as the original.
The major sticking point for sceptics of the “Black Beauty” guitar on display in the Met has been the single toggle switch on the guitar. The last photo of the guitar in Page’s possession showed that he added two more toggle switches before its theft.
In the decades the guitar has been missing, the extra two toggle switches have been removed. But it’s still the original guitar.
Another point of contention has been the idea that Page wouldn’t loan out the precious guitar so soon after getting it back.
That makes sense, but Page is clearly extremely passionate about the Met’s new exhibition. He has flown several times to New York for it, spoke about the launch, been interviewed by the press, posed for a photoshoot and played the guitars for a video. Quite clearly, Page is very enthusiastic about the project.
For further evidence about Page’s passion, watch the video interview he recorded to promote it:
See more photos of the guitar below. These were taken by Jonathan Bayer who has kindly allowed us to embed them here: