Yes, that really is Jimmy Page’s ‘Black Beauty’ guitar in the Met

(YouTube/CBS This Morning)

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.

As LedZepNews reported last week, Page’s recovered “Black Beauty” guitar that was stolen in 1970 but returned to Page in 2015 is featured in the exhibition.

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:

Jimmy Page 1960 Gibson "Black Beauty" Les Paul Jimmy Page- Custom Les Paul "Black Beauty" Jimmy Page Custom Les Paul - Black Beauty Jimmy Page Custom Les Paul - Black Beauty Jimmy Page Custom Les Paul - Black Beauty
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6 Comments on "Yes, that really is Jimmy Page’s ‘Black Beauty’ guitar in the Met"

  1. That’s not the lost black beauty. Page added two more switches to the guitar, and the pictured guitar only has the one. It’s probably a custom shop reissue, like his telecaster is in the same exhibit. There are a few pictures of the Les Paul shortly before it was stolen, and it has the extra switches, one for each pickup.

    • I just read in the new guitar player magazine that page restored his dragon tele, so I was wrong in my comment above about it being a reissue. I also heard from a famous guitar collector that page had two black beauties and that the one above was the one that was stolen. So I might have been wrong about that too. I’ve never heard of him having two, has anyone else? I thought he just modded the one with the extra switches.

  2. Regarding the 1960 black beauty “restored without Jimmy’s involvement” BEFORE it was identified and returned to him? The work done to it is undisclosed and confidential for now apparently.

  3. Thats THE ORIGINAL Black Beauty.
    When it was Stolen the Thieft removed the Extra Switches & Filled the Holes in an Attemot to Conceal its Identity, but when they went According to the S/N on the Guitar it Led them right back to Page, Verifying its Identity as his Black Beauty

  4. I know who stole jimmy page’s Les Paul(The Black Beauty) NO I’m not making this up to get my name out there,over the last 5 years I was friends with a bass player and we were watching the 2005 Led Zeppelin celebration day with Jayson Bonham,and half way into the video jimmy page comes out with a black les paul with 3 gold pick ups and with a bigsby and i said to my friend the bass player,(WOW! that is one of the coolest guitars i have ever seen) and then he tolled me its call (The Black Beauty)I didn’t know that was the guitars name,and love jimmy page,but then he tolled me this story about back when he was 12 or 13 his brother was at the Zep show in 1970 and some how got back stage and grabbed one of jimmy’s guitar cases and when he got home(my friend the bass play pulled out of case sat and played it for a long time because his brother tolled him who’s guitar it was,(I was speechless)then I asked what did your brother think he was gana do with jimmy pages guitar,he said they kept it and played for like 2 weeks then his brother sold it to somebody(he didn’t say) FOR $150.00 BUCKS! I was dumbfounded,so that’s the only resin why I’m putting this story out there,Jimmy Page if you read this,I know for a fact who stole your Black Beauty,you may not care anymore cuz now you have it back,I didn’t have a choice hearing this story,I don’t want any bad karma,but if the guy at willys goes back to how he got it and so on and so on all the way back if you can,i know the names your gana find at the end or should i say at the beginning,there, I said my piece,Jimmy(if you read this) I am so glad that you have your guitar back,cuz I’m a guitar player and guitars are woman when you find one that fits you,you know its(Better then Love) would love to get an email from ya!

  5. agree with top comments. the original had 3 switches on top for each PUP. others in UK had clones for a while that were exact dups of that one. But not many were made.

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